26 April 2018
April 26th is World Intellectual Property Day. “What?” I can hear you asking, why should there be a special day to celebrate Intellectual Property? Well, stop for a minute and take a look around you and I can guarantee