High streets are in hibernation. The government’s decision to put the UK in lockdown forced everyone from hairdressers and cobblers to nationwide restaurant chains into a state of paralysis. With their outlets closed, brands have woken up to a new world where they are no longer a part of consumers’ everyday lives.
Faced with this challenge, some have taken decisive action to keep consumers engaged, support their staff and reach out to the NHS frontline. Aside from the desire to make a difference during this time of trauma, marketers are aware that their brands need to exist in the minds of consumers so that, when the pandemic eventually ends, they will be able to snap back into action.
Pret served free hot drinks and half price food to 150,000 NHS workers prior to the onset of the lockdown. Rather than being a corporate initiative, the idea started with employees giving away free drinks at a Pret outlet near a London hospital and expanded from there.
“It was only right that we donated what we could to hospitals after we’d closed our doors,” says UK marketing director, Julia Monro.