Author, Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury
As COVID-19 keeps on defacing the globe, striking urban and rural areas, developed and underdeveloped nations, it’s affecting variegated landscapes, from public health circs to economic circumstances. Bangladesh is no exception in the list of countries that are carrying out inhibitory measures to repel the pandemic.
Due to the turbulent spread of this deadly disease, all the educational institutes are currently closed. A few days after the educational institutes were temporarily shut down to bring the situation under control, the government announced the closure of all public and private offices, and now extending the closure is being considered as the circumstances are still not tractable. The health ministry advised everyone to stay in an isolated environment in their own homes to prevent the spread of the virus.
As a result, people belonging to the nether social class, such as day labourers, rickshaw-pullers, transport workers, hawkers, tea stall owners, etc., are being affected enormously as they’re not able to continue their daily activities. A large group of the population belongs to underprivileged communities as their income and milieu aren’t enough to keep them sustained through times like these.
Then came the initiative that turned things around in the midst of this calamity. Two of the leading newspaper publishers, The Daily Star, and Samakal, along with Sheba.xyz, an award-winning household service marketplace firm, joined together to form – Mission Save Bangladesh.
The objective of this initiative was to start a fund that will be utilised to provide groceries for underprivileged citizens and to ensure their wellbeing. Also, the funds received from this project is being used to provide financial support to small businesses. The initiative, moreover, included various community-based activities, such as disinfecting common places and houses, distributing necessary material such as hand sanitisers, PPE for doctors, and so on.
Scott A. Bedbury, the CEO of Brandstream, once said – “A great brand is a story that’s never completely told.”
To augment the initiative since the very start, the initiators asked some of the local and global brands to step forward and support this cause. Some of the brands lent a hand with financial support of decent donations and strategic support, while some brands helped by providing their own products.
Once the necessary items for the underprivileged families were distributed, the operational team of Mission Save Bangladesh shared the stories of how grateful and happy the families were once they received help. Those stories made people emotional on social media. In the form of raw pictures with powerful captions, the stories of how a marginalised family benefited through this social initiative turned viral as people started turning emotional after going through those contents.
Usually, the storytelling process is much more complex and time-consuming as raw footage is turned into graphically appealing creatives, with intriguing fonts and designs. However, this is one component that was not an appropriate fit this time. When people go through such appealing content, they can plainly imagine the level of additional ingredients that were put into the graphic instilled content. Instead, when they see just raw photos of how happy the families were after receiving aid during this time of crisis, the poignant side inside of them eventually led them to be a part of this project too.
Within a week since the initiation of this project, Shakib Al Hasan, a cricketer from Bangladesh’s team who’s one of the most renowned all-rounders of all time, helped this initiative too, through his own foundation. He spread the message about this initiative to a larger audience.
The brands that stepped forward to support this cause also shared the stories that inspired them to be a part of this initiative, which was published in the newspapers. The meaning of a brand is way more extensive than its product or operations; when they stood beside this initiative, the public comprehended and appreciated their reason for standing beside Mission Save Bangladesh, thus eventually enhancing the scope of trust for the brands.
So far, more than two thousand families have received help from this initiative, with an average of four to five people per family. The brand that I work with, Torun, is also a partner of this initiative, as we’re providing them with content support. This time, the combination of simplicity and transparency embedded in a fistful of trust and reliability worked out through the stories.
Rafeed Elahi Chowdhury is the Head of Content at Torun.