• Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

7 brand heroes you won’t forget after COVID-19!

Updated: May 8, 2020

More than ever, we realise the world is full of incredible super heroes; they don't wear capes but often wear masks. Heroes are our front-line workers, individuals risking their own lives to help neighbours, friends stepping-up by staying in, and businesses pivoting products and services to offer optimism, hope and general support during this time - the time of COVID-19, a time when we couldn’t physically be together, but a time when we needed each other most. At Outsourced imagination, we're dedicating this time to businesses and brands whose actions, no matter how big or small, contribute in some way. We've identified 7 of our favourite #BrandHeroes - those who’ve shown genuine contribution, commitment to others and kindness during this global pandemic.

Graeme Storr, Owner of The Orchard, Bali

1. #BrandHeroes - The Orchard, Bali

In Bali, Indonesia, a local bar, restaurant and music venue bravely launched the 'Bali Musicians Appeal'. The initiative is a drive to raise funds to feed local artists, musicians, families and those who need it most during the pandemic.


With the majority of people on the beautiful island of Bali reliant on tourism, many families are now without income, support or basic essentials including food. And while The Orchard has taken a temporary pause from pulling pints, Owner Graeme Storr has pivoted to produce essential food packages for locals. In just a few weeks, the venue has fed almost 800 people - but there is still a long way to go. “85% of proceeds go directly towards buying locally sourced rice and vegetables, which make up the content of our family food packages. 15% of donations help us keep the lights on, so we can continue to use The Orchard as a distribution point. Hopefully, with enough donations, we can open a soup kitchen to provide cooked food to the most vulnerable and others desperately in need.’

Explains Graeme, whose online donations page has raised $6,000 of the $15,000 target.

This warm-hearted initiative is a wonderful way to help those who need it most during these difficult times. And, with just $5 able to support an entire family for up to 14 days, even the smallest donations make the biggest difference. To support the Bali Musicians Appeal, please click here >

2. #BrandHeroes - M&S, UK

Shopping in Marks & Spencer is one of my fondest childhood memories. My grandmother had worked for the great British retailer for what seemed like forever. Even after she retired, the M&S community spirit lived on in the form of retirement schemes, which included frequent get togethers with old colleagues.


Since the 80s, times have well and truly changed. Yet the M&S name has remained synonymous with brand purpose and caring for the community. Today, during COVID-19, M&S are proving continued commitment to their core brand purpose of 'enhancing lives, every day.

M&S stores have introduced temporary purchasing restrictions on selected products and reserved open times for NHS workers, those aged 70+ and the vulnerable. They have created 2-meter spaced floor markings and installed protective perspex screens at checkouts. Best practice hygiene means staff must wash their hands every 30-minutes as well as cleaning check-outs, trolleys and baskets after every customer. In addition to their instore and online efforts, the M&S family support 1,000 local charities through Neighbourly, a community fund that provides micro-grants of up to £400 to support good causes for communities affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. M&S also provide meals and clothing to NHS staff, alongside donating 4,000 pyjamas to NHS Derbyshire, which were used as scrubs when the hospital ran out of PPE.

In an address to colleagues, M&S CEO Steve Rowe shared a powerful message, ‘I’ve never been prouder to lead this team, this family, and put on my M&S name badge. Our business has been here for 135 years. We've traded through good times and bad times; through royal weddings, Olympics, wars and recessions. We’ve met all of these challenges, large and small, through supporting each other and helping each other. And throughout this time, our customers and communities have relied on us to deliver for them. And that trust is precious… today we face a new challenge, a once in a lifetime challenge for our business, our country, and indeed, our world. We’re going to meet that challenge in the same way we’ve met every other challenge we’ve faced, drawing on the strength of our heritage, our values and most of all, our people.”

3. #BrandHeroes - For Days, US

Our #EarthDay favourite pick is For Days. An LA-based zero-waste clothing company developed by Kristy Caylor and Mary Saunders. The quirky purpose-led fashion brand not only produces 100% recycled clothing, they minimize waste by using reusable packaging and promote a swap division that encourages shoppers to exchange old items of clothing for new. To support friends, family and healthcare workers, the fashion label's co-founders recently turned to sewing protective masks, which they sell via a 3 option purchase initiative. For $25.00, shoppers can either buy 5 masks & donate 5 masks; send 5 masks & donate 5 masks, or donate 10 masks. All donated masks go to LA healthcare workers. We applaud initiatives that see brands expand their product lines into areas where help is needed. We especially love companies who are conscious of their environmental impact, and whose brand purpose is to build a better, waste-free future.


