What Can You Learn From Purell?

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Women's hands using wash hand sanitizer gel pump dispenser.

How a Hand Sanitizer Shortage Can Impact Your Credit Union

In news that probably comes as no surprise to anyone, there appears to be a national shortage of Purell®.

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported that the popular hand sanitizer has been flying off the shelves at stores and pharmacies across the country. To date, the product’s parent company, GOJO Industries, Inc., hasn’t provided a timeline for when the Purell supply might return to normal. But Samantha Williams, GOJO’s corporate communications senior director, told the Inquirer, “We have a surge preparedness team that runs in the background all the time, who have been fully activated and are coordinating our response to the increase in demand.”

While it’s currently due to increased concerns about the coronavirus, Purell’s high demand actually stems from unconventional business strategies implemented in the brand’s early days. Sure, Purell is a household name now, but when GOJO launched the sanitizer back in 1988, the public response was far less enthusiastic. The fact that Purell is still around—let alone in historically high demand—speaks volumes about the hard work and dedication of those who believed in its potential.

Whether you’re the CEO of a credit union, the manager of a branch, or a leader in any capacity, Purell’s story demonstrates three key traits that you can apply to your leadership:

  1. Persistence
    In 1988, nobody knew what hand sanitizer was. It wasn’t soap. It didn’t rinse off. In short, it was practically impossible to sell. That being said, GOJO’s CEO Joe Kanfer was confident they were onto something, so he made it 25 percent of his sales team’s annual goal. Success didn’t come quickly, but today’s market demand (even before the coronavirus concerns) proves that Kanfer’s confidence was well-placed.
  2. Placement
    Next time you visit a store, pay attention to where you find Purell. (Although, with the current shortage in mind, you may have to wait a bit.) There’s a good chance you’ll find automatic dispensers near the entrances and the exits. If you’re in a medical office, you’ll probably see Purell stations strategically placed where doctors, nurses, and support staff can access them easily. No matter what business you’re in, it pays to customize your product placement and meet your customers wherever they are.
  3. Patience
    Believe it or not, 1988 was 32 years ago! While Purell has become so familiar that it’s almost synonymous with the term “hand sanitizer,” it took a while to catch on. But despite initial reluctance from the general public, it’s important to remember that through patience and persistence, GOJO salespeople created a massive shift in the health habits of millions of people around the world.

When it comes to a product launch or marketing, I often see leaders adopt an “I want success now” attitude. I call this approach “cocaine advertising.” Keep taking hits and spending more money to be successful, and then when you stop for a moment, it all comes crumbling down. Purell’s story is a perfect encapsulation of a mantra worth remembering: There’s no such thing as an overnight success.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
 
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
 
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche

Copywriter

Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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