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23 Apr 2020

Edward Mungai, Business Daily (Kenya)

Brands that respond positively to Covid-19 pandemic, incl. fairness to employees will 'win the heart of the masses', says columnist

"Coronavirus signals big corporate shift"

During a crisis, economies become more resilient if prepared for a range of possibilities. Mapping out likely scenarios helps policymakers and industry captains to effectively mobilise proper tools for deployment in crisis management. Like the rest of the world, the face of Kenya is set to change across economic, political and social landscapes after the tide of the coronavirus pandemic retreats...

To begin with, there will be tectonic shifts in brand loyalty. Brands seen to have a human face by offering solutions amid the crisis and relating to the plight of the wider society, will win the hearts and minds of the masses. Closer relationships could also be sealed between the government and such proactive brands, resulting in goodwill, since confronting the deadly bug effectively requires collaboration. For instance, contact tracing requires hi-tech surveillance of the population and can only be possible with assistance from private technology firms. On the opposite end, any perceived inaction, indifference and hypocrisy towards corporations will see customers drift away from brands. Goodwill from the government may also be lost.

This is the social pillar of sustainability practices and stretches beyond customers to include the wellbeing of employees. How companies treat their workforce during this crisis will shape future employer-worker relations along with staff loyalty. Also, it will affect the appeal of an organisation in attracting and retaining top talent once the dark times are over.