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18 September 2019

Follow JRPass' Director through the Innovating for Growth programme: Marketing

Each quarter, we pick 18 high-growth businesses to take part in our Innovating for Growth: Scale-ups programme, where businesses receive £10,000 worth of tailored and bespoke business support and advice. Not only do businesses gain three months of guidance, they also receive automatic membership to our Growth Club and their own Relationship Manager.

This quarter, we’re following Haroun, Director of JRPass, a train travel company for those exploring Japan by rail. Haroun will talk us through each session as he progresses through the programme to get the successes and challenges of what it’s like to run a growing businesses. You can see Haroun's previous posts about branding, intellectual propertyfinancial managementproduct innovationmarketing strategybranding and research and developing a growth strategy on our blog. In his latest diary entry, we join Haroun on his branding one-to-one...

JRPass train in Japan

This marketing session could be seen as a follow up to the Branding 1:1 I blogged about previously, as this was run by an advisor from the same advertising agency, ABA. We revisited the brand architecture discussion from that session and the pros/cons of the 'endorsed' route.  The two main talking points here were 1) to carefully consider the connecting points between child and parent brands (to avoid confusion); and 2) spreading your energy and budget across building multiple brands can be resource intensive so this all needs some consideration before execution.

With the new business units/websites we are planning we discussed 'Brand Equity' i.e. what the main elements of the JRPass brand are and what we should ensure that we bring over to any new identity to maintain our values and consistency. These were:

  1.  Single country expertise and detailed knowledge, 'selling' the country
  2.  Illustrative style (user friendly and warm)
  3.  Channeling the ‘Explorer’ brand personality

One new area that we haven’t done too much of is customer research. The adviser felt is was worth reaching out to our customer base and ask them questions relevant to our brand/marketing For example:

This will help us targeting our current market segments and to create products for new audiences too. As you can see the amount of work here and in previous blogs is piling up, and we have already started to look for new marketing hires on the back of the programme, so we also talked about the skillset we should be looking for in those individuals. One area was copy and blogging (digital marketing in general). We do quite a bit already in giving Japan travel advice and tips in our blog, but we do need someone to be able to concentrate on adding to our capability both in this and in terms of affiliates. 

Visit our website for more information about the programme and how to register your interest for the next application round.