I haven’t just fallen in love with these brands, I have unexpectedly fallen in love with them. Honestly, I never thought I would see the day.

The lockdowns (all three of them) have changed everything. Our lives, our perspectives, our interests and the things we are grateful for.

And throughout this past year, some brands have leapt up in our estimations, pivoting (I had to get it in) to fill a gap in the market and delivering over and above in difficult times. Others have really let themselves down, using the pandemic as an excuse, and possibly suffering long term reputational damage and lost customers as a result.

The brands that stand out are ones that offer quality products or services, are authentic and offer customers a fabulous experience.

I’m sure there are many. But these are my top three.

  1. Domino’s Pizza

Before lockdown life, we never really ordered takeaways. It’s just something we didn’t get into as I love cooking and if we’re spending money on someone else making it, I’d rather eat out and make it an occasion with friends. In fact, through lockdown mark 1, we didn’t get a takeaway either as we were on a health crusade (see brand no. 3), so our discovery of Domino’s didn’t happen until lockdown 2 and my daughter’s 11th birthday. Her favourite food – pizza. Her favourite activity – board games. So we decided to bite the bullet and order pizzas for a treat to cope with an evening of playing Monopoly. Well the pizzas were pretty good, the cookies super-delicious, but the best part about it all was the app.

How clever are they? Creating an app where you can see your order progress from order to being made up, to going in the oven, to leaving the kitchen, through to the ding dong of your doorbell.

And when you press on the pizza face to check on progress (which the kids will do, over and over again) it says things like ‘oi, pick on someone your own size’. They’ve worked out how to make the simple process of delivering a pizza fun and engaging. I swear the girls love checking the app as much as they do eating the pizza itself.

  1. Ravensburger Jigsaw Puzzles

Now this one, I really never thought would happen. My daughter has always loved jigsaws, but I previously found them a big snore. Then I bought her a 1000-piece Christmas one and we decided to do it as a family. Before we knew it, doing the puzzle was a nightly activity where Hubby and I would end up sitting and progressing the puzzle until our eyeballs were falling out of our heads. We failed to complete it before Christmas Day sadly but did so by New Years Eve. New Year’s Day I cracked open another one I had bought my daughter of a skating scene.

And now, I’m seriously addicted. Jigsaws are frustrating but addictive at the same time, and time absolutely flies by when I’m engrossed in one.

The reason I love Ravensburger so much is the quality. Stunning pictures, tranquil scenes, vibrant colours and nice firm pieces (what has happened to me?). I’ve now ordered a beautiful beach hut 1000-piecer, and a sweetie shop 500 for a bit of light relief.

The language on the Ravensburger website is twee and lovely, talking about ‘splendid colours’, ‘mindful moments’ and ‘steam of yesteryear’.

It’s all a bit quaint and Enid Blyton. There’s something cosy, heart-warming and reassuring about their brand which feels like a snuggle with a cup of hot cocoa by an open fire.

  1. Joe Wicks

And last but not least, the PE teacher of the Nation, local Epsom lad, Joe Wicks. I’m generally not a celebrity ‘follower’ or frankly have any interest at all in most ‘celebrities’. However, following Joe Wicks since the beginning of this nightmare has made me a fan.

I love his natural style. I (sort of) love his workouts. I love his videos and podcasts. I love his cookbooks. But most of all I love his genuine commitment and care for the mental health of the nation.

He is a successful businessman but often seems so humbled and almost guilty about what he has achieved. But he has no reason to, because he built his brand on wanting to help people get fitter and he’s done exactly that.

Yes, he’s made money through this pandemic, but he’s also given a huge amount for free and inspired and supported a lot of people, as you can see from his follower-base.

 

The thing about these brands is they don’t feel like a fly-by-night for me, something to ditch as soon as normal life returns. Between offering fun, great quality and authenticity, all three of them probably have me hooked for the long term.

And yes I do realise the irony of putting Domino’s Pizza and Joe Wicks in the same article. But then, if you eat the pizza, you need the Joe Wicks!

So there are my three surprising lockdown brands, what are yours?

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