ALM: “As strong if not stronger post-COVID-19”

28 May, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

Image taken at the 2019 IBA Trade Workshop on the Gold Coast

In his first year as CEO of Australian Liquor Marketers (ALM), Chris Baddock has faced the Black Summer of bushfires and now a global pandemic. But he has nothing but praise for the way his team and the wider Metcash leadership group has handled the crisis and are together working towards being stronger on the other side.

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“You can definitely say that there’s been no playbook for this first 10 months, particularly the last four months,” Baddock told National Liquor News. “In my first year I’ve had bushfires and now a pandemic.

“Metcash has proven their worth culturally in regards to the way that we’ve communicated across the team and how the group leadership team has come together.”

Baddock says that the main focus at ALM is first and foremost the safety of their people as well as how quickly and safely the on-premise can reopen.

But beyond that, it’s about supply and it’s about making sure that they are “as strong if not stronger post-COVID-19”.

“Myself, the group leadership team in Metcash and the leadership team in ALM are already lending an ear to what do we do post-COVID; what do we bring to the fore; how do we ensure that e-commerce is not just a flash in the pan and that we make it even better.

“We need to understand that if the consumer is going to change their habits, that we’re ready to do that. We think value is going to be an important proposition for consumers moving forward, so the way that we buy and the penetration of private label and the way that our BDMs service the marketplace is going to be critical.

“We’re in a changed world and that change in many cases will stay as change. Human nature is to avoid change and to try and go back to what we used to do, and I’ve got a feeling that if organisations try to do that then they’ll go backwards. So we have to face into the new normal and take advantage of it otherwise we’ll fall backwards.”

Baddock reiterates ALM’s mantra of the three P’s – purpose, passion and partnership.

“The day I started I thought this business had amazing opportunity. Ten months on I think it’s got even more opportunity.

“I think the independents are a wonderful channel to be able to service the customer. We talk about the three P’s in this business, our purpose, passion and partnership.

“Our purpose is championing successful independents. Our passion is that they’re bloody worth fighting for. But the last P is critical and that is that suppliers, retailers and we have to do it in equal partnership.

“But the opportunities can’t be brought to the fore without us all doing the heavy lifting and it won’t be done for us by luck, chance or magic. We have to do this together and we have to make decisions together to make our retail proposition the right proposition for the consumer.”

The June issue of National Liquor News will include more from Chris Baddock along with interviews with Liquor Marketing Group, Liquor Barons, Liquor Legends, Independent Liquor Group and Independent Liquor Retailers.