There is a lot in the news about the war in Ukraine and whilst there is no amount of good that can take away from the awful things that are happening, we did feel it important to recognise some brands and how they have responded. This is firstly to give them recognition but also to spotlight brands which we should perhaps be more drawn to when making purchasing decisions.
There is an ever-growing list of companies who are refusing to trade in Russia; including Coca-Cola and McDonald's but let's take a look at some brands doing something different or stand-out. Marketing Week provided some interesting stats on how purchasing decisions are being affected:
"56% of Britons say they are less likely to buy from a brand that continues doing business in Russia, although that figure rises among older consumers, with 65% of those aged 50 to 64 and 67% of those aged over 65 ready to cut out companies which don’t pull out of Russia. Among those aged 18 to 24, only a third (33%) say they are less likely to buy from brands that do business in Russia.
Initiatives such as donating a portion of income to humanitarian projects in Ukraine also land well with UK consumers, with 51% saying they would be more likely to buy from a company taking such a position. Meanwhile 26% say it would make no difference, 14% weren’t sure and 5% would be less likely to buy."
Pulling out of the Russian market was one step Levi's took. However, on top of that the company has also made a commitment to donate $300,000 in humanitarian aid to refugees.
Halting sales in Russia will have an effect on a lot of the companies employees, partners and their families, so they have pledged to support as much as they possibly can.
On top of that they have offered a two-to-one match of employee donations up to $200,000 to a selection of charitable organisations helping vulnerable communities. Good job Levi's, every little helps.
The company (like most others) suspended all operations in Russia. However Airbnb are also working with hosts to help house as many as 100,000 Ukrainians who have been forced out of their homes. They have also removed any booking fees within the country.
The CEO called out to people in nearby countries to help offer their homes via the platform.
Finally, to top it all off, Airbnb customers have been booking properties in Ukraine even though they have no intention of staying to ensure locals still have money coming in.
Alongside Apple, google has disabled some live traffic features to protect Ukrainian users as the country is invaded. Alongside this it has turned on alerts to any UN resources for people who are looking for refugee and asylum info.
They have also blocked the likes of RT and Sputnik on YouTube.
Having worked with Nidhima ourselves, we thought it was only right to sponsor her amazing work. Nidhima Kohli is CEO of beauty price comparison site, My Beauty Matches. She called upon all her contacts to help donate as many sanitary and hygiene products as possible.
Nidhima gathered a huge amount of supplies from her network (including us and our wonderful clients), which were stocked up in a warehouse in Southampton, before being shipped to Ukraine.
"‘Knowing how crucial toiletries, period products and shower gel are as everyday items, I couldn’t just sit and watch these people on the TV,’ Nidhima explains. ‘I work with these things and within moments sprang into action and called on my connections.’
Through the power of social media, Nidhima managed to get in touch with Ukrainian postal company Nova Poshta, who offered to get goods into the country.
‘They are doing it out of the goodness of their own heart so is not costing us anything.’
So far, she has sent over 250,000 products: including wet wipes, medicine, food, hygiene and sanitary goods. More continues to be sent over, with huge help from corporate partners.
We have also been working closely with Malcolm Palmer and his amazing team who set up Coaches2Ukraine; an attempt to bring 57 Ukrainian refugees to the UK have been thwarted so far by the current farcical arrangements over visas.
They had the aim of chartering a coach to take essential supplies to a Polish refugee camp. Over a hectic four weeks, the group got sponsorship from local businesses, put together a detailed plan and itinerary, found locations and contacts in Poland. They even had an arrival destination where the kitchen staff offered to come in at any time of the day or night to provide a hot meal to the Ukrainian refugees and their hosts.
Only one problem…
The UK visa system for Ukrainian refugees had (at the time of writing) only had 28,000 applications and 2,700 visas issued. And without visas, refugees would not be allowed into the country.
Undeterred, the group managed to get about half of their essential supplies taken to Poland on another trip being organised by a Sussex based group and have organised and paid for journeys for some of the refugees who have contacted them looking for help. (Including some great supplies from us and our clients). Founder of the group, Malcolm Palmer said: “we may have been ahead of the curve on this one, several charities and refugee centres are keen to get involved in this initiative but we need some certainty about the time it will take to get visas processed. Currently, there are people who have been submitted visa applications over two weeks ago with no response."
We are going to continue to support Malcolm and his team as much as possible.
Last but not least, for the second time this year, we would like to spotlight Publicis Groupe. The company is making a significant financial commitment to make sure all Ukrainian employees get the support they need.
On top of this they have been ensuring to provide security, health, housing, relocation and a guaranteed salary to all 350 of its Ukrainian employees for the rest of 2022.
Whilst we must make sure we are constantly looking for new ways to support and help, we felt it was important to spotlight these brands and what they have done so far.
We know it can feel like you are too small a cog to make a difference but it is crucial to remember that every little does truly help.
We would love to hear about other brands/humans or initiatives you think are really standing out. - Please get in touch.