April 7, 2020
Patriots Deliver More Than a Million Masks
Recently, the New England Patriots were the big headline in the essentially closed world of professional sports. Their biggest name, the man some consider the best to ever play the game, quarterback Tom Brady, was headed out of New England to Tampa. Brady was a Buccaneer, and Pats fans were aghast. It was a headline many in New England, especially die-hard Patriots fans could hardly wrap their heads around. No more QB12?
Now, though, much of the nation, both in and out of New England, has a reason to cheer for the Patriots. With reports of personal protective equipment shortages at many hospitals across the country, especially in New York, millions of Americans are wondering if their local medical facilities will have what they need if they or a loved one gets sick.
Enter the Patriots. Owner Robert Kraft worked with Patriots president Jonathan Kraft and the state to buy 1.4 million N95 masks for Massachusetts. The Kraft family also purchased another 300,000 masks for New York state.
The shipment of masks arrived on a Patriots team aircraft, part of a logistical challenge Kraft called “probably the most challenging operation our organization and team ever had to do…”
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker took to social media to express his appreciation, posting, “Tonight’s arrival of a major shipment of N95 masks on the Patriots’ plane was a significant step in our work to get frontline workers the equipment they need… it’s an example of how collaboration and partnership can lead to real solutions during these challenging times…”
Everyone involved called this a challenging project but also a “team effort” and vowed to continue doing what they could to help.
This “challenging” project illustrates how brands that may not be receiving the earned media they would be under normal circumstances can shift their efforts to meet current needs in order to continue their PR efforts while doing some tangible good.
Brands that take advantage of these opportunities will be remembered for what they did, as well as how they make people feel, just as others will be remembered for what they didn’t do during this unprecedented time. That’s not to say every brand has to do something as massive as this. Many don’t have the resources, but there are other opportunities or digital PR options they could work toward as part of their efforts to stay connected to customers and fans in this time.
The key idea is to remember that relationship building is a significant aspect of consumer PR in this digital age. People want a reason to connect to something they’re proud of, and that makes positive brand reputation vital to any awareness campaign.