Making the best of the weather
With the arrival of 'Emma and the Beast' and all the warnings and curfews that have come along with it, one thing that really struck me this week is how our uniquely Irish brand of humour and wit has really come to the fore during this freak of nature weather. Call me biased, but a good storm really seems to bring out the funny in us.
On Monday, social media went wild with images of empty bread aisles across Dublin, with panicked shoppers packing up their freezers lest they be left without a loaf during the biggest freeze since 1982. Even those of us who don't really eat bread started to panic - what would we do without bread?
Within what seemed like seconds after the images were posted, they were followed by bread themed memes appearing left, right and centre; Pat the Baker as a superhero (and a lovable villain), Brennan's Bread being delivered under armed guard and fake ads on Adverts.ie selling batch loaves at designer prices. There was also some real-life footage of a combi of bread being pilfered as it arrived on a shop floor - but, well, that's a different story.
Along with #beastfromtheeast and #sneachta, #bread and #breadwatch were trending on Twitter on Tuesday, and everyone started getting involved. Lidl posted pictures of staff loading up trays of bread, Costcutter put out a status red bread warning, Tayto reassured the nation that they'd make sure they had enough to go around and the guards even got involved.
While my main reaction to all of this was - 'God, we're great craic altogether', it did get me thinking about brand sentiment and how entrenched in Irish culture and mindset some of our favourite brands are. As the storm brought us together as a nation, by employing a quick wit and fast response, some brands just nailed it and became a natural part of the conversation - building their affinity and tapping into a special moment in time. It didn't feel cynical - it felt natural. It also drove home the importance of emotional connection for brands; building up more genuine customer relationships through more human behaviour. It's not rocket science, but it's sometimes the piece that gets forgotten, and more often than not, it's the difference between successful and unsuccessful brands.
At the end of the day, people buy into what they feel and very little else. Brands that get that, and invest in genuine relationships with their consumers, will succeed. It's not new news, but watching breadgate unfold online reminded me of how important it really is. And it's brilliant to see so many great brands in Ireland being 'real' and getting involved in what feels like an authentic way.
Here are some of my favourites from this week.
Roisín Ní Raighne is Planning and Insights
Director of Dynamo