An employer brand masterstroke from an expensive blunder

Let’s raise a glass to Hawksmoor Manchester for turning an expensive blunder into a nimble employer branding success. On Thursday the restaurant confirmed on twitter that a member of staff had inadvertently given some customers a £4,500 bottle of Château le Pin Pomerol 2001 the previous evening instead of the £260 bottle they ordered.

“What – draw attention to a costly mistake? Publicly embarrass an employee?” might have been the cry from some overly risk-averse PR folk. But throwing caution to the wind, Hawksmoor drew attention to the incident, tweeting that it hoped the customers enjoyed their evening and telling the member of staff to keep their “chin up” as “one-off mistakes happen and we love you anyway.”

The result was not only a barrage of positive social media coverage and engagement but widespread coverage of their response in the national media within hours.

What does this achieve?

General brand awareness – yes.

Awareness that the restaurant sells very nice wine – certainly.

More positive sentiment towards the brand due to the likeable, light-hearted and kind response – absolutely.

But what is unusually good about this response is that over and above its consumer brand, Hawksmoor’s response clearly showcases its employer brand by demonstrating that its people are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them; that it supports its employees.

The restaurant clearly takes a lot of care over its credentials as an employer, having just been named in The Caterer’s Best Places to Work in Hospitality list released earlier this week.

But this nimble response also shows that its social communications are, in this instance at least, closely aligned with its employer brand, and that a little bit of opportunism can go a long way in showcasing a company’s corporate brand credentials as well as its consumer ones.

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