With the second COVID wave impacting families and businesses everywhere, there has been immense pressure on healthcare workers and infrastructure. People have turned to social media to find help and to support one another by sharing leads for COVID relief equipment, medicines, and other resources. The Indian startup community stepped up to help people in need despite taking blows on its own staff, resources, and business.
Young entrepreneurs are not just social-media savvy, they are also hyper-focused on solving problems. Finding solutions to issues that seem insurmountable is what drives them. So, in the face of struggle, they hustled to find answers. Some startups created apps that consolidated and streamlined most sought-after information about covid resources, while others innovated ways to reduce the financial burden of treatment, and yet others looked at how they could support the vulnerable people and communities.
When entrepreneurs and companies combine their capability, creativity and agility with a PURPOSE, the result creates the most durable bond between them and a community that goes beyond their target audience. We have been seeing that happen very clearly this time. The Indian startup community has been answering to the need of the hour by realigning resources to deliver a situation-relevant solution/model. Every step of the way, the community has been demonstrating “We are all in this together.”
A great example of this is when distressed people sent SOS calls on social media for beds, oxygen and injections, Good Samaritans responded with leads. But verified leads kept running out fast and fresh leads took time to reach people in need. Browsing streams of tweets and posts was also cumbersome for hapless people looking for immediate help. A leading digital customer experience SaaS platform took on this problem. The company specialises in engineering AI-powered algorithms for marketing campaigns where it analyses social media trends to suggest ways to enhance customer experience. The company applied the same capability for relief work. It assimilated crowd-generated data and launched a COVID resource website that provided the latest, verified leads in an extremely user-friendly navigable form. Such agility to quickly change gears in a dynamic situation is a startup’s superpower.
Besides providing leads, it also has trends on the supply and demand of these resources, which helps NGOs and government agencies to adapt to the ever-evolving on-ground situation.
The solution resonated with people across the country. Any marketing campaign that would want to reach such a wide audience, in such a short time and build durable trust and reputation would need a credit card without limits. This small and timely initiative by this company, however, went way beyond the usual marketing exercise. It positioned the company and its people as a “Brand with Purpose”.
Similarly, one of India’s leading mobility platforms launched a slew of initiatives to ferry healthcare and frontline workers for free. It also ferried senior citizens to vaccination centers, which brought relief to many. With the close involvement of the leadership, the efforts made by the company go a long way in establishing their intent as a public-spirited entity. What is important, though, is to ‘do’ rather than ‘talk’, otherwise, it looks opportunistic.
Brands that keep purpose at the core are always better positioned to weather a storm. All stakeholders of a company are currently responding to authentic, purpose-led messaging. As a startup, if you are speaking that language, your stakeholders will remember you for it and stand by you in the long run.