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What's Your Brand's 2020 Story?

“We live in unprecedented times.” - Everyone, 2020

The social and health impacts of 2020 have rocked many businesses to their core, transforming how they view and approach the foundations they are built on.

Though some businesses are struggling to navigate this environment, at Broad Street, we’ve observed many businesses and brands using these tough times as a platform for transformation – including adapting to new social norms and systems; driving innovations in safer conditions for employees and customers; and adjusting operating models in novel ways to fill market gaps, drive revenue, keep staff on board or generate community goodwill.

We’ve been fascinated by one case study: the hand sanitizer industry. As a parent, I’ve been a fan of the stuff for some time – it’s a lot easier to slather a five-year-old in it than to get her to actually wash her hands thoroughly. In 2020, hand sanitizer has gone from a readily available commodity to hard-to-get must-have for daily life.

For producers, this run sounds like a boon. However, it’s not a matter of just making more: producers need the supply chain in place for raw materials, the capacity and infrastructure for production, and of course, the people to manage the process. Complicating it all is how to keep employees safe. While the major players were figuring all of that out, the supply gap began to be filled by an unlikely source: craft distilleries. They had the raw materials on hand (high-alcohol distilling byproducts are perfect for hand sanitizer), small-scale production capacity, and employees with the drive to assist in a time of need.

In the city we call home, a small distiller built on their local foundation by producing hand sanitizer for use in our community. As they began to reopen, business picked up, the tables have filled up (socially distanced), and they look as busy as ever. They’ve added a stage for music, an outdoor “garden” to allow for proper distancing and partnered with local restaurants to offer take out. The brand has come out stronger by simply focusing on their foundation of being true to local citizens – from taking care of them in a time of need to adjusting their operating model to keep them safe when business came back.

Businesses of all sizes, across industries, are facing similar hurdles and a need to adapt their foundation. As we move into the future, it will take more than a sign on the door to get that done. Organizations must develop the right plan and operating principles now to position their brand for success as we enter into the new normal. This may require an analysis of their current brand foundation and business model or simply a competitive review.

It’s more important than ever to evaluate your brand’s foundation and determine if you need to adapt to thrive. There are a number of simple exercises that can quickly help evaluate how your brand or company is faring today and how you’re positioned for the future.


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