When all of this comes to pass, the companies that will undoubtedly be remembered will be the ones who stepped up to help (alongside those who made awfully questionable choices during this pandemic, but that’s a can of worms to open on another blog post).
Brewdog is one such brand that I don’t doubt will prove my point. But more on that soon.
What To Do When You Can’t Trade
These are truly strange times for us all right now.
A large percentage of businesses have had to close their doors temporarily. Pubs, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, retail stores and so many more outlets are no longer allowed to trade under tight restrictions put in place in order to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.
Whilst this is fantastic news in the sense of fighting the virus, it’s doing very little to help the British economy right now. Plenty of small, and even large businesses are suffering under the weight of being unable to trade, luckily there are some provisions in place to keep our economy abreast with a fantastic variation of companies.
No Government grant, however, will be able to protect your brand’s reputation in these times of apprehension.
So what do you do?
Staying quiet is an option of course, and perhaps a smart one. In Angelica Malin’s weekly PR briefings, she’s noted several times now that sometimes it’s better not to say anything, and it really is. If you don’t think you have anything of value to add to this epidemic, then it’s best to just keep on ticking and not making very much noise. Don’t let your consumers forget who you are, but don’t leave them remembering you for the wrong reasons either.
But what if there is some way that you can add merit to these circumstances?
Unlike anything the world has ever really seen, we will never forget the Covid-19 pandemic. Much less will we forget the big brands who made a statement during it. Some companies will be remembered for the wrong reasons (which is a discussion I’m saving for an entirely different blog post), others will be remembered for their resilience and selflessness during times of danger and uncertainty.
‘Punk Santizier’ – Supporting The NHS & The Country
Cafes, pubs and restaurants were ordered to close their doors by midnight on Friday 20th March, that’s just a little under 3 weeks ago now.
This, of course, will have detrimental impact on those involved in the day to day runnings of these establishments: owners, staff, etc. but what about their suppliers too?
Brewdog is one such organisation that would have been affected. As well as having their own dedicated bars, they also supply to a number of venues nationwide.
But instead of sticking their head in the sand and giving up in the face of adversity, they instead decided to do what I’ve been suggesting to be a good idea since this whole debacle began to unfold: they adapted.
Using their distillery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire for a higher purpose, Brewdog are now producing hand sanitiser for the masses. And not to make a profit, (ahem, I Saw It First), but instead to support the NHS and other key organisations performing life-saving work.
Unfortunately, their first batch didn’t meet hospital standards, their sanitizer needs to be at least 80% alcohol. On the plus side, it did meet UK HSE regulations which meant that the gel could be issued to other key organisations.
Batch 2 has since been approved by the NHS Grampian and 5000 units are set to be delivered early next week.
All good news.
Adapting For Good: Why It Wins
There’s a handful of reasons as to why I love this initiative from Brewdog.
Firstly, it’s creative and it examples everything that brands should be doing right now. They can’t supply to the food & drinks industry (which I’m assuming is where a good proportion of their revenue comes from), so they’ve put their distilleries to good use instead. As I keep saying, brands will be remembered for doing the right things during this epidemic, Brewdog will be one of them.
Secondly, they’ve handled the publicity really well. Not overly shouty about their initiative (if you shout too loud, you risk looking like you’re only doing good things to advertise your business), but also giving us the updates that we want. They’ve had some questionable press coverage from the likes of The Guardian after their first batch was rejected by the NHS, but have nevertheless managed to communicate really well on social media despite this. Plus, their way of relaying updates to the outside world is something a lot of brands can learn from.
Brewdog have also taken an opportunity to create additional revenue for themselves, but have instead used it for good causes. I referred to it earlier, but this is really something that the likes of I Saw It First should have done. Hand sanitizer is in dire supply in the UK right now, if you have the means to come by it – using it in an altruistic way instead of to try and make a profit ticks all of the right boxes.
And finally, it’s a creative idea at face value. There’s little point producing copious amounts of alcohol right now, apart from what Brewdog can shift on the shelves, they’re going to be unable to supply pubs, bars and restaurants for the foreseeable future. Instead of closing their doors and giving up hope, their creative approach to transforming their production line has done them every favour in making sure that Brewdog is a brand that’ll be remembered, as well as one that’s being spoken about in the present day too.
What do you think of this initiative? As always, please let me know in the comments below or sent me a tweet.