Tag Archives: brand

What’s in a sandwich (van)?

When I started my second proper job in London 35 years ago (my wife says she’s still waiting for me to get a proper job…) an exotic sandwich was ham with coleslaw. In the 15 years in that job, the street in EC1 where I bought my sandwiches [Exmouth Market] changed beyond all recognition, and the status of those two slices of bread with something edible in between was similarly transformed. Fast forward 20 years to the present and you’re offered an almost infinite variety of breads, fillings, and names.

I was thinking about sandwiches on my drive to work last week when, within about a minute, I saw two small sandwich vans. As a man with 40 years in marketing, the vans said everything to me about the differences between the two companies involved.

The traditional sandwich board has been largely updated by the sandwich van as a mobile expression of an offer, exemplified by the two vans belonging to URBAN Eat and Day’s Bakery.  A great case study in branding for the young people I support as they consider setting up their own businesses. So, what did those two vans say to me?

  • New (URBAN Eat launched in 2010) for young snackers, vs established (Days having been baking since 1741!) for the older customer
  • Fast food – URBAN Eat talk about ‘bursting’ on to the food scene, creating wholesome ‘eat now’ food for a ‘hungry public with no time to spare’, vs family tradition – the business was in the Day family from 1741 to 1996 and the recipes have, of course, been handed down from one generation to the next.
  • National – URBAN Eat supplies over 3,000 stores across the UK, vs local – Days have 11 shops in North Herts, Essex and Cambridgeshire [note the different images created by ‘store’ and ‘shop’].

The contrasting writing styles on their two websites perfectly portray the different personalities of these two providers of the humble sandwich (other products and providers are available) …

“Since bursting on to the Food On The Go scene back in 2010, URBAN eat have been creating innovative, delicious, wholesome ‘eat now’ food with an urban cultured twist. Our food is designed to be convenient and tasty, providing inspirational food experiences and freeing the public from lunch fatigue. We aim to create ‘Exciting Everyday Moments’ by celebrating the little pleasures in life.

URBAN eat create a handcrafted range of sandwiches, salads, prepared fruits, hot eats and indulgent snacks with the aim of creating an oasis in your day! Our passionate team of development chefs work round the clock to create a host of exciting new products inspired by emerging food trends across the globe… so watch this space!”

https://www.urbaneat.co.uk

“Days Bakery was founded in 1741 in Ashwell and must be one of the oldest remaining bakeries in the country. It was run by family members throughout its long existence and prided itself on quality, very much a village bakery. The business has continued through the generations and Howard Day took over in 1953 after surviving two plane crashes in the Fleet air arm during the Second World War. Howard was all about high quality and expanding the business. In his later years he became very ill and was forced to sell the business to Nick Dorrington and his brother James in 1996. Howard was a great support in the last year of his life to Nick in passing on his family business and enjoyed handing on all his personal recipes which many are used to this day. Our current manager Clive Draper was trained by Howard Day.”    

     http://www.daysbakery.co.uk

Don’t always believe the supermarkets when they tell us we shoppers want choice – sometimes it’s all too much. My favourite sarnie (as we used to call it when growing up on Merseyside) remains plain cheese and onion on thick white bread, with maybe a little salad cream. What’s your sandwich of choice?

Uniform

Exactly three years ago, I posted a blog about male identity. It alluded to the importance of uniform in the working lives of many men. Even something like a suit can give self-confidence to the wearer and may instill authority and status in a business context.

All the more so when the uniform – like those of the emergency services – is also associated with an ‘important’ role, particular skills and expertise, and makes the wearer instantly recognisable in public places. As such uniforms may genuinely be described as life-savers in emergency situations.

Even work-wear such as a high-viz jacket says something about the wearer; I certainly tend to associate them with someone I assume knows more than me about the particular situation in which I find myself – whether it’s on a building site, in a traffic jam, or taking part in parkrun (at which I’m sometimes the high-viz wearer).

When I posted that blog in March 2015 we were about to get fleeces and polo shirts for the Shedders at The Repair Shed in Hemel Hempstead. Soon after the arrival of the bright red garments I realised that I should have brought them in much sooner. They’re practical – keeping Shed members warm, and their own clothes clean – but equally important I think, is the sense of ‘shared identity’ it gives the group. I’ve never asked, but I’d like to think that it gives wearers a sense of pride to be associated with others and, hopefully, a great commitment to the team effort.

Fast forward three years and this week I was talking about uniforms with a young person planning to ‘create a fashion brand’. We had an interesting discussion about the importance of labels – the literal brand. We established that designer labels, and people being seen wearing them, is about the wearer wanting to make a statement about themselves and to project an image (that may or may not be accurate).

We also concluded that fashion is a bit contradictory – while it unites people under certain style banners, those same people hope they’ll stand out in a crowd – so they want personal and group identity at the same time! We ended the conversation by noting that when a brand or style become too popular and the clothes become ubiquitous, there’s a natural (or is it orchestrated by the fashion industry?) search for something different. Note I say ‘different‘; fashion developments are not always new – as shown by the current trend for tears in jeans.

When the young entrepreneur works out what he means by ‘creating a fashion brand’ I think and hope he’ll go far. For a 20-year old who realised college was not for him he deserves to go far.

Men’s Sheds and male identity https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/mens-sheds-and-male-identity/

The Repair Shed www.facebook.com/TheRepairShed

Small card, big message

In my day job I work with young would-be entrepreneurs to support them in setting up in business if they have an idea they want to pursue. As most people know, writing a business plan is a good place to start – to get the ideas out of heads and on to paper where it can be developed, adapted and, if need be, rejected.

