How Brands and Influencers Are Responding To Ukraine

Marketing during a geopolitical conflict.

Lena Young
March 03, 2022

What Are Your Brand Values?

If the last two years have taught us anything it’s that we live in an ever-changing, hyper-connected world. And, the prominence of social media in our lives puts topics and conflicts that at a time might have felt far away, right in front of our eyes. 

There is almost an unspoken expectation to speak out about important issues, and a sentiment that to say nothing is really saying something. We saw this in 2020 during the Black Lives Matter movement, with many calling on brands to make a statement of solidarity and outline actions for change.

As more consumers factor in brand values as part of the decision-making process, brands must identify their values and execute campaigns that eloquently and authentically promote them. Learn more about how influencers can support a value-based marketing strategy. 

What Do Your Customers Expect?

With issues such as mask mandates and systemic racism, there is a balance of both social and political discourse. And, for some, these are very obvious topics to make a statement about. The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, while receiving much-needed news coverage, can feel a bit more complicated due to its geopolitical nature. 

While protests have already taken place across the globe, and many have taken to social media to express their outrage at the conflict, brands are now having to think about a statement they will make about a major world crisis. 

When wondering what your customers would expect, perhaps think more about what issues you already promote. Think about it in terms of intersectionality. We live in a connected world, thus, fighting oppression against one group can transcend to other marginalized groups. For example, if your brand has a strong pro-LGBTQ+ agenda, many organizations and influencers have begun talking about how this conflict will impact LGBTQ+ Ukrainians. Sharing resources or organizations is a great way to help, while still maintaining an authentic brand voice. 

Monitoring Competitors 

Another strategic way to determine how your brand should handle the current crisis is by monitoring the responses of your competitors. Brands are still figuring if and how they will make a statement. Learning from your peers is a great example when you’re still a bit unsure. Check to see which social media platforms they use to make a statement, and what type of actions they take.

Examples of statements:

Solidarity

These statements are often letters from CEOs of major corporations to express in words that the company stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine. 

Donations

Money pledges to various organizations that go to support the people of Ukraine and/or the growing refugee crisis

Operational changes

  • Organizations that have ties to Russia state what immediate changes they will make.
  • Organizations with offices in Ukraine are often commenting on the welfare of employees and the status of offices.

Examples of Brands Responding to Ukraine

Here are how some leading brands have responded to the war in Ukraine. 

1. Amazon: Donation

Amazon pledged a $5 million donation to organizations supporting the people of Ukraine including; UNICEF, UNHCR, World Food Program, Red Cross, Polska Akcja Humanitarna, and Save the Children. They are also matching an additional $5 million in donations from employees and added a donate button on their website for clients who would like to make a donation action upon purchase. 

2. Ford: Operational Changes and Donation

Jim Farley, the CEO of Ford released a statement that the company has immediately suspended all operations with Russia, and will donate $100,00 to the Global Giving Ukraine Relief Fund. 

3. Balenciaga: Donation & Information

Anyone familiar with Balenciaga knows that the brand’s social media presence is minimal, and will only focus on a singular campaign. Well, now the focus is Ukraine. All content has been erased from the page except for a Ukrainian flag and a link-in-bio to The World Food Programme. Balenciaga has also pledged a donation to the WFP and says it will use its platform to share information on the ongoing conflict.

How Are Influencers Responding To Ukraine

1. @the_frenchie_doots: Resources

We all knew french bulldogs were cute, but who knew they were activists! They shared a link in the bio of places to donate.

2. @seanecore: Donation

The famous yoga teacher help a donation-based yoga class, aimed at sending positive energy to the people of Ukraine and raising money for the Ukrainian Crisis Relief Fund.

3. @alissatimoshkina: Fundraising and Grassroots Action

Alissa is a London-based, Russian food content creator. The recent events in Ukraine have affected her on a personal level, but she has only channeled her feelings for good by launching the #CookForUkraine campaign. A charity-based initiative that will fundraise for Ukraine. 

What Should Your Brand Do Next?

Klear helps you do a deep dive on influencer values, as well as monitor your competitors. Both are great resources when identifying the best approach for strategic collaboration during such a sensitive time. If you’d like to learn how these resources can support your brand schedule a call with one of our influencer marketing experts.