The Road Ahead.
March 30, 2020
The Gift Of COVID-19: Reconnecting With What Is Truly Important.
April 16, 2020

Looking for Inspiration?

Check out these 5 brands that are stepping up during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we adjust to the new reality that the pandemic has set, businesses must adapt their strategies and come up with new creative ways to stay relevant and support the community during this difficult time. 

I recently came across this quote by Charles Bukowski that really resonated with me: 

“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.” 


Though this is a challenging time for everyone, it’s been inspiring to see individuals and businesses step up to do their part in helping the community. While different organizations have different capacities, we all need to face reality and adapt to the changing needs of consumers while being mindful of the current situation. As Michelle mentioned in a previous post, “nobody will remember that the superficial items during the pandemic - like chocolate or cosmetics. People will remember that families were fed, health was protected, and we felt secure in your care.” 


Below is my top 5 list (in no particular order) of businesses/organizations that have done an exceptional job in communicating and adapting their business models during this difficult time: 
Farm Boy

1. Farm Boy

As an essential service, Farm Boy continues to provide access to groceries and essential household items during this time.

From their website to their social media platforms, the organization has done an exceptional job communicating with customers as new updates emerge, clearly addressing the actions they are taking to keep employees and customers safe.

Statements from the CEO’s and social media posts highlight adaptations to the business, including adjusted business hours, a dedicated hour for seniors each day and the installment of plexiglass shields at all deli and full-service counters - including cash registers.

Social Post >
Peace Collective

2. Peace Collective

Based out of Toronto, the Peace Collective first gained popularity with its “Toronto vs. Everybody” collection. Today, you’ll find that the brand has evolved to include multiple collections for Canadians to represent their city and country proudly, with every item purchase providing 5 school meals to a child in need.

In light of the current situation, the brand has announced a new campaign titled “One garment = 3 Meals” where each item purchased will provide 3 meals to a Canadian in need through one of their partner food banks. They have also made it easier for consumers to shop from home, with free shipping and extended return policy.

In addition, the brand does a great job using its social media platform to share positive quotes of encouragement and provide tips for those working from home, sprinkling in product posts with captions we can all relate to.

Social Post >

3. Shopify

With a large number of non-essential businesses being forced to close their doors, the demand for e-commerce has never been greater. As one of the leading e-commerce platforms, Shopify has done a great job of introducing new support programs and adaptations to their business model, making it easier than ever for businesses to set-up e-commerce websites, while providing employees with everything they need to continue work safely.

Let’s rewind to a few weeks ago when Shopify announced that all employees would begin working from home (WFH). The organization made headlines nationwide for offering employees with a $1,000 stipend to purchase any office supplies/furniture, equipping them to comfortably WFH.

Since then, the organization’s website has been updated to feature a dedicated page in response to COVID-19, where you can get an overview of the new measures they have put in place. New measures include an extended 90-day free trial (originally 14 days), live webinars, $200M in small business funding and gift card functionalities being added to all plans. Plus, the messaging on the page makes it very clear that they are here to help, with 24/7 support and experts available to get you set-up and running right away.

Today, Shopify is making headlines again as COO Harley Finkelstein partners with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to pledge up to $10K to the Ottawa Food Bank to support the city’s most vulnerable residents. Be sure to retweet Watson’s tweet as 1 RT = $1 to the food bank!

Social Post >
Morning Owl

4. Morning Owl Coffeehouse

With multiple locations across the capital region, Morning Owl is one of the many local businesses that have been forced to adapt their service offerings at this time. Morning Owl’s Parkdale location does a great job of keeping customers updated with changes in operating hours and services through their Instagram page.

In addition to their communication efforts, the coffeehouse also announced that they would be selling a limited selection of grocery items to help people to keep their fridges full, with most of the items being sold on a pay what you can basis.

New measures have also been put in place to allow individuals to place coffee orders online, purchase e-gifts, and even participate in an online bingo game with proceeds going to various charities in support of the pandemic - all shared with an uplifting tone that reminds us all to be grateful and support the community.

Social Post >

5. ORESTA organic skin care

ORESTA is an Ottawa-based spa and retail store with 3 locations in the heart of the city. Though the pandemic has resulted in the closure of its stores and spa services, the brand has done a great job adapting to the situation and communicating with new and existing clients.

In the website’s blog section, you’ll find a post dedicated to the COVID-19 situation that highlights the measures being taken at this time. Shoppers now have the option to schedule curbside pick-up on prepaid orders and can shop online with free shipping for orders over $50. The post also acknowledges that many local businesses have been impacted during this time and asks readers to support them in any way they can.

Head over to their Instagram or Facebook, and you’ll see how their 14-day online auction of their favourite products raised $4,650 for 14 Ottawa charities supporting those in need during this time.

Social Post >
Feeling inspired yet?

All of the businesses mentioned above vary in size and industries. During this difficult time, they have all come up with ways to adapt to the evolving situation, stepping up to support the community in different ways. 

We’d love to hear from you! 

What businesses have you seen step-up during this time? What is your organization doing to adapt to the current situation?

Not sure where to start? 

Get in touch with us. We are helping our community in the best way we can right now, and offering free consults to get you started.   

By Sarah Min

Account Strategist