Stumped by Storm Alex. 

Published on: 10/8/20 9:12 AM


As you can see from the picture, tragically and suddenly in the recent Storm Alex, my gargantuan home-grown sunflowers did not survive. Though my grief is still quite raw, I must admit that they’ve served me well over the last 6 months. Well, in comparison to most of my gardening faux pas.

In fact, I’m actually very proud of them. Those beautiful sunflowers, during their time with me, albeit brief, were the crowning jewel of my little garden. For anyone that knows me, I am no Monty Don. Sure, I may have killed a cactus… but I’m putting it down to looking after it a little too meticulously.

So, when 16 sunflower seeds arrived in the post at the beginning of lockdown, in what I could only compare to the reaction of Jack’s Mother upon his return with 5 magic beans, I was filled with dread and, quite frankly, irritation. Why would a good friend be setting me up for failure? I scoffed at the idea! But, when my two teenage sons proceeded to mock me, to doubt the grassy tone of my thumb – nothing had ever filled me with such determination.

 In a slightly more encouraging development, I’d learnt that 3 of my friends across the country had also received these seeds, with the same lovely message – ‘good luck and thinking of you’. So, we set up a WhatsApp group, aptly named Lock Down Sunflowers, and planted our seeds in unison. It was going so well until the recent storm sadly ended our journey. We posted, we competed – some might say there was a bit of cheating, but sunflower snitches get stitches – we measured and we celebrated those pockets of sunshine blooming in our gardens, until we finally got to meet back up a few weeks ago.

Looking back now, I realise that this ‘exercise’ I’d dreaded had driven us to stay in touch, to stay positive, to encourage each other and laugh through what was a tough few months for Lock Down Sunflowers in lots of different ways.

As we say here at MuddyWellies – small changes, big impact – and this envelope with kitchen-roll-wrapped sunflower seeds was exactly that.

Turning those seeds into 3ft tall plants, with some care and nurturing, got me thinking about the employee and customer experiences and how sometimes the smallest gestures can make a huge impact. If the roots of your brand and culture are strong, you might just need a little watering to help them flourish again.

Hold on, I’ve got another metaphor… So, you’ve got a robust, reliable pair of wellies, but you need to keep them clean and shiny. Where do we start?

We shouldn’t be afraid to create non role-related experiences with our employees. It will help bring teams and departments together that are currently either completely remote, working in phased office times or on a rota. It really can be as simple as sending your people some seeds in the post.

We shouldn’t be afraid to get just as personal with customers too – that chemistry and connection can be the differentiator needed in a crowded and competitive sector. Plant your culture in the outside world. Keep telling your story and create a brand that resonates with your team, as well as your customers.

It’s a creative way to think, reinforcing company values and culture through your brand experience. But that’s what MuddyWellies is all about – we’re committed, curious and creative when it comes to blending your brand and people. So, if you want our expert advice on how to grow much more than just your sunflowers, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We champion the extraordinary power of building the same narrative for both customers and employees. We’ve got our boots on and we’re ready to help businesses big and small make a splash.

This time, it won’t be sunflower seeds that you receive in the post from me, but I am hearing lots about microgreens at the moment. And yes, you can grow them from seed… on a window sill and in the winter! Who’s up for it?