As part of my role with the UK Trade & Investment I am keen to help businesses become more successful by offering my own expertise. Last week I met with the team from Kenneth Turner , who I connected with via the UKTI, to offer a bit of advice and mentoring.
Since I can't mentor everyone (as much as I love doing it!) I thought I'd write a blog post on some of the points that came up in our conversation that apply to all creative businesses.
1) Don't be afraid to really take stock of your business and make changes.
A lot of businesses, and creative businesses in particular, are so focused on getting their products featured that they often don't think that there could be a reason why they seem to be constantly pushing on closed doors. Instead of trying yet another retailer hoping they'll be the ones that 'get' your product take a hard look at your product, the market place you're operating in, your competitors and what you may need to do differently. YOU need to understand your product and how it fits in the marketplace.
2) Exploit your bestsellers
If you have a product people are connecting with then start to look at how you can fully exploit it. Can you produce it in any other mediums? Can you make different sizes? Can you make premium and budget versions? In the example of Kenneth Turner, they had a silver vase that was selling very well. I suggested looking at producing it in porcelain and rubber to tap into different aesthetics.
3) Less is always more
Quality is the most important factor when you are producing products. It is better to have fewer products in a range that are top quality then a variety of lower quality goods. People want to trust your brand and nothing loses customers faster than a feeling that they are not getting their money's worth.
4) Build your brand
I cannot stress how important it is to take your branding, packaging and merchandising seriously. You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of customers and make a clear statement about your brand. Since branding is a costly exercise, take the time at the outset to create something that will stand the test of time. The White Company have the simplest logo and packaging in retail but it really is timeless!
5) Play up your heritage and Britishness
It is particularly important for brands looking to sell in international markets that you play on your 'Britishness'. Products from the UK are seen as high quality and have real cache internationally. If like Kenneth Turner you have heritage in your brand then make sure it comes across in your sales material and branding. Those archives are also huge assets, so don't be afraid to dive into the past to see what you can revive as a thoroughly modern product.
6) Bring in complimentary skill sets
'Creative' and 'business' always seems to be in separate camps but it is important to bring the two very different skill sets and ways of thinking together to make your business successful. Take a good look at your own business and see where you may be lacking in skillset. Finding someone who can make up the shortfall will make all the difference to your own success.
Kenneth Turner are looking to bolster their own creative talent, so if you have a strong fresh vision and think you have what it takes to help them with their brand re-launch in time for the international design fairs this Autumn then please contact Annette Denby via firstname.lastname@example.org .
Follow Kelly Hoppen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kellyhoppen