Monday 23rd March 2020 was a pretty significant day for two reasons. First of all, it was the day that the British government announced a full lockdown in order to flatten the alarmingly un-flat curve of coronavirus spread. And secondly, (though perhaps not so significantly for the rest of you), it was also the first day of my new job, as Brixton’s Brand Marketing Manager. Ah, timing!
As a long-time from-afar Brixton Brewery fan, I am so excited to be joining the family. And it must be said that I am also grateful to be embarking on a job that I can feasibly do from the comfort of my living room, to give me some purpose during this strange time. I know that many others, particularly in the drinks & hospitality industry are not so fortunate. So this is not a sob story by any means, but starting a new job in a lockdown… it’s definitely been weird.
Fortunately we had the foresight to predict that this might happen so the week before I was due to start I went to the brewery to pick up a new laptop, make a few cursory introductions (from a safe distance!) and of course, take home as much beer as I could carry.
But so many of the usual things that you’d do when you start a job simply aren’t possible when you aren’t allowed to leave your house. No welcome lunch with the team, no opportunity to shadow colleagues and learn more about their roles, no chance even to sit quietly in an office, pretending to be reading old powerpoint decks whilst actually eavesdropping on the chatter going on around you, soaking it all in to get a feel for the vibe of the place and the people. This stuff might sound trivial, but as a marketeer I’ve always found that it’s all these tangible and intangible somethings that reveal the magic behind a brand you’re getting to know.
Thank goodness for virtual meetings! I’m so grateful that we live in a time when, despite being confined to our own homes, I can at least still let the faces of my new colleagues into my living room, to pick their brains and start piecing things together. We even had a virtual pint together on Friday! The stuttering pictures and dodgy audio are all worth it: slowly but surely, I’m going to get to know everyone.
And there are some positives: events are cancelled, bars are closed – (which sucks of course!) but it also means that there is more time than usual for thinking, researching and planning ahead. With everyone working from home, social media use is through the roof, so this is the perfect time to build community online. And as for the community of Brixton, I might not be able to pop over and say hi, but so many people are doing so much to look out for their friends, neighbours and those in need. It’s a source pride to be a part of this now, and to be able help the brewery continue to play its part. I’ll also be spending my time telling you more about this amazing place we get to call home and the fantastic beers that are inspired by Brixton. So stay tuned!
There’s no doubt that this is going to be a long road and there is plenty of uncertainty about what lies ahead, but I’d truly rather be here than anywhere else right now. And my goodness am I going to enjoy that first IRL pint with the team when the time finally comes!