How the real estate sector is supporting communities during the Coronavirus pandemic
Navigating the business and communication challenges around Covid-19 are multi-faceted. Companies are dealing with the pressures of operating through very uncertain economic times, while having to communicate effectively internally and externally, in a situation that is constantly evolving.
At the same time, consumers are turning to businesses to be conscious citizens and to play a significant role in providing support within communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The saying goes, how somebody treats you during your time of need, says a lot about the person they are. This is true for business and brand relationships too. A significant majority of consumers surveyed by Kantar expect brands to focus marketing strategies on making a positive contribution, with 77% wanting to see brands “inform about their efforts to face the situation.”
Consumer and client trust can equally be built or broken during this crisis, and businesses must consider this in their external communications in the weeks and months ahead.
While not all British companies can make ventilators, chemicals for testing and vaccines, or hand sanitizer, it’s not to say they cannot address supply-side issues and isolation. With a significant number of construction sites temporarily shut across the country, and the transactions market significantly slowing, businesses in these sectors are finding innovative ways to realign their efforts to help the government and front-line workers in any way they can.
The founder of housebuilder Redrow, Steve Morgan, has said that he will be donating £1million per week to charities in North Wales, Merseyside and Chesire to help the most vulnerable members of society that have been impacted by the coronavirus.
Commercial real estate group, CBRE, has announced that it is urgently working with the NHS across the UK to meet the immediate need for additional premises and parking facilities. The company is facilitating engagement with clients and contacts in the real estate market nationwide to identify suitable properties close to NHS or private hospitals, which can be occupied by NHS staff for the duration of the pandemic.
Galliard Homes worked in partnership with Essex Country Council to donate 61,000 sq. ft of warehouse space to store supplies that are being brought in as part of the government’s response to fighting the coronavirus pandemic and supporting vulnerable people in society.
Retirement home giant McCarthy & Stone has offered the government 300 newly built apartments in unoccupied developments to house NHS staff and elderly patients recovering from Covid-19, as the pandemic intensifies. While northern and midlands-based housebuilder, Gleeson Homes, has temporarily paused sales and closed development sites, it has committed to prioritise sales to front-line and other key workers when sales recommence, in recognition of the extraordinary role that they are playing at this time.
Housebuilders have also taken to their social channels to talk about how they are supporting the cause. Housebuilder Hill has worked with its supply chain partners to donate PPE to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, while Redrow and its extended supply chain have donated essential protective equipment, including FFFP3 masks to the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in the Excel Centre.
The cost of offering a helping hand is very minimal and communicating your efforts in the right way can pay dividends in the form of positive public opinion in the long term. Brewdog, whose joint founders have adapted production lines to produce sanitizer, has seen its reputation score increase by a massive 5.8 index points since 16 March, according to the latest YouGov BrandIndex.
Tackling an outbreak of this magnitude requires a team effort and true support and collaboration. It’s fantastic to see so many businesses step up to the challenge.