When it gets to the publicity section I’m always intrigued that, in an age of social media and worldwide online communication, when asked how they plan to promote their business, nearly every young person writes ‘business cards’. How do they even know about business cards?!

I think the attachment to this humble handout is a combination of it being tangible (unlike things like ‘brand’ ‘values’ ‘and ‘social media’). It’s also cheap – most people know companies that will hook you in with an offer of your first 50 business cards free. Then there’s the comfort of conforming – ‘me too’ – everybody talks about business cards and seems to have then, so why don’t I?

This is not to knock the potential value of professionally produced business cards but, as money is always short, I tend to design and print my own (certainly when I’m paying for them) because I use so few. But then maybe, after 35 years in marketing, I’m missing a trick…?

A business card can, and should, say a lot about you and your business – your quality, character, professionalism, and quirkiness if that’s the business you’re in. Above all, it should be the ‘calling card’ that convinces your target customers that it’s worth making that phone call.

I’m someone with an interest in clear and concise communication in all its forms, so I find the business card an interesting challenge. Like most publicity pieces, it can be both ephemeral – one of many gathered at an event soon to be ‘filed and forgotten’, or essential for safe storage (in my case in a pile on my desk) for easy retrieval when the time is right. Surprisingly often I reach for one I know is in there somewhere, but the beauty of the business card for me is in the use of the limited space (in seconds and centimetres) for grabbing attention.

I’m a sucker for gimmicks so I’m usually more attracted to the design than the content. I’ve been working with a young person who plans to offer soft and hard garden landscaping services. We’re currently trying to produce a business card that grows using paper embedded with seeds. We’ve got the paper from my friends at the Frogmore Paper Mill.  Now it’s a matter of working out how to create the cards so they sprout and grow when watered carefully on an office desk – watch this space…

Last week in Bristol I was attracted to a slightly-larger-than-standard business card from a local company – Florentina & Chalky. What you can’t tell from the photo is that the card has a unique feel – like chalkboard – so they go one better than the company that ‘does what it says on the tin’!

What next – a scratch and sniff business card for a cheese shop?

http://florentinaandchalky.blogspot.co.uk 

http://www.thepapertrail.org.uk

PS – a re-use tip: If you’ve gathered a pile of business cards with blank backs and you don’t want them, you can use then as a deck of cue cards for your next talk – a handy-sized pack of prompts.

Enterprise essential – be a mystery shopper

How does your enterprise appear from the outside? Try phoning up or writing for information (anonymously of course) for information and find out! For smaller organisations, ask a friend to do this for you and ask them to note how well the enquiry was handled. Alert staff that ‘mystery shoppers’ will be in touch in the coming weeks.

 

Enterprise essential – polish the window on your world

A good website can be a highly cost-effective way to generate new business and meet needs for essential information, advice and support 24 hours a day. A bad website – with out of-date information, poor navigation, and unhelpful content and design – can kill your enterprise. Make sure your website builds your brand.

 

Eight top tips from ‘experts by experience’

Create and share the vision…

“Having a clear vision is important, particularly when well-intentioned people are in danger of diverting you. But making sure that vision is one which is shared is also important; the whole consultation process was about taking people with us. For sustainability, that strong foundation and broad backing is essential, as is having the right legal structure with community interest at its heart.”  Rosamund Webb, Station House Community Connections http://bit.ly/1wfUF6D

 Passion is important, but not enough…

“Unless you have a real desire and passion, don’t do it. Social enterprise is not a route to making money, so the desire to make a difference has to be genuine. But passion is not enough. You should learn as much as you possibly can about the subject, but don’t feel you have to do it all at once. It can’t all happen overnight, so have realistic expectations.” James Hogg, Music and Memories http://bit.ly/1p6Lwax

Be guided by your achievements and successes

When starting your business, stick with it. “You’ll have a huge idea at the start, with blurred surroundings so you can’t see how to get to your destination. But be guided by your achievements and successes.”  Amanda Keel, FullSpoon http://bit.ly/1BrZpsI

 Make it sell-able at a viable price…

“ If you want to make money [from your artwork]… you need to make it saleable and sell it at a viable price. The designs you come up with have to be commercial if that’s what you’re in it for. If you’re a creative being who wants to create art, don’t think of it as a business proposition.” Teresa Crickmar, Craftworks http://bit.ly/1qEEU8E

Get your public profile right…

“Look the part. The reason Forest Owl is getting into schools and talking to businesses is that we communicate effectively through our website and social media. We’re also building credibility by nailing our colours to the mast. We live our brand by getting out and about, not sitting indoors in an office.”  Ian Henderson, Forest Owl http://bit.ly/1xIoDEF

Learn to let go…

“Don’t underestimate the people you’re working with – particularly when they’re volunteers. Learn to let go, people are very capable and if you give them the opportunity, they’ll learn.” Nicky Kearns, Secret Space http://bit.ly/1BrZ4Gx

It takes a long time to build a reputation but a second to destroy it…

“It takes time to build up reputation and loyal customers – I favour word of mouth over any other publicity. I stress with the guys that it takes a long time to build a reputation but a second – one hair in the food – to destroy it. So we’re very strict on quality control.” Sam Speller, All Seasoned http://bit.ly/1CRpgvG

Give it a go and be patient…

“Be open to new ideas and experiences. Give something a try and if it doesn’t work out, don’t worry; it’s the trying that’s important. I stuck with jobs that didn’t suit me, resilient in the face of poor management for the sake of the children in my care, until other career stepping stones came along.”  Hannah Burns, Nurture by Nature Forest School http://bit.ly/1lTbOC8

 

More tips from Experts by Experience at:  http://bit.ly/1dQplX3