Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, believes that oneness is the only way to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Shutterstock.

Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, believes that oneness is the only way to beat the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Shutterstock.

Now’s the time for organizations to show their humanity

With cities under lockdown and people forced to stay home, businesses are shifting online – but not all are able to do so. Here’s where bigger, more established firms come in – they can pool resources together and give smaller businesses a helping hand.

In just one example of businesses supporting both customers and counterparts in the global crisis, of many that have emerged, food and beverage (F&B) firms in Singapore can now use DBS bank’s digital platforms to migrate their business to the digital space.

The Singapore-based bank has rolled out a new F&B digital package that will enable businesses to set up online food service sites in less than a week.

Working with two technology start-ups, Oddle and FirstCom, DBS will help clients through the entire process of setting up a digital storefront, which includes digital marketing services, establishing e-menus, order management systems and payment gateways.

DBS announced these initiatives a day after the Singaporean government tightened social distancing rules to contain the current pandemic.

These are unprecedented times, and it has brought about a shift in the way business is being conducted.

From leading perfume makers producing hand sanitizer to F1 teams creating ventilators, some of the most successful companies from various industries are showing what industry leadership should look like.

Technology futurist, Daniel Burrus, said given the circumstances, businesses must shift their focus from being successful to being significant. “Significant is all about what you do for others […] be significant, and success will follow after.”

Indeed, now is the time for businesses to live for something more than themselves. a people-first approach, supported by innovative technology, is needed to solve the real-world problems we face today.

Following the launch of knowledge-sharing platform for coronavirus research, businessman and former Alibaba founder Jack Ma said the way to beat the pandemic – and return to the economy to something like its former nature – is to “share resources, know-how, and hard-earned lessons.”

Not only is this the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense.

Consumers today are purpose-driven, and will be loyal to brands with values they resonate with. They want empathy, and companies that are willing to understand what they need, the challenges they’re trying to solve and the change they are looking for, will win in the long run.

In these moments of (apparent) altruism, businesses may also strike up partnerships that go on to become commercially fruitful in the years to come, thanks to support they gave at their lowest ebb.

Alicia Tillman, CMO at SAP, sums this up nicely: “the future of business has feelings.”

What it means is that people, including those running businesses, feel with those impacted by the pandemic; they empathize with them. Customers will recognize and remember those businesses that acted with compassion, and those that forgoed it for short-term profits.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a double-edged sword. Yes, it has caused massive damage, and is a global healthcare nightmare but, objectively, it also presents the unique opportunity for business to prove their worth to customers and to demonstrate their humanity.

Now, more than ever, the world needs people to put their differences aside, and use whatever they have to ride this tide out together. Whether it improves their business prospects in the long run, or not, helping is helping.