Making Lemonade: Maybe You Think You Can Boogie, But Can You Pivot?

Jim McCann
·3 min read

This pandemic has forced us all to assess. It’s been an opportunity to take a hard look at our personal routines and our business strategies. Companies have used this time of reflection to innovate in an effort to stay not only competitive, but also afloat in many cases. Adjusting and, sometimes, changing altogether to new realities is fundamental to thriving in business.

As business leaders, we are often challenged to turn “lemons into lemonade,” and right now is a great opportunity to “pivot for good”—a time where businesses can use their capabilities to serve their customers and country. Decisions that would normally take three years instead had to be made within a week. But out of this hectic time, several companies effectively used their expertise to better their communities and help navigate an unclear course.

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Pipette, a new clean baby skincare brand, had planned to launch an affordable hand sanitizer that’s effective, good for your skin and safe for the whole family to use in 2021; however, in the early days of the pandemic, with harrowing images of barren shelves across the country, the company made a decision. It chose to fast-track the production of the hand sanitizer to meet the demand from consumers and health care professionals alike. Additionally, Pipette donated 21,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to medical workers on the front lines in the initial hot spots of San Francisco and New York. They now offer bulk-sized hand sanitizer as well.

Anheuser-Busch faced a similar crossroads in mid-March. The company is the country’s largest sponsor of live sporting events and entertainment, but with in-person events halted for the foreseeable future, what do they do with all of that advertising money? As part of a $5 million donation to the American Red Cross, Anheuser-Busch worked with its sports partners to identify arenas and stadiums that could be used for temporary blood drive centers. Anheuser-Busch made its own tour centers available for use by the Red Cross and donated media airtime to the Red Cross in support of its public service announcements.

But the company didn’t stop there—Anheuser-Busch put its robust supply and logistics network to work as it began producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to meet the growing need nationwide, delivering more than 500,000 bottles in their relief efforts. The dedication to the public good has not let up as they are producing and donating more than 8 million ounces of hand sanitizer to be used in polling stations ahead of the November general election.

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The cosmetics giant Estée Lauder has aligned many of its philanthropic efforts on the ever-evolving needs of the pandemic, including food, medical and emergency assistance. From producing hand sanitizer for frontline medical workers internationally to donations of surgical masks and even the creation of an Employee Relief Fund to help employees worldwide facing financial hardships due to COVID-19, Estée Lauder has risen to the challenges that the coronavirus has brought upon its workers and the world.

As these businesses have shown, times of crises can be windows of opportunities. A chance for a brand to care for its people, its community and its country. We’ve all done our part to help our neighbors in their time of need, so don’t be afraid to apply the same principle to businesses. Let’s pivot our mindset and businesses to be adaptable and agile and most importantly, let’s do well by doing good.

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