Variety

Brands use social media power to amp up people’s SoS calls

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on April 30, 2021

Twitter popular tocrowd-source funds, too

With the country’s healthcare infrastructure severely stressed, many brands are leveraging their wide social media presence to pitch in the battle against the Covid-19 second wave. While some brands are amplifying citizens’ SoS for hospital beds or medicines, others are using their official social media handles to raise funds or spread awareness about vaccination registration.

Take Tinder India, which has changed its official Twitter handle name to “RTs are a helping hand”. For the past few days, the dating app’s official handle has been re-tweeting information on plasma donors, and ambulance and oxygen cylinder services.

Delivery app Dunzo has asked netizens to tag its official Twitter handle and is amplifying their Covid emergency requests. “Our nation is going through a trying time and many people are in need of help and resources. For starters, we would like to open up our social media platforms to those who need their request amplified,” it said in a tweet earlier this month.

Similarly, recently Mumbai Indians tweeted, “During this difficult time, we would like to do our bit and help get the word out for as many #Covid-19 related needs across India. Use #BlueHeart in your tweets and we will do our best to share your requirements to a wider audience #Covid19IndiaHelp.”

Greek yoghurt brand Epigamia has been retweeting Covid SoS messages besides committing to support Doctors For You (DFY).

Investor & Business Strategist Lloyd Mathias says, “The best thing businesses can do during this humanitarian crisis is to be empathetic and useful. They should use the reach and heft of their social media and other media assets to spread accurate information, provide relevant updates and help the community at large.”

Fund-raising

Many brands have been using their social media handles to focus on fund-raising and coordinating relief effort. For instance, Paytm, which is using its social media handles to raise funds to source oxygen concentrators is matching these donations with its own contribution. Brands such as McDonald’s India, ixigo, Pizza Hut India, Tata Sky, MasterCard India, EazyDiner and Jio Payments Bank have been using their official Twitter handles to amplify Paytm’s fund-raising efforts with the hashtag #OxygenForIndia.

On Thursday, Coca-Cola India tweeted that the company is pledging an initial contribution of ₹50 crore to facilitate Covid vaccinations, provide safety kits, create awareness and distribute beverages. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, too, is using its social media presence to create awareness about the vaccination registration process.

As brand strategy expert Harish Bijoor says, “These are times of angst and pain. I do believe brands must participate with sensitivity to the travails of many amongst us. Brands must desist from selling and pushing brand messages. Instead they must push messages that connect with the humans in a crisis”.

Creating awareness

Many consumer goods companies have paused promotional messaging on digital platforms and are instead focussing on creating awareness about Covid-appropriate behaviour. A spokesperson for PepsiCo India said the company has been using its digital assets to share messages about social distancing, encouraging people to stay at home and wear masks.

Published on April 30, 2021

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