Blog post
May 5, 2020

Isentia Conversations with Daniel Flynn from Thankyou.

In this session we chat to Daniel Flynn, the Co-founder and Managing Director of Thankyou, about producing hand wash in the middle of a pandemic! Daniel talks about staying true to the original ethos of your organisation while working in a crisis and coming through to the other side.

11:45 – The view we’re taking at Thankyou; these are interesting and important times. It’s important not to miss the good, the bad and the ugly that comes in a time like this. 

13:57 – We make consumer products and we commit 100% of our profits to water, health, food and sanitation projects. But the secret sauce of success for Thankyou is in the ‘how’. The journey of Thankyou has been a movement of people; the simple idea that if we each combine the little we have in our hands, together we can make a bigger impact.

14:35 – For 5 years, the major supermarkets in Australia had said no to Thankyou. Then one day we launched a video on YouTube and thousands of people began petitioning to the supermarkets. Two helicopter pilots, Peter and Geoff, donated their time to fly signs above the head offices of the two main supermarket chains and in record-breaking time, both said yes. Products hit the shelves, including our hand wash that has since become number one in the category. 

15:47 – Where we find ourselves with COVID-19 is really interesting. For Thankyou, it’s been quite confronting – the whole Thankyou journey rings true as to why we exist as an organisation. We have seen panic buying – resulting in the equivalent of 14 weeks of sales in a 2 week period. There’s even potential for 11 years of profit to happen within 3 months. It’s easy to say, this has been the most profitable period in the history of Thankyou. 

Although the term ‘profit’ can be seen as dirty during these times, we commit 100% of those profits to the world’s poorest, so we have some comfort using the term.

17:20 – It’s a harsh reality that the world’s poorest are those who will pay the most during this time. Although from a sales perspective we’ve achieved tremendous success, we’ve also experienced the toughest supplier chain environment in the history of the organisation. The situation was similar to the wild west – people were undercutting people and purely looking out for themselves. We had componentry issues, and problems with our local and global supply chain. This behaviour encouraged the team to go into a problem solving mode, similar to the first stages of Thankyou as a start-up. 

19:43 – As an organisation and leaders in the community, we need to mentally prepare for the potential length of this situation. We need to start thinking and planning forward. 

In the short term, the internal language should change back to that of a start-up. The rules have changed, the industry has changed, things that were known are now not and we’re all figuring out how to do things differently.

20:52 – At Thankyou we’re staying true to our brand, by continuing to give profits to local and global partners. We’re also leveraging our communities and our social media platforms. As an organisation, we are running with the idea of hope and for Thankyou, that’s a big part of staying true to our brand.

21:43 – Thankyou is a movement by people for people. The current situation has enabled us to go back to our roots and revisit our core values from a cultural, operational and marketing/communications perspective. By taking a look internally, you can reflect and have the courage to try new things. And that’s the good that can come from a really tough situation.

22:35 – Our world needs, light, hope and leadership and the world is looking to individuals and organisations to be more creative. Now more than ever, people are forgiving of failures. 

At Thankyou, we are having conversations about coming out on the other side of this, to not be conservative, to try new things and let go of the fear of failure. What does this look like?

It’s a bold concept but that’s where we have found ourselves.

If you would like to view other Webinar Isentia Conversations: Communicating through Change:

Isentia Conversations: with Katherine Newton at RU OK?

Isentia Conversations: with Bec Brown at The Comms Department

Isentia Conversations: with Rochelle Courtenay at Share the Dignity

Isentia Conversations: with Rachel Clements at Centre for Corporate Health

Isentia Conversations: with Helen McMurdo at MTV


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