4. #BrandHeroes - Alexander Hotels, UK

While we were already big fans of this independent UK based luxury hotel group, we are now more in love than ever. Not only did Hoteliers Peter & Deborah Hinchcliff replace their online spa gift voucher shops with click & collect grocery stores supporting local suppliers, they recently donated a large selection of toiletries to the Early Birth Association charity and are helping buy meals for the NHS. By updating Alexander Hotel's online stores, customers are now able to purchase a £5 NHS meal donation. Owners Peter & Deborah will personally match every donation pound for pound. In gratitude towards the NHS and to boost community spirit, Alexander Hotels are also running a weekly Facebook competition just for NHS staff. Friends of the group are invited to nominate their personal #NHSheroes. Each week, the chosen winner will receive a top-shelf prize, from overnight breaks to spa days to Michelin-starred meals. And while the 5-star hotels remain temporarily closed, the prizes give front-line workers plenty of deserved pampering to look forward to as soon as the doors reopen.


These thoughtful touches during COVID-19 are a great way for businesses to keep a foot in the community, support employment plus NHS staff, all while respecting social distancing and ensuring safety of staff and customers.

5. #BrandHeroes - Instagram Thank You Hour, Global

Every Thursday evening at 8:00 PM, UK residents show deep appreciation for health professionals and other key workers including supermarket staff and delivery people by taking part in a "Clap for Carers" tribute. With surround-sound vibrations coming from rounds of applause, pots and pans, chants, cheers, and instruments, this weekly event brings people distantly together during the coronavirus pandemic.


Similarly, and inspired by gestures from Italy, Spain and India, at 7:00 PM every night, the city of New York comes alive with chants of support and gratitude for US healthcare workers and those putting themselves at risk.

While we continue to wait in a space of the unknown, giving and receiving praise is a wonderful way to uplift humanity. Understanding that even the smallest acts of kindness are highly valued during COVID-19, on 11 April Instagram launched #ThankYouHour. The initiative takes place daily between 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM. During this time, App users can show appreciation by adding the #ThankYouHour sticker to photos and videos. A spokesperson from Instagram wrote, "From healthcare workers, essential workers, small businesses, to the friends, family and at-home activities that keep you energised, we hope this is a small, but meaningful way to shine a light on what you're grateful for right now."

6. #BrandHeroes - One World: Together At Home, Global

On Saturday, 18 April, not even social distancing could stop a star-studded line-up from coming together to raise over US $128 million for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The history making online concert, organised by Global Citizen and World Health Organization (WHO), honoured front-line healthcare workers and the real heroes of the coronavirus pandemic such as doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters, delivery workers, grocery store workers, mail delivery and sanitation employees. The initiative was also used to encourage spread-preventing measures like hand-washing, social distancing and putting pressure on leaders for more COVID-19 testing. Watched by well-over 20 million viewers, the 8-hour livestream show featured an incredible lineup of performers such as Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion and John Legend.


7. #BrandHeroes - Entrepreneur, Roya Mahboob, Afghanistan

In the city of Herat, one of Afghanistan’s hot spots of the coronavirus pandemic, 5 teenage girls have been on a mission to support their country by building a ventilator from used car parts.

The stark and scary reality of having access to only 400 ventilators for a population of more than 36.6 million, encouraged tech entrepreneur and Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, Roya Mahboob, to bring together an all-female robotics team to join the fight against COVID-19. The girls aged between 14 and 17, were tasked to design a ventilator that could operate from old car parts.

While still at the prototyping stage, Roya said, "The idea of these machines is that we use them for emergency cases, when there are no professional ventilators. The thing in Afghanistan is, we don't have enough ventilators… If we don't have access to anything professional we can use these."

This outstanding, progressive action is a wonderful demonstration of the power we each have to make a difference, no matter our age, gender or limitations set before us.


How can Outsourced imagination support your business during COVID-19?

While, for now, businesses will continue to face constantly evolving challenges due to the uncertainty of COVID-19, we hope our #BrandHeroes have provided inspiration and thought provoking ideas to support your brand purpose.

And while we wouldn’t consider ourselves worthy of being a brand hero ourselves, we would like to extend our offer of complimentary marketing consultancy to those of you who require support at this time. Until 7 May 2020, we’re inviting startups and small to medium sized businesses to receive 1-hour of free marketing consultancy with Outsourced imagination CMO, Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh.

All consultancy spots will be offered free of charge, however, if you would like to make a donation to our charity partner, charity : water, we would be very grateful for your generosity.

You can find out more about booking a marketing consultancy time-slot here >


Nominate your #BrandHeroes!

We would love to hear more about great initiatives from startups, small businesses and brands across the globe who are doing incredible things. If you know of an organisation that should be acknowledged in our #brandheroes series, please email lindsay@Outsourcedimagination.com with details.


The Orchard: https://www.theorchardbali.com/

M&S: https://www.marksandspencer.com/c/allinthistogether

For Days: https://www.fordays.com/

Global Citizen: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/one-world-together-at-home-impact/

Alexander Hotels: https://www.alexanderhotels.co.uk/

Roya Moahboob: https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/04/19/world/asia/ap-as-virus-outbreak-afghanistan-girl-power.html?smid=tw-share

Outsourced imagination: https://www.outsourcedimagination.com/

Charity : Water: https://www.charitywater.org/

Stay safe, stay healthy. Thinking of you all during these times.

Lindsay Grace Kinniburgh

Outsourced imagination


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