In 1959, Sir Alec Issigonis created a motoring icon, The Mini and when production ceased in 2000 over 5 million had been sold. I have owned a couple of early Minis and as an 18 year old used to run around my various businesses in a grey mini van. It felt like a go cart and went like one too!
When BMW purchased Rover Group in 1994, it acquired the iconic Mini Brand with it. The whole group was in need of a major revamp and BMW sold it on in 2000 but retained Mini with the view of developing the marque further. By investing over £1.75 Billion that is exactly what The Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, or in English, Bavarian Motor Works have done.
In my opinion, the new model is absolutely superb. It looks and performs much better than the original and, although German owned, is entirely built in Britain at a modern facility in Cowley, Oxfordshire which is where Minis have always been made.
We have just purchased two Mini Cooper S models, one in red and the other in black and they are superb to drive. Great fun, but with a sense of safety, is how one of my family described it.
Bentley is also a brand I know well, with my last car being a beautiful dark blue Flying Spur. With its four wheel drive system and big W12 engine it carries forward all the hallmarks of this uniquely British brand. The road holding needs to be seen to be believed and the interior ﬁt out is sublime. Mine has TVs front and rear with magnolia leather trim and a very dark burr walnut dash. Built in Crewe, England, by a dedicated workforce all recent Bentley models have an excellent ﬁnish in my opinion which frankly I don't think was always the case.
Volkswagen took control of Bentley in 1998 and has instilled efficient German build standards to a classic British Marque and should be commended for not only saving the brand, but jobs as well, and creating new ones too.
I have owned several Bentleys over the years but the Flying Spur feels the best ever in terms of build quality. Originally created in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley MBE who went to school at Clifton College in Bristol, the Bentley was, along with Rolls Royce, to deﬁne luxury motoring throughout the last 90 years.
The name Rolls Royce is often used to describe the best of anything but Bentley always had that more raffish edge favoured by aspiring entrepreneurs. It has always been seen as a younger, sportier car than the deﬁnitive 'Roller'. For me all of these British Icons represent everything that is aspirational in motoring.
Another British Icon which is just as well known as Bentley and Rolls Royce and is seen everywhere in the world is The Land Rover. How do you begin to describe something as evocative and classless, yet essentially classy, as the original Land Rover or County. Both are stunning representatives of everything British. In a way they are the most British of brands! I can't think of anything that shows the bulldog spirit epitomised by Winston Churchill when leading the war effort in 1945 more than a Land Rover.
Talk about British exports! Land Rovers can be seen everywhere, from Californian watering holes to African tent poles, from the deserts of Saudi to the German home of Audi these marvellous workhorses are the deﬁnitive four wheel drive.
Land Rovers are often used by British Royalty, indeed I understand HM The Queen drives one quite frequently on her Sandringham estate. They are also used by farmers, armed forces, and jobbing builders.
There you have it, a true buffet of British brands set to inspire any entrepreneur to achieve.
Brands and branding are important because they represent consistency and that is a byword for success.
Any entrepreneur wishing to build his or her business must ﬁrst achieve consistency before they can obtain riches. By building a brand you are telling the world that you intend to be around for a very long time. You tell them that you and your business can be relied on to deliver a consistent high quality service or product. You tell them that they don't need to worry about making their purchase because you will stand by it. If it isn't up to scratch you will replace it immediately and investigate what went wrong.
Building a business is like building a relationship. The person you are doing this with needs to know that you are committed to the relationship.
Convince your potential buyer of that by being genuine and doing what you say 'every time' will cause a line to form at your door. A line of fans rather than just customers. Fans who will buy from you time and time again.