60 seconds with…Anna O'Riordan, Sales & Marketing Director - Maggie & Rose HQ

What has been the most successful marketing platform you have used throughout COVID to communicate with your customers?

Lockdown presented an opportunity to strengthen relationships with our existing community while building awareness with new prospects.

Like most brands and businesses, we relied heavily on our digital channels serving content that added value (such as digital classes and crafts) and captured the mood and needs of our audience (features around parenting or Early Years education). We've seen fantastic growth in engagement across our email, social and website channels.

How have you stayed ahead of your competition?

What new innovations have you delivered in the last 6 months and how have you promoted them? 

With clubhouses based in mainland China and Hong Kong, we were perhaps already one step ahead with the Corona-crisis! 

Keeping in touch and supporting families during lockdown was key to retaining loyalty and interest in our brand. Within one week of lockdown we had already pivoted the business to a digital offer - launching a new hub ‘Maggie & Rose Life’ (maggieandrose.me) which provides access to an extensive library of our signature creative classes, crafts, activities expert advice and editorial features around parenting and family lifestyle (offered free of charge to support all families, whether or not Maggie & Rose members), alongside an online shop where you can purchase Maggie & Rose craft kits, materials and even virtual birthday parties.

Our digital platforms immediately gained traction beyond our existing community, broadening our footprint beyond our physical spaces – so much so that we continue to develop our digital offer even though our clubhouses and nurseries have reopened.

We’ve also innovated within the physical business since reopening in September - from introducing a range of non-contact pop-up activities to keep families engaged while Covid safety measures remain in place within the clubhouse, to implementing new contactless ordering systems in our brasseries.

 What changes have you seen in customer behaviour?

Clearly there was an immediate drop in web search for many of the physical services we offered during the lockdown itself, but we saw a strong return of our community, firstly to our nurseries in June, then to our clubhouses in September – with new enquiries across our core business now actually ahead of the same period last year. 

The major change we’ve seen from our parent and member community has been the understandable increased need for reassurance, whether as an existing member of our clubhouses and nurseries - or seeking to join us, with the continued uncertainty of a Covid landscape and lockdowns looming. Against this backdrop, Families are planning for shorter periods ahead, or even postponing decisions altogether.

Being transparent with our community and delivering value through customer experience has never been more important, and our teams are working harder than ever to ensure we are addressing the needs of our families and providing a safe and inspiring haven where they are able to fully enjoy precious time together.

What do you expect the main challenges to be in next 6 months and how will you have to adapt your marketing strategy?

With the Covid landscape set to stay for at least the next six months, navigating low consumer confidence and the likelihood of further temporary closures will be one of our biggest challenges from a marketing perspective.

As an experience-led business, referral and recommendation has always been key but harnessing that advocacy is more important than ever to rebuild consumer confidence and drive growth. Adapting our services to deliver on our families’ needs and further leveraging our brand as a trusted pair of hands and thought leader will continue to be core to our communications as well as the customer experience we provide.

One positive you take away from this year and hopes for the future? 

I’ve found many silver linings to this very grey cloud of a year - from a chance to explore new channels and marketing approaches, to increasing the solidarity of our team. Perhaps the key takeaway for me is that this year’s ‘pause’ has enabled many to reassess their priorities and what they value in life, and there is a renewed sense of togetherness and enthusiasm for the local community which can only be good – for business and society as a whole!


Date Published: 6th October 2020