Australian Bushfires

As Australia burns, so it appears the dimly lit torch of Scott Morrison fades – when Nick Kyrgios is more popular in his home country and perceptually, has done more than the sitting Prime Minister, you know you have a problem.  Scotty from Marketing is in a PR and political crisis.

But while the country directs their heat at the Prime Minister, where’s the Australian businesses and brands coming out to help?  Red Cross are doing a fantastic job (you can donate directly here), but why hasn’t big business stepped up and filled the void for a country looking for any way out of what we see as a helpless situation. Maybe it’s indicative of the Australian culture that it’s the sports stars, comedians (all hail Celeste Barber) and celebrities that are leading the charge.  The small businesses culture is evident; my local coffee shop is donating $2 from every cup of coffee towards the Disaster Relief next Tuesday.  But what about the bigger brands?

Here’s where I’m frustrated but see the opportunity. It’s about a fair exchange principle, that is coming more and more into the relationships we have with brands.  Creating a relationship based on a shared understanding of mutual worth / value.  

From the many brands I have a relationship with, I was told on Black Friday what I should be buying, when Christmas online delivery would be closing and how much cheaper the things I bought for Christmas were on Boxing Day but heard nothing from them about what they are doing while Australia burns.  What do I want to hear from them?  I want to hear the holy grail of branding 101.  What does your brand stand for; what are your values and how can these translate into helping the bushfire relief efforts.  With absolute no disrespect, there’s probably more needed than relying on cash per Sam Stosur ace this summer.  And there’s nothing I can do for every six Chris Lynn hits,  but I would buy a product if I knew 100% of profit was going to the relief fund, I would donate items I’ve bought from you if you took care of the logistics, I would feel very differently about you if I saw you were trying.  I’m happy to spend my money buying groceries / supplies, but what are you doing in return?

While I fully appreciate it’s that time of the year that businesses aren’t 100% back up and running but this is a problem didn’t appear overnight.  And the cynic and non PR person looks at the current justified reaction to Scotty and wonders whether this could be a perfect time to cut through (PR perspective), show empathy and authenticity (brand perspective) and make an impact (consumer perspective). 

And, as I sit in our office, miles away from affected areas, but seeing the smoke in the air, for every project we, as The Interpreters, win this summer, we’ll be donating a percentage of our profit to the bushfire relief. We’re not a big business but want to help where we can.

Again – here’s a link to donate what you can before hopefully, Australian business, step up –—donation

By Paul Dixon

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