The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a spike in mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and addictive behaviors. To address new barriers to an existing problem, brands like Kate Spade New York and men’s grooming supplier, Harry’s, have stepped up to establish innovative partnerships that support frontline workers, employees and other vulnerable populations, such as the LGBTQ community. They are each encouraging corporate conversations around mental health.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation teamed up with Taryn Bird, the Director of Social Impact at Kate Spade New York and Maggie Hureau, the Head of Social Impact at Harry’s for a virtual discussion entitled: “How Brands Are Responding to COVID-19: Flattening Our Mental Health Curve.” Here are some of things I took away:
Maggie Hureau provided insights on how she and her team created a successful partnership between Harry’s and the Crisis Text Line
- Updated their website and social media to make those in need aware of how to contact the free text line. This was one of the first things they did.
- Activated a cause marketing sales promotion with 1% of their sales going toward the backing of mental health nonprofit organizations
- Provided fewer partners significant dollars rather than giving to hundreds of organizations
- Took their partnerships beyond just the investment by encouraging their employees to get involved
Taryn Bird shared advice on how to create a successful campaign and brand movement
- What you put out in the world must also be reflected internally. The insides need to match the outsides
- Step out of the box, get creative and learn how issues can align and elevate your brand
- Strong partnerships really matter – It is not about grants; it is about conversation and the knowledge to connect the dots on everything from inclusion and health to education
- Nonprofit partners must be explicit and communicate what is working and what is not. Sharing the truth is key. When a charity is too agreeable and saying they love you and everything is perfect, they are simply not being honest. When we have the same goals and everyone is on the same page, a partnership works
- Marketing is important to drive behavior change. Just like product marketing, one must understand their audience
- It is critical to recognize how your employees talk about mental health internally – Among younger populations mental health is spoken about freely; it is not as open a topic among older populations
- We need to reduce shame and fear because they lead to silence and in-action. Stigma is the enemy. Now is the moment for brands and companies to get involved and speak about mental health internally and externally
This is blog part of a series about social impact conversations we are listening to in the marketplace. Read about GenZ’s Attitudes During COVID-19, and How Community Foundations Are Adapting to Address COVID-19.