It was good news for the United States and good news for Bubs Australia when President Joe Biden took to Twitter on May 28 to let his country know that 27.5 million bottles of infant formula made by the Australian company were on the way to the US.
I’ve got more good news: 27.5 million bottles of safe infant formula manufactured by Bubs Australia are coming to the United States.
We’re doing everything in our power to get more formula on shelves as soon as possible.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 27, 2022
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.You'll also receive messages on behalf of our partners. You can opt-out at any time.
Fast forward to Monday, May 30, and Bubs Australia had seen its market valuation surge by $115 million as its share price jumped on the Australian Securities Exchange.
This followed the relaxing of importation rules by the US Food and Drug Administration, making it easier for foreign manufacturers to sell baby formula in the US.
Bubs Australia clinched the deal, and will be exporting 1.25 million cans of baby formula to the US, helping ease an acute shortage triggered by the closure of an Abbott Laboratories manufacturing facility in Michigan.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Bubs Australia CEO and founder Kristy Carr said the company does not comment on changes in the company’s share price on the ASX, “it was a proud moment when the President of the United States Joe Biden announced on Twitter that Bubs Australia would be assisting to ease the shortage of infant formula in the US”.
This “unicorn tweet”, as Sally Branson Dalwood, communications expert and director of Sally Branson Consulting, notes was a “politically wise move” on the part of President Biden. Given the spate of domestic issues in the US, sending out a tweet that solves a problem as emotive as baby formula is good for Biden’s messaging.
But also, as Branson Dalwood notes, it was also a really powerful message for the Bubs Australia brand and brand Australia, too.
“Australian baby formula is marketed overseas as clean, healthy baby formula. This created the perfect PR storm. It’s a good deed, shared by a leader of the free world and it’s a big thing he tweeted about an Australian brand.”
But not many brands can expect to be as lucky as Bubs Australia. Very few people have the tweeting power of the POTUS and it’s very rare he would tweet about a brand, notes Branson Dalwood.
“It’s PR you can’t pay for, it’s dream PR,” she adds, noting that with the spate of issues parents are facing, the Bubs Australia tweet is a feel-good, emotive tweet that achieved so much in less than 280 characters.
With attention comes opportunities
It is precisely those 280 characters that Bubs Australia needs to take note of, says Phoebe Netto, founder and managing director of Pure Public Relations.
For President Biden, this was a way of demonstrating his effectiveness as a leader and turning around the perception that he wasn’t doing enough to solve the crisis. For Bubs Australia, Netto says that it all comes down to how well the brand can leverage this attention.
“It’s likely that this is more attention than they have the capacity to handle, and they could lose some great opportunities as a result,” Netto tells SmartCompany, adding that this is a time to anticipate questions and also misunderstandings a short tweet like President Biden’s can create.
Netto recommends the company should be updating its website and overcompensating with more information, anticipating possibilities like parents attempting to place orders directly from its website.
Netto also suggests the Bubs Australia team put on their marketing hats and look into how they can take this gift, educate the market and become more than the brand that shipped baby formula during a shortage.
“They need to speak to their customers [both locally and internationally], but also big stakeholders and show them they can sustain the growth. They don’t want to be a one hit wonder. It needs to be bigger than this moment and it needs to be a ladder up,” she says.