In times of crisis, empathy leads

When historians look back on the second decade of the 2000s, the chapter on 2020 will be its own volume. (And we’re only halfway through!) The global coronavirus pandemic. Then, the economic fallout. Now, the US is grappling with widespread social unrest against systemic social and racial inequality. For individuals and communities, these are difficult times to navigate. For brands, it raises even bigger questions: How to respond, if at all, in moments of instability, when every step seems fraught?

The answer is as unprecedented as the times: As Fortune Magazine and Fast Company reports,  the Fortune 100—Netflix, Microsoft, and IBM among them‚ companies long silent on ‘hot button’ social issues—have taken increasingly public stands with startlingly clear statements. Target—whose stores have suffered some of the worst property damage escalating from peaceful protests—has released a simple but powerful statement condemning intolerance in all forms. Perhaps most striking in this group, however, is the typically conservative, by-the-book banking giant citigroup, whose response to the current moment is bracing, unequivocal, and provides a clear link to actions that the company is undertaking.

The lesson? Brands can and should lead the way forward. How? With an empathy-led approach that’s sensitive to the struggles that all customers and employees are facing, that acknowledges shared responsibility, and that promises to honor a diversity of perspectives. As we recently saw in brands’ responses to COVID, a wholesale change in messaging strategy often isn’t necessary: By simply communicating with clarity around the values that community banks and credit unions have always brought to bear, banking brands can be a calm in the current storm, building on their most precious asset—the trust at the heart of their relationships. 

This is why now more than ever, we Believe in Banking.

To learn more about how your bank or credit union can appropriately address the current social moment, email: