Posted by Phoebe Whittome, Sustainability Manager, Virgin Media
Brands we love: Brewdog
09 October 2020
As in-house sustainability professionals we spend a lot of time thinking about our internal programmes and where appropriate how these compare to what other brands are doing. This blog series is not about that.
We’ve ask each member of the sustainability team at Virgin Media to discuss another brand they’re loving right now, not as a benchmarking exercise, but simply highlighting other organisations doing brilliant work that they want to shout out.
This week Phoebe Whittome, one of our Sustainability Managers Head of Sustainability, discusses why BrewDog’s most recent sustainability report is worth talking about.
BrewDog is a just a brilliantly constructed brand. Their customer service is great (I’ve lugged enough of my boyfriend’s orders across the threshold to know how quickly they arrive) and they have maintained their brand substance, staying true to their original offering despite their operating scale, footprint and international revenue growing exponentially since 2007 when the business was established. BrewDog’s commitment to running a responsible business goes far beyond their environmental commitments (the thing that initially drew my attention), for example they’ve introduced a salary cap for new starters to create a strong internal talent development pipeline.
As the brand commonly associated with the mainstreaming of craft beer, their success is reflected in their growing retail footprint and their varied and evolving partnerships with small, independent breweries - providing the platform to brands (whose shoes they were in 13 years ago) and keeping that feeling of indy beer alive in bars and in delivery boxes alike.
Onto BrewDog’s latest annual sustainability report could double-up as the ‘how to guide’ to engaging consumers on taking environmental issues seriously. It balances clear references to ‘the science’ and the imperatives set out by intergovernmental bodies to which their sustainability programmes respond, with an accessible, comical and concise narrative explaining why their they are ‘owning their sh*t’ (their carbon) and what they’re doing about it. That is, they are, and commit to being carbon neutral from 2020 onwards, while everyone else is scrambling around to make a net zero commitment before 2030.
The report passes that old communications tests test - that you should be able to know which brand has produced the content if you open it on any page - and with great style. This includes the tongue in cheek, appropriation of the all too familiar Trump slogan on their title page, with one small adjustment…
Calling out those whose carbon reduction strategies are not ambitious enough by name and conflating beer consumption (their cans only of course) with the easy way to have positive environmental impact are further examples of this bold and brand-led approach to sustainability communications. And, it is this that makes the document both readable and genuinely engaging to the average consumer. The carbon reduction strategy is clear and the method of communication smacks you around the face with WE ARE BREWDOG. As simple as it is clever.
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