Actions Speak Louder Than Dollars
Posted on

April 29, 2020

3 Min. Read


Robert Fronk

Actions Speak Louder Than Dollars

COVID-19 Issue Insight Series  |  View as a PDF

Who it impacts

Companies and businesses of all sizes and sectors | Industry associations

What we see

More than 7 in 10 members of the informed public* want companies to actively communicate about “COVID-19 specific responses”

  • The public wants to know MOST a company is 1) Donating any life-saving or life-protecting goods or services; 2) Changing production to deliver a vital product; 3) Adapting their core expertise to fill a critical gap created by the pandemic.
  • The public wants to know LEAST a company is (1) Giving money (give it, just don’t need to hear about it); (2)Donating irrelevant goods and services that they make.

– 8 in 10 want to know that companies are doing everything in their power to “protect employees both in the workplace and in their communities”

– 9 in 10 expect companies to explore adapting to produce a product that is immediately needed to support frontline workers or public health in general

What it means

It took 15-20 years for companies to realize that giving money was not the same thing as CSR. It has taken the informed public less than 15 days to comprehend and make clear that donating dollars isn’t what is needed or expected for a company to be seen as indispensable in the midst of this crisis.

There is a desire for action. For adaptation, ingenuity, repurposing and immediately tangible benefit in what a company does.

What is also clear is that companies have only two priority stakeholders right now: their employees and society. This crisis is both systemic and personal. Companies must understand and address this duality.

What you should do about it

Power down your traditional dashboard and its metrics for success in favor of the actions that matter most to priority stakeholders. Choose collaboration over competition, facts over clever content, meaningfulness over favorability. Instead of focusing on your Net Promoter Score, practice advocacy and spark advocacy in others. By expecting no credit or reward for the actions you take, true reputation equity will accrue to your company.


Purple Pulse Survey of the US Informed Public. N=848. March 5-8, 2020.
Purple Pulse Survey of the US Informed Public. N=1,037. April 2-4, 2020.
Purple Pulse Survey of the UK Informed Public. N=1,035. April 2-4, 2020.
Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on COVID-19, March 6-10, 2020.

* Surveys of the “informed public” – defined as adults who read the news at least a few times a week and closely follow at least one broad news topic.


By Robert Fronk | Managing Director |

Purple is actively partnering with companies and industries to navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the future that will come after, bringing deep experience helping the world’s best-known companies navigate the world’s toughest challenges. Please reach out to author Robert Fronk or any member of our Purple team to let us know how we can support you.