Covid-19: Some positives to take from the situation

31st March 2020

Last week I highlighted the surge of seemingly opportunistic trade mark applications that are looking to take commercial advantage of the pandemic.

Although the effects of Covid-19 continue to cause devastation and concern, heart-warming stories of communities and businesses pulling together, to help and support the NHS, and our other frontline services, have been emerging.

Ventilator Challenge UK

The government has turned to British businesses to assist with the demand for ventilators.

Dyson has developed the CoVent, a ventilator, of which the government has ordered an initial 10,000 units, and JCB have reopened a factory to assist in the manufacture of this. Virgin Orbit and Gtech have also been working on designing ventilators and the postponement of sporting events has meant Formula 1 teams have used their high-tech design facilities to also assist with the development and production of ventilators.

The Mercedes F1 team have been working with University College London to develop Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which are in short supply, and have the capacity to produce 1,000 units per day if the trials are successful.

Other F1 teams have combined forces to create Project Pitlane, and are also assisting with the development and production of ventilators.

Hand sanitiser

With government advice to wash our hands more often and keep them sanitised, finding anti-bacterial handwash and hand sanitisers (at reasonable prices) has become increasingly difficult. In order to help with demand, a number of gin distilleries and breweries have started producing and selling hand sanitiser, with some, such as Bristol’s Psychopomp Micro-distillery, donating all, or a substantial amount of, profits to charities and hospitals.

Even fashion houses have started redirecting resources; for example, Louis Vuitton has started using its perfume production lines to create hand sanitiser, which is being distributed to medical facilities in Italy.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

With many businesses, such as hair salons, nail bars and tattoo parlours having to close due to government restrictions, local councils have appealed for donations of unused PPE, such as face masks, eye goggles and disposable gloves, which will be sitting on shelves, to be donated to frontline workers.

Fashion designers have started using their factories to produce medical overalls and face masks, with Prada and Gucci leading the way and high street brands H&M and Zara also doing their bit.

In these uncertain times for business, this diversification will not only help these businesses with useful employment of their human resources, but will, no doubt, draw welcome attention to their brands and provide a positive story for them to associate with their brand image.

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