The care/harm foundation is related to our instincts to care for the young of our tribe or clan. The underlying virtues are kindness and compassion.
In the current environment, ‘caring’ has come to mean taking measures to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID, either in terms of their health (frontline workers, essential workers, the elderly, those with underlying conditions), or in terms of their finances (those who have lost jobs or had to close businesses).
This presents a serious moral dilemma; do we prioritise caring for people’s health or for their financial wellbeing.
A) Caring for financial wellbeing: Brands offering practical help to people who have been hit hard by the lockdown financially, by redirecting or donating money/products/services, were recognised and admired for their efforts to help those in need.
Conversely, brands that have failed/refused to adapt to the financial challenges being faced by their customers stand accused of not caring for people, and are driving some customers away as a result.
B) Caring for health: In the current environment, ‘caring’ also means taking measures to protect those who are at increased risk from Covid-19 – either because they are more likely to get it (the frontline and essential workers) or because they could get it more seriously (the elderly/those with underlying conditions).
Grocery stores are a case in point here. Those offering designated slots for elderly / healthcare workers have been applauded on both sides of the Atlantic for showing they care:
These examples show that people really are noticing what brands are doing. Opinions and likely behaviours are changing and forming.
Section 3 explores what brands should do about it. Click here to read more.