Whenever faced with a bad, negative or stressful situation – there are two options. You can either deflect and avoid it or you can embrace it and make the most of it. Of course, it’s no secret that COVID-19 has been one of the biggest crises we’ve all faced in a very long time. We recently discussed the biggest PR crises so far this year – but here, we’re taking a look at the brands who have excelled during this time and made the most of it. Some brands have gone above and beyond to support the NHS, some have helped those in need and others have created vibrant online communities to help us feel that bit more positive. Here are seven brands who have made the most of a bad situation and handled their COVID comms well.

Cooking up a storm: Wagamama launched virtual cooking lessons

For many of us, going to a restaurant for dinner or grabbing lunch from a café was a weekly occurrence before the whole of the country went into lockdown. Suddenly we were no longer able to treat ourselves to a delicious meal at our favourite restaurants and had to cook all of our meals ourselves – yikes! Luckily, Wagamama’s saw this as an opportunity to give something back to the nation and keep us enjoying their delicious food by launching their ‘Wok from Home’ series across their social channels. The video tutorials feature executive chief Steve Mangleshot cooking all our favourite Wagamama dishes from his kitchen. Steve said: ‘We have all been forced to prepare more food at home than we normally do and I want this regular online show to teach you how you can be a decent chef in no time. I also want to create a sense of community through our food, just like we do in all our restaurants.’ We take our hats off to Wagamama for helping to keep the nation enjoying their delicious food in the comfort of their own homes!

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welcome to episode one of 'wok from home'. we asked you guys what you wanted to cook this week and it looks like a lot of you are missing your katsu fix. so, here it is. in all it's glory. chicken katsu curry 🍛 – the sauce | serves two – 2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 2.5cm piece of ginger, peeled + grated 1 teaspoon turmeric 2 heaped tablespoons mild curry powder 1 tablespoon plain flour 300ml chicken or veg stock 100ml coconut milk 1 teaspoon light soy sauce 1 teaspoon sugar, to taste – the dish | serves two – 120g rice (any rice will do!) 1 quantity katsu curry sauce 2 skinless chicken breasts 50g plain flour 2 eggs, lightly beaten 100g panko breadcrumbs 75ml vegetable oil, for deep-frying 40g mixed salad leaves

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Shopping over the phone: Morrisons mobile delivery service for vulnerable people

The pandemic has left many elderly, high-risk and vulnerable people unable to leave their homes for basic essentials such as food and toiletries, so it’s really positive to see big brands doing their bit to help. Morrisons launched a service that allowed anyone in these categories to place orders over the phone for delivery – meaning they didn’t need to visit a supermarket at all to get everything they need! The initiative gives shoppers a ‘takeaway’ menu to choose from 47 essential items including milk, butter, eggs, potatoes, pasta, bananas, cornflakes and flour. This service has meant that thousands of people across the UK have had access to day-to-day essentials without having to leave their home, giving them piece of mind and one thing less to worry about during this time.

Going above and beyond: providing vital equipment to support the NHS

Supporting and protecting the NHS has been a priority since the start of lockdown and anything brands have done/are doing to help is incredibly valued. Dyson worked with the government and The Technology Partnership to design a ventilator and order 1,000 within weeks of the outbreak to supply the NHS with much-needed equipment through the pandemic. In addition to this, brands including Airbus, Ford, McLaren and Rolls-Royce have come together to take part in the Ventilator Challenge. This means they are going to be producing ventilators, based on the existing UK designs, for the NHS. This generous offering from such influential brands is a really positive initiative to help support the NHS throughout this crisis period.

Frank The Tank: Paddy Power’s four-part series following a dinosaur mascot

Things have been strange and arguably tough recently, so a welcome bit of content to cheer us all up and make us smile certainly didn’t go amiss. Paddy Power latched onto this opportunity and ran with it to create a four-part series that took a comical look at the challenges faced by Frank The Tank, an out-of-work dinosaur mascot. Of course, the football season has been paused meaning that naturally players weren’t working and this was widely discussed – but no one seemed to be discussing what also happens to the mascots… Their funny video series began with Frank, the Basildon Athletic FC mascot, trying to convince a recruitment agent that he has transferable skills for another job. Within 48 hours, the first clip had received more than one million views – proof that we all need cheering up and some light hearted content every now and again!

Get your running shoes on: the 2.6 challenge to help support the UK’s charities

Charities across the UK have severely felt the impact of COVID-19. Many have had to reduce or stop services because the pandemic has meant thousands of events have had to be cancelled, leading to a significant financial loss that fundraising events usually generate. To help, organisers of some of the biggest events across the country, including the London Marathon, joined forces to create the 2.6 Challenge to support fundraising for charities affected by the pandemic. To take part, all you need to do is be sponsored to do something related to the number 2.6 or 26 – which could be running for 2.6km, doing 26 press ups, dancing for 26 minutes or holding a plank for 2.6 minutes. It’s really great to see so many people across the UK coming together to participate in the challenge and support charities who really need it. So far, £11,043,844.82 has been raised because of the efforts of everyone up and down the country – something really positive to take from this lockdown period!

Supporting our front-line workers: retailers who stood up to help NHS staff

The minute we went into lockdown, panic buying seemed to take over the nation leaving many supermarkets struggling to keep up with the demand of fresh food supplies and sanitary products. Because of this, John Lewis Partnership took measures to ensure that NHS staff were accommodated for and had access to essentials they might need. They donated ‘comfort items’ including pillows, phone chargers, eye masks and hand creams to local hospitals to help support all NHS workers during this time. They also launched a £1m community support fund to help local communities who might be suffering from the impact of COIVD-19 – a really positive initiative to help others. Many supermarkets across the UK also played their role in helping support NHS staff. Morrisons, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Asda to name a few introduced NHS hours at the start of each day so that key workers could stock up on the essentials they needed. Big brands supporting the NHS at this time is something that certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed and has been really appreciated. David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: ‘Staff in the NHS are facing an unprecedented challenge and we’re doing our bit to help them buy their groceries. We’ve seen some nurses and doctors struggling to find what they need and so we’re responding with dedicated time for them to shop.’

The power of social media: TikTok unites users across the globe

When social media is used for good, it can be incredibly powerful. This was recently proven by social media app TikTok who utilised the platform to bring its users together throughout lockdown by encouraging content creators to share videos that thanked and praised all the hard work of the NHS. Over 20,000 videos have been published using the hashtag #ThankYouNHS, gaining 300 million views, with a further 4,000 videos of the #ClapForOurCarers initiative. Healthcare workers themselves also got involved by taking part in the #BlindingLightsChallenge’ and dancing along to the remix of Shakira’s song – ‘You’re on the front line’. The platform has even been praised by Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, who said: ‘The whole country has been overwhelmed by the dedication and professionalism of all of our health and social care heroes battling against this global pandemic. I know the extraordinary pressures this virus has brought to professional and private lives, and I’m delighted that TikTok is supporting the RCN Foundation, which brings so much support to so many.’

Our ICU team created a ‘positive dance’ in the bit of downtime they had…brilliant ladies well done 👏#TeamIOWNHS what are you doing to keep team spirits up?BBC News This Morning ITV News Meridian Island Echo IWRadio Isle of Wight County Press Isle of Wight Council

Posted by Isle of Wight NHS Trust on Monday, 30 March 2020

Not only did TkTok create an online buzz and positive community to uplift the nation, they also donated £5m to the COVID-19 healthcare support appeal. This vital service helps to provide emergency funding to front-line key workers during this time.

It really is fantastic and heart-warming to see so many different brands, of all sizes and across various sectors, stepping up and making the most of a bad and disheartening situation. COVID-19 has had an impact on us all in one way or another – but seeing the nation unite, come together and help others has had a really positive impact and it’s great to see multiple brands taking the lead with these initiatives.

At Prohibition, we work with a range of brands across all sectors, B2B and B2C, to create innovative PR campaigns that deliver real ROI and help meet business goals. Get in touch with us today to find out how we could support you with your Public Relations. Drop us an email: hello@prohibitionpr.co.uk or give us a bell on  0113 430 4160.

About Abbey Gray

Senior Account Executive at Prohibition PR. Blogger & Baker. Based in Leeds.