Yorkshire Tea, PG Tips and ‘Unitea’
Most of us working in the communications industry will have read about the recent Tweet-fest that saw Yorkshire Tea politely, but clearly, shutdown a well-know vlogger when she was lauding the company for not coming out in support of Black Lives Matter protestors. She mistakenly took the brand’s early non-comment position as a lack of solidarity with the cause.
However, Yorkshire Tea quickly quashed this misinterpretation of where they stood. Letting her know that whilst a statement of support may not have been posted, the brand’s position was being considered and, like many other companies and individuals, the team behind the brand was taking time to inform themselves and consider their next steps.
I read this post and celebrated the elegant way Yorkshire Tea handled the situation on its Twitter feed, but it brought me even more joy when I saw that, within the hour, one of the company’s rivals, PG Tips, supported the stance and suggested that she not buy its brand either.
I realised that I was left feeling pride and admiration for my fellow comms colleagues, and when asking myself why, I realised it was on a number of levels. First and foremost, it had to be the stance taken against bigotry. I also appreciated that Yorkshire Tea had acknowledged the very essential step that many of us have to take in educating ourselves and our thinking on such an important matter. Finally, I took delight that rather than the competitor brand see an opportunity to gain market share by staying quiet, it actually spoke up in support – ‘solidaritea’ and ‘unitea’.
Whilst writing this I have read a number of opinions on whether it was a good approach, and whether such a small act should be given the attention it received – and this made me think too.
But then I realised, just this morning, my brother who works in the fitness industry had spoken with my other brother who works in the energy sector and my sister-in-law who works for a water company. And they had all spoken with my 14-year-old son, who discussed it with his class in a virtual lesson. And just yesterday, my team had discussed it in our morning catch-up. The trickle-down effect from this one post had reached a multitude of people just in my social sphere, and surely as professionals in the communications industry, this is our goal.
I still believe that the intention was true. The message was clear. And, most importantly, it sparked conversation. Conversations that we all need to be having as individuals and creators of brands that are relevant and worthy in the society we want to create.