New Business Live Conference

I’m speaking at a conference tomorrow (29th jan) at Nottingham’s Trent FM Arena.

It’s called New Business Live and is designed to help new businesses, entrepreneurs and other small businesses to be inspired and improve what they do.

I’ll be talking about branding (surprisingly!!) and how to build a brilliant brand from scratch – even if you are on a very tight budget.

There’s some good speakers overall. Have a look here

Have a look and if its not too late, why not come along and heckle. I seem to have a bit of a graveyard slot and if anyone sits through a talk about legal aspects of setting a franchise up then hopefully my subject area should be a bit more light hearted.

Hope to see you there. I’ll be Twittering for much of the day about what the speakers are like, so have a look here if you’re interested.




You don’t decide – your customers do

For years, we have been saying that it is not you that decides whether your brand is any good, it’s your customers.

That may seem like a bold or even an odd claim, but the growth of feedback websites is proving it.

We are just starting to work with one of the best called Feefo

They are delivering feedback to their clients customers that is transforming their businesses. It has been amazing for BeWILDerwood in that it has helped them learn what they are doing right and wrong and really helped focus some decisions about where to invest in improvements.

For Charles Tywhritt it has been what they have built their entire business model on and 99% of their customers seem to love them – which is an amazing figure for any retailer, let alone an online one.

Gartner inc forecasted some years ago that by 2010 there would be 1 billion camera phones in the market place. Add to that the fact that they are now mostly web enabled and you have a very powerful customer voice indeed.

Richard Branson of Virgin fame, who runs a brand that is properly loved was forced to actually ring a customer who not only wrote him a complaint letter but took pictures of what he was unhappy about and then posted it all over the web. It is one of the funniest letters you will ever see.

Have a look at it here. It’s brilliant and well worth reading.

but here are some of the beautiful camera phone pics he took!

Makes you want to tuck straight in, doesn’t it Richard, tuck straight in.

What this shows you is that with any brand you have to really listen to your customers

If they decide that your brand is offering them rubbish, they will tell the world. What you need to encourage them to do by tapping into the power of User generated Content and the likes of Feefo, is harness the power of their compliments too.

Bye for now


Has Wally Lost it?

I’m not just trying to be controversial here, but at the end of last month, I wrote about the new Wally Olins book on branding which I bought to see if we could learn anything new from the man who taught us everything about branding.

This is it here.

Wally Olins: The Brand Handbook

Well, having now read it cover to cover, I have to say I am a little disappointed. Reading the small print, it is billed more as a handbook on ‘how to do it’ than a book exploring the outer edges of branding theory, but it felt more like a beautifully designed ad for Saffron than anything a decent working practitioner could learn much from.

Maybe we just take it for granted these days, how wide branding projects are and what we get to stick our noses in within any business, but I felt as though this was a bit of a sell out by one of my heroes!

One thing he did say that was really worth reinforcing was the section towards the end about research within a branding context. We have batted on about this for years saying that focus groups are a creativity sink where the bland will always triumph over the brave and not a place to discover great ideas. Thankfully, Wally agrees.