Energy and Green
Green brand specialist Viridi well placed as homeworkers' market eyes Christmas growth
If you are a boss and wondering whether that hard-won team identify and company ethos years in the making is dissolving in the modern home-working environment you are not alone.
As ever, some clever types see the business opportunity in such spaces and are already moving in to exploit (in a nice way, of course) what they see as a potentially lucrative market - like Cheltenham-based Viridi Brands.
When sector expert Paul Drabble took the lead at a recent Randall & Payne food and drink webinar with Will Abbott (see a link to a full report below), he talked about the impact on the sector of the new home working consumer – but also of those opportunities some were seeing.
“There is a complete change of consumer journey taking place and a big focus on how consumers make their decisions,” he said.
With few big traditional Christmas parties being planned this year, for reasons of safe social distancing, some are offering the idea of agift or gift box for staff or valued customers which supports Gloucestershire businesses at the same time. The feel-good factor is obvious.
“The consumer gifting market is worth more than £3.3 million and there are 29 gifting occasions a year – and Christmas is fast approaching,” said Mr Drabble, an entrepreneur, author and founder of CBG Ltd.
But, going back to the original dilemma -how best to make staff feel part of the business and well-thought of at the same time while also resonating to anyone and everyone just what a great caring business you run?
Ethical, environmentally friendly giftssourced from a county company for your homeworking staff could do it.
It will be music to the ears of the local enterprise partnership, GFirst LEP, which has been pushing its Think Gloucestershire campaign.
“It is a simple idea, but benefits a business not just in terms of how they are perceived by their staff – but how they are perceived by their customers,” said Nicole Archer, who quietly launched Gloucestershire-based Viridi Brands last year, which sources and supplies a seemingly endless range of environmentally friendly, ethical products.
It has amassed a catalogue of more than 1,000 products - all with impeccable environmental credentials.
It was set up to capitalise on the growing trend towards environmentally friendly products, but now finds itself pivoting as businesses turn to it for ideas and demand is growing.
Customers have already included the likes of Gloucester Rugby.
“At last year’s GFirst LEP annual conference the traditional goody bags were absent, because of the pressures around waste, particularly unnecessary plastic products,” said Ms Archer.
“It was a strong message, but businesses are starting to move back into that space now and realise gifting can still take place, can still spread the feel-good factor, can support local brands and businesses, and importantly – be environmentally friendly.”
In very practical terms, she is also supplying branded stationary – environmentally friendly, bio-degradable, you name it, to give some identity to those home-working desks – and sees more potential.
She added: “As Christmas approaches people are not going to be able to have the parties they usually have, but companies will still want to acknowledge their staff and possibly treat them instead.
“If you can send them a custom gift – perhaps from one of Gloucestershire’s many great producers, like Siblings Gin? It speaks volumes. Your staff will appreciate it, and you willbe supporting a county business at the same time.”
Back to Mr Drabble - the home-worker, he said, had become a focus for food and drink firms delivering breakfast, packed lunches and other supplies.
As for being environmentally friendly. It is an issue that simply will not go away until we change our ways, awareness among staff is rising and businessesare seen as key levers by Government to make change happen.
In 2019 the UK was the first economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming and bring all greenhouse emissions down to net zero by 2050.
An increasingly educated and savvy workforce means employees increasingly want to work for companies who are ‘doing the right thing’. Fifty-two per cent of employed adults feel that their companies should be more environmentally aware.
And what bodes well for the likes of Viridi is almost half of UK companies are planning to increase their environment-related spending between now and the summer 2021.
A HSBC Made for the Future Report which surveyed 2,500 organisations claims 69 per cent intend to focus their budgets on making manufacturing more sustainable, 66 per cent on improving internal practices and 63 per cent on updating buildings and equipment.
According to The Natural Marketing Institute consumers are 58 per cent more likely to buy a company’s products or services when they know the organisation pays attention to its impact on society and the environment. And consumers will spend up to 20 per cent more on environmentally sound products and services.
To read more about the Randall & Payne seminar and see a video of the webinar click: 'Analyse, adapt and act' - the key ingredients for success in the food and drink sector.