Challenger Brands Dare to Care

Supporting Challenger Brands During The COVID-19 Pandemic

At 5&Vine, we’re relentlessly focussed on supporting and amplifying the stories of Challenger Brands today.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been observing how challenger thinking enables businesses to stand out by mindfully adjusting to our uncertain interim reality through bold compassion.

Families are confined to their homes, and many have lost work or seen their hours minimized. While citizens and business owners have appealed to governments for immediate support and relief, consumers are expecting firms to demonstrate a sensitivity to strained budgets and frazzled nerves. An empathetic, human response from businesses to customers matters so much in this moment.

While we’ve all received a barrage of typeform messages from brands reassuring us that they are “here” for us. We’ve also observed a comforting, softening tone shift on social media. All types of Challenger Brands and brand marketers are dropping gregarious facades and becoming more authentic and connected with digital, homebound audiences. It’s clear that the voice of a challenger requires a new kind of vulnerability right now.

As the Toronto artist “Dreemlord” has reminded us: We’re all in this together!

A Toronto Challenger Making Us Proud

This week, we’re highlighting the creative and compassionate work of successful Challenger Brand Paramount Foods, a Middle Eastern fast-casual dining chain based in our hometown of Toronto. Paramount is demonstrating an admirable showcase of what is being referred to as “caremongering” during COVID-19. The term is a play on the term “scaremongering,” which refers to the spreading of frightening or ominous reports or rumours.

They’ve introduced their “Dare to Care” menu, which allows people in the Greater Toronto Area to dine out on delicious healthy meals at home for under $15, while also supporting a local franchise and small business owner. Paramount is also offering 50 percent off to frontline workers when they place a takeout order at any of Paramount’s locations across the GTA and beyond.

Paramount’s CEO, Mohamad Fakih, is known for his community philanthropy. During a cold snap in December 2017, when Toronto’s housing shelters were at capacity, Mr. Fakih helped to pay for dozens of hotel rooms for the homeless.

Later, during the 650 Parliament fire in St. James Town, Toronto, he spearheaded the raising of $125,000 in 24 hours for families that were displaced. As recently as January, he led a national fundraising campaign to help the families who lost loved ones in the Iran plane crash through the campaign “Canada Strong,” in partnership with the Toronto Community Foundation.

In these small but important ways, Paramount is demonstrating that the franchise is able to ask: Why does it have to be this way? And How could it be better? By adjusting prices to offer a discount to families ordering food and supporting front-line workers, Paramount is being responsive to the new reality we all find ourselves navigating.

Neither of these programs – #DareToCare or the special discount for front-line-workers – are particularly revolutionary. But they are made all the more meaningful as they are rooted in a deep sense of compassion for the community.

This is the part that brands have to play in the crisis – building a business for the better.

If you enjoyed our post, Challenger Brands Dare to Care, check out How To Build Trust For Your Startup at Every Brand Touchpoint.

Successful brand building depends on trust. This makes it critical to think about the foundations of trust from day one – no matter your sector, size, or product or service offered. With our work at 5&Vine spanning pre-seed to Series B startups, and everything from organic meal delivery to disease outbreak risk software, we know what it takes to build trust.

But how exactly does your brand go about doing that, and are you doing enough?


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👋 I'm Rahul, founder and CMO at 5&Vine. Reach out to schedule an intro call about your marketing challenges and let's assess how 5&Vine can help your brand win.

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