Industry thoughts, sharing great ideas,
snippets and top tips, by Olivia Lane-Nott
Originally posted in April 2016, with more people recently asking me about setting-up on their own, I have refreshed this post.
Eight years ago this month, I set-up my consultancy at my kitchen table, I hope the following is of use to people who find themselves in the same exciting position...
Who would have thought that in the last month I would have spoken to a total of nine friends and ex-colleagues who have been asking me for top tips about setting up their own consultancy and starting up on their own?
This month, it is eight years since I started my business at my kitchen table.
That turned into a desk in our front room, and then we converted the small old wash house in our back garden for my office (photo above - I miss my apple crate shelving and long workbench!), then we moved house (just down the road and I found a long desk thanks to Peppermill Interiors) and now I have my office which is very much separate from home life which is much easier!
I have built-up my consultancy business to advise some wonderful clients, and I haven’t looked back - a big thank you to all past and present clients.
I tap into a brilliant network of suppliers: design & creative agencies, digital providers, printers, photographers, signage companies etc.
I’m in my office probably one to two days a week, and go out to clients on the other days.
I’m always so flattered to be asked for advice on starting-up on your own.
So I thought I would list the top things that I couldn’t live without and my top tips:
Running your own business is brilliant.
To quote a very wise man close to me who has run his own business for nearing 40 years: "the highs are high, and the lows are low".
But if the last eight years are anything to go by, there are many more highs than lows and I would recommend it to anyone. What are you waiting for?
Just keep it simple...
In my first 'proper' job after University (forget my eight days working at Foxtons!) I was fortunate enough to be trained by an ex-Business Editor of The Times.
What I learnt from him was invaluable.
He taught me how to draft and edit...and then edit again.
Watching him edit a document, he would read through it in his head and 'conduct' with his hand the flow of each sentence and paragraph.
When his hand stopped, he stopped.
He would then analyse, craft and then return to 'conducting'.
I had a masterclass in keeping it simple, making sure the reader would understand the story, and how to omit the jargon, so that everything flowed.
When I came across this blog, written by the PR guru Stephen Waddington, I just had to share it, as it summed up what I was taught.
It is a reminder to keep everything simple; a reminder that our duty as communicators is to write as clearly as possible and to keep the audience always in our minds.
The case for plain language in spoken and written communication https://wadds.co.uk/blog/plain-language?__s=qkzx6sp8gsdkk3hx6xy1
When you are tasked with creating a marketing and communications strategy for your business, whatever your audience, focus and size, our six-point marketing and communications' strategy can really help.
It's simple to use, can be scaled up as required, effective and measurable.
To download your free ebook, please click below.
Usually when I meet a new client, one of my first questions is: “do you want to be great company, or a desirable brand?”
The answer is often down to these three factors: the business has been built, they are retaining and attracting great people, and have a loyal and trusted customer or client base.
But their brand identity hasn’t moved with them.
It hasn’t evolved to represent where they are, where they are heading, or what they stand for.
1. Take Carter Jonas, the national UK property consultancy.
Since 2009, their turnover had grown from £15 million to £45+ million (impressive especially given the global economic climate).
But their brand identity needed to grow with them.
So with their in-house graphic design & marketing team and creative agency NextBigThing, we went from this…
2. With The Oxford Science Park, change was happening as Magdalen College Oxford, which had owned 50% of the Park, acquired the other 50% to own 100%.
This was a big opportunity for the Park that was established 25 years ago.
So we needed to tell the Park’s story, explain why so many businesses - 65+ with more than 2,400 people - call it home.
Also how its owner, as one of Oxford’s oldest and most famous Colleges with a tradition of academic excellence and entrepreneurship, was going to continue to build it as one of the most influential science, technology and business environments in the UK.
And so with creative agency Impact we went from this…
3. Lastly, I was brought in to help Barwood Capital, a long-established and respected real estate investment and development business.
We soon realised that having made some great hires and delivered excellent returns to investors over their many years in business, that their branding didn’t reflect what they were doing and where they were heading.
We also used the opportunity to consider in the project its sister businesses: Barwood Homes and Barwood Land.
So for all three businesses, with brand strategist Amanda Yensa and design agency Kimpton Creative, we went from this…
To this…bringing in a glow to represent their clever approach to property development and investment and enhancing lives.
So in summary...
Desirability is key when it comes to brand identity.
You can’t make a brand desirable if their business objectives, values and people aren’t operating at that level, offering exquisite service or products.
But you can enhance a brand. You can ensure that it reflects your business and resonates with your target audience.
These businesses are benefitting from having clarified their proposition, defined who they are, what they are, and why they do what they do.
And importantly, what they stand for in terms of who they truly are and what their customers and clients need.
Their new brands now support them, their products, their marketing, and their promise.
Need help with making your brand more desirable?
Olivia Lane-Nott, founder of Spacecraft Consulting, works with many businesses in the high net worth and luxury arena become more desirable, meeting their business objectives, and benefiting their bottom lines.
Having spent more than 16 years helping national and global brands thrive, she acts as your Marketing & Communications Director, working with your in-house teams and becoming an extension of your business for the project’s duration, whilst always keeping things simple.
To find out more, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Google's new logo, Mr Kipling's new packaging, and HSBC rebranding to HSBC UK - all launched in the first week of September
It's must have been a busy summer for the marketing teams and their agencies of Google, Premier Foods' Mr Kipling, and HSBC as all three have launched new looks in the first week of September: Google's new logo, Mr Kipling's new packaging just 12 months after the last redesign, and HSBC changing to, well, HSBC UK.
The world is slowly returning from the summer holidays but spare a thought for those people who will have had the pressure on over that time to prepare themselves to tell the world about their new, defined brand positioning and brand identity, and importantly, use the opportunity to tell their stories and control their main messages.
Last year, as Interim Head of Marketing and Communications for Carter Jonas, I took the firm through a national brand refresh with their wonderful in-house team and the superb design agency NextBigThing.
With the launch in the first week of September, it meant that August was by no means quiet, or a time to catch up with filing, for the team as we pulled together the last phases of the project which had taken just six months from start to finish.
It was all hands to pumps as we geared up for the big unveiling from advertising to sales boards, stationary to website, but importantly, during June and July, we had also carried out an internal brand refresh roadshow which took us across the country to nearly all of Carter Jonas' offices to explain the brand essence and new look and feel way before we told the world. It was a whirlwind of a summer but when we finally launched, it was a great feeling, and client feedback was very positive.
And finally we were able to see the brand out there, in action, and implement it across the plethora of on and offline marketing material that the company produces.
To see Carter Jonas' brand refresh results...just click here.
Stories; telling and sharing them with each other. That's what makes the world go round; and Olivia Lane-Nott loves them. Here she shares her thoughts.