Empathy and kindness: the impact of Covid-19 on behaviors in North America

Apr 16, 2020 |4 min read
covid-19 crisis impact uncertainty

Last week my 2CV colleague, Ellie Gould from our UK office wrote a great piece about how brands and communities in the UK are responding to the ever-changing situation we face. It's comforting to see how honesty, flexibility and community are shining through in a variety of ways in the UK and it's no different here in the US.


The desire for "real talk" from companies is needed now more than ever, with consumers looking for guidance on how to adjust to a very new and rapidly changing reality. Transparency and honesty are the antidote to the fear mongering we see in the media, by keeping facts straight and anxieties at bay. Companies that show vulnerability and apologize instead of covering up issues or missteps are welcomed at this time by consumers, at the end of the day, we are all human, even brands. In the time for honesty we even see some schools being honest with parents about how this situation will impact teacher's salaries, a move we'd never have seen pre-COVID-19. In the longer term, a conversation that's honest will eventually lead to a more compassionate and understanding community.


American lifestyles are changing drastically, and companies have been more than accommodating to meet shifting lifestyle needs. In the fitness world, many studios and workout companies like BoxUnion and ClassPass are transitioning to guided online workouts in place of in-person classes. Even trainers and celebrities are offering free training sessions on social media to help people stay positive and active at home. With restaurants and bars being closed, more Americans are looking for online recipes, cooking tutorials, or anything that sparks kitchen inspiration. Famous chefs and culinary bloggers are creating more videos with "easy" recipes using common pantry ingredients. For example, Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski has been sharing daily "Quar Eye: Cooking Lessons in Quarantine" IGTV videos with helpful culinary tips that keeps his audience inspired and entertained.

It's clear companies more than ever are taking steps to adapt and accommodate to the current market changes. Major companies are shifting resources from normal production to manufacture much needed personal protective equipment (PPE's) for healthcare workers and medical equipment. One such example, is Ford, who are working with GE and 3M to boost ventilator production to prevent a shortage of ventilators needed in hospitals across the country.


The sense of connection and community that has grown from the Covid-19 pandemic is an incredible silver lining at the end of the day. There's a shared conversation around supporting local businesses and restaurants as well as people who are unable to afford basic groceries. People are ordering delivery/to-go orders from their favorite local restaurants or even buying gift cards to support them for the time being. Many are donating to their local food banks and non-profits who are connected to the most vulnerable communities.

Musicians who typically perform at live in-person events are performing free concerts on social media for anyone to enjoy and come together as a community. Religious and spiritual organizations that are a place of haven for some are taking services to a virtual platform so that members can still keep in touch with their communities during this period of time.

Social media has been an epicenter of community by providing lighthearted entertainment and making a space for people to connect even if it's only a like or comment on a post. There are a variety of workout and dance challenges on Instagram and Tik Tok that keep the world busy and having fun indoors.

Whilst we all adjust to the changing situation and impact of Covid-19 on our daily lives, it's comforting to know that support and kindness are shining through from everyone around us. We can only hope that this is the lasting legacy of Covid-19 on our behaviors. After all we can all be that bit kinder to each other and ourselves.