Accelerated Empathy is a trend that we’ve been following at Mindshare for consumers and brands alike. Thanks to social media, today a person’s circle of empathy can be much larger than just people they know, like friends or family. Now it can include strangers whose experiences they see and learn about online.
On August 26, Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since 2005 and has devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana. In response, The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal all lowered their paywalls for coverage related to the hurricane. That way, anyone could access the stories being published -- whether they’re a subscriber or not. A spokesperson for The New York Times said: "During times when safety may be at risk, access to accurate and up-to-date information is crucial.”
And that’s not all. Along with providing info and the option for personal pages to mark themselves safe, Facebook matched $1 million of donations made to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Hurricane Harvey Fund. The social network posted a link to donate at the top of the newsfeed and reached their goal in less than one day.
In another example of helping out, an Anheuser-Busch plant in Georgia halted production of beer and instead produced canned water. They sent more than 150,000 cans of safe drinking water to Louisiana for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
As a marketer, choosing if, when and how to respond to natural disasters is a difficult process. Above all, brands must stay true to their values and think about how they can help and empathize with customers during events that impact both them and society at large.
Personally, if you’re looking for ways to help those affected by the hurricane, you can donate to organizations like The Red Cross and AmeriCares or local resources like food banks or the Humane Society.
For more information, please visit MindshareInTheLoop.com.
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