Covid-19 was always going to have the biggest impact on the vulnerable. The sheer scale of illness and deaths across the world has shocked us all.
Less shocking – unfortunately – is the number of big brands that have also fallen in the wake of the virus. From the UK arm of US underwear giant Victoria’s Secret to high street fashion stalwarts Oasis and Warehouse, not to mention restaurant chains closing branches or shutting their doors altogether. And it’s likely there will be more.
In all honesty few here in the Brandality office will mourn the loss of many of these retailers and hospitality names – and we doubt we’re alone. Debenhams, Carluccio’s, Gourmet Burger have all severely disappointed at least one of our team in the not too distant past. Covid-19 isn’t the root of their demise, they were already failing; when the world turned upside down, heavy debt and unwieldly corporate structures meant they couldn’t pivot with it.
But plenty could and did. Here’s just a few of our favourite examples – we’re sure there will be plenty more that haven’t made the headlines. Take pizzeria chain Pizza Pilgrims. Just like every other restaurant in the UK, when lockdown hit the doors closed on its 13 outlets. But not for long. The owners swung into action to launch Pizza in the Post – basically all the fresh ingredients you need to make two or four pizzas at home in a frying pan – genius! At the end of August the owners said they’d sold some 30,000 kits. With the cheapest starting at £15, rising to £27.50 – you do the sums!
And then there was the Sheffield micropub The Beer House, that managed not only to pivot business into deliveries, but created its own WhatsApp community of regulars who get first dibs on the weekly ordering and who share photos and comments related to their purchases.
One of our favourite pivots is from US book reseller Mckay’s Books, which since lockdown has offered themed, bundled bags of books, puzzles, DVDs and computer games. Customers simply choose their bundle online and collect their tote bag at the curbside outside the store.
And just this week Pret a Manager – the granddaddy of office worker take-out lunches, has launched a new subscription service to try to offset the giant hole in sales as employees continue to work in their PJs home. £20 a month (the first month is free) gets you five drinks per day for the month. We can’t deny it’s a clever idea, but it did make us wonder just how much too much we’ve been paying for our coffee all this time…
Covid-19 isn’t over and those brands that can not only pivot, but positively cavort and contort as circumstances dictate, will be the ones that survive.
If you’re looking to switch up your game to meet the demands of the new world order, why not get in touch for a no-strings chat with the Brandality team.