Case study:

COVID-19 response

Context and challenge

Emplas is one of the UK’s largest window and door manufacturers. It works across multiple markets including trade, new build, commercial and social sectors, and has developed a reputation for leadership and innovation.

When the UK went into Lockdown in March 2019, it was faced with a significant challenge. Within two weeks of the Government’s initial announcement, commercial projects came back online, creating supply demand.

At the same time, much of the trade shut down. There was also a concerted campaign by many of its competitors that the window and door supply chain should remain closed for business.

This was at a time when advice from Government was that manufacturing businesses should keep going.

An added element was increasing demand for home improvements, which gave rise to exponential growth throughout 2020 and significant pressure on the supply chain by the summer.

We needed to come back to work to support our commercial partners at a time when most of our sector was shut down. This created a requirement to clearly communicate why we were coming back, how we were doing so safely, and to support our own trade customers in understanding what they could and couldn’t do at a time when confusion was rife. Lasco were critical in supporting us in doing that.

Ryan Johnson,Managing Director, Emplas

Our approach

Working alongside Emplas’ sales and marketing team, we scenario-planned for the short-to-medium term, developing a strategic framework, but approaching its delivery with a high degree of agility, to reflect a rapidly moving operational environment.

This included an assessment of economic projections for the UK and the realities of Government policy, as well as industry specific challenges.

With a series of projections in our back pocket and armed with a detailed analysis of COVID-19 restrictions, we developed a staged plan; reality checking external drivers at each stage of delivery, before progressing to the next:


Above all else, we needed to communicate the extensive controls and new operational procedures that Emplas had put in place to minimise risk to its employees, customers and suppliers.

This gave us a foundation to build understanding as to why Emplas had resumed operations – including communicating demand from its commercial customers.

Taking care, to avoid placing pressure on customers to ‘come back’, we highlighted and shared the story of Emplas’ own retail business, also sharing the tools it had put in place with other installation companies.

We tracked Government policy and guidance so that when it published new guidance for working in people’s homes at the start of May, we were the first onto it and to provide an analysis in an easy-to-understand format of how it applied to window and door installers.

With demand rocketing throughout 2020, we delivered regular communications throughout the year on how Emplas had adopted a highly innovative approach to manage industry-wide challenges within the supply chain.

Channel strategy

Lasco developed a multi-channel strategy, built around Emplas’ digital presence.

Although continuing to communicate through specialist media, the pace at which COVID evolved, meant that we need additional agility, making Emplas direct channels including social media, e-shots and its website, primary channels of communication.

We also utilised multiple content formats including video and editorial channels. It was agreed that these should be fronted by Emplas MD, Ryan Johnson, as someone with a pre-existing leadership position.

This also included hosting a series of digital roundtable events, the first time the format had been used in the industry. Involving the entire supply chain from systems companies to installers it brought different tiers from within the industry together on the same stage to discuss common challenges.

These were edited down to short-format video packages and shared across social platforms as well as being issued to industry media.

We also ran a dedicated social campaign using the hashtag #SafePhasedReturn, to emphasise that in coming back in incremental steps, Emplas was able to put in controls that minimised risk to its employees, customers and suppliers.

This achieved significant traction, Emplas building its already substantial follower base by 335% in April, with 21.2K post impressions.

As the year progressed, we also introduced a new digital customer newsletter, providing regular updates on legislation, to how Emplas was working with its supply partners to meet demand.

During this period, we also supported Emplas’ internal communications programme

Increase in new followers
Increase in unique visitors
Increase in impressions

The client’s assessment

“Communication has always been key but it assumed business-critical importance during COVID-19. We took a decision to be very open and transparent in how we were responding to COVID-19 and what we were doing – even when we were facing some fairly difficult challenges in relation to supply. And that has paid dividends for us. We not only consolidated our customer base but won new business throughout 2020 because we were open about what we were doing and were seen as providing a solution”

Ryan Johnson,Managing Director, Emplas

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