The Transition to a Truly Sustainable Business

Businesses are constantly coming under increasing pressure that continues to challenge their very existence, so it’s easy to appreciate that issues which arise during the course of any given working day will invariably outweigh the opportunities of tomorrow. Pressures that come from regulation, local government controls, competition, consumers, lobbying groups and even a firm’s own employees, make running a business today a highly complex activity. These pressures combine to apply further pressure on the goods and services offered and the prices charged. But businesses that have the capacity to place themselves at the centre of their environmental and societal obligations, can use this aspect to manage the impact of their activities and ultimately drive cost benefits to the bottom line … Read More >

To Charge or Not to Charge?

20th century social thinker & philanthropist

We live and work in an age where competition for market space has never been greater, so whether you’re selling coffee or cars it’s inevitable that most businesses feel compelled to provide schemes such as, ‘try before you buy’, ‘buy now pay later’ and ‘interest free’ offers. These schemes may be particularly relevant if you are trying to leverage your product amongst a wider group of consumers (such as those mentioned), but I’ve begun to notice that these initiatives are becoming more prevalent in the area of consulting too, and not just amongst the new entrants desperate for a piece of the sector. I accept that any business regardless of size may want to do adopt a range of initiatives … Read More >

‘Revving-up’ Customer Engagement in the Automotive Sector (Event)

Revving-up Customer Engagement

According to internationally acclaimed journal Automotive News, the automotive sector accounts for 20% of the World’s largest 100 advertising companies with an ad spend of approx. $47bn, and included seven automotive manufacturers within the World’s Top 25 advertisers in 2015. This resultant expenditure highlights just how much manufacturers needed to spend in order to compete for a share of the 88 million vehicles sold the following year (Source: PwC). Volkswagen spent $6.6bn and was the largest ad spender but they still failed to appear in the Top 10 automotive manufacturers on brand value after the emissions scandal hit the news in 2015. So, we can’t underestimate the importance of automotive marketing to the consumer which will be the subject of … Read More >

Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

I remember a few short years ago coming across several businesses who told me about the problems they encountered when offering internships, or student work experience as it was known then. They complained about everything the students did; how they didn’t dress appropriately, that they didn’t speak to customers properly, that their time keeping was poor, pretty much everything in fact. At the time I remember thinking that my sympathies were with the employer, after all, here are a handful of business owners who are trying desperately to promote their businesses during challenging times and now they have this to cope with? But several years later I’m fairly sure that the majority of these failures lay at their door. Over the … Read More >

Brand Confusion?

What is a brand? A fairly straightforward question but with many struggling to define it accurately it seemed worthy of a a short definition from someone who spends a lot of time progressing businesses from companies to brands. A brand is ultimately the message (tangible, intangible or both) that you want to convey to your customers and your staff. You hope to do this through the actions you take, the products you sell and the manner in which you sell them.  So why do many struggle…? Let’s take the case of a shopper who comes into your store to purchase garments for a specific use such as an outdoor adventure trip in a warm climate. They want these to be hardwearing, … Read More >

Assessing your use of marketing – Part Two (Oct)

Small Businesses - don't leave it too late to ask for help

In the first part of this two-part blog we looked at why marketing had such a poor perception in many businesses. So in the second part it’s time for us to take a look at what can be done to change that perception.  I recall reading an article written in the US in November 2014, that discussed how marketing had appeared to less accountable than some of its counterparts for decades and that as a result, CEO’s were looking elsewhere within their businesses when it came to promotion of senior exec’s. I believe this is because many corporate level marketers fail to ‘join up the dots’ and bring the need for marketing to have a close association and involvement in … Read More >

The ‘Training’ Winner Takes It All

In March 2015, we exhibited at the Business & Trade Expo organised by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and like any good exhibition attendee we needed a particularly appealing and somewhat different prize draw from the usual Apple iPad’s and special introductory offers and thankfully we didn’t need to think too long or hard about our choice. As a strategic marketing consultancy we look at a wide range of issues that will affect the promotion of your business, in fact everything from your branding and the markets you serve to the way you engage them through your external communications and support them through internal teams.  This last one is often overlooked, but is often the most critical because it … Read More >

Marketing’s changing…it’s no longer the office ‘Mistress’

Marketing as a discipline is changing and changing fast. It’s something myself and those of my peers who operate as Chartered Marketers, Fellows  or CMO’s (Chief Marketing Officers) have known for some time and have indeed been responsible for driving it.  Why has this happened? Well several decades ago finance was the sole heart of a business, the necessity, but also for many a tiresome discipline in a corporate world of mundane challenges. Marketing and advertising however gave company directors and brand teams the chance to critique and evaluate the latest creative propositions at the offices of their retained creative agencies. They were ephemeral and therefore fresh and exciting, as disciplines go, the ‘mistress’ that would enable brand teams ‘time away … Read More >

The Have’s and Have Yachts

In last month’s blog we discussed the word ‘luxury’ and how, in an interior designer forum, it was proposed that the word was reclaimed for the profession. Perhaps for those working at the pinnacle of the interior designer profession, it’s possible you might feel the word ‘luxury’ had been used to excess. In the forum I also introduced the term ‘Veblen goods’ as another means of considering ultimate luxury. The name comes from the work conducted by American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen (1857 – 1929). Veblen’s work discusses why certain goods become more rather than less attractive to some consumers the higher the price they command. Veblen, an American of Norwegian descent, came from a very humble Norwegian speaking … Read More >

Has the marketing profession devalued the word ‘luxury’?

We work daily with a number of designer manufacturers who provide exclusive bespoke products into the stunning homes and palaces of the rich and famous. Their clients’ sectors are very broad, sometimes direct and sometimes through agents such as main building contractors, architectural practices and interior designers. Recently, in an interior designer web forum, one member asked the question ‘What is luxury’ and whether the word could be ‘reclaimed’ for the ID profession. One of the responders to the question, a bespoke interior product manufacturer himself, felt the word ’luxury’ had been denigrated by advertisers who used it in marketing parlance too frivolously (saying) “everything can be “luxury” these days, from teabags to dog blankets”.  So as a practice that … Read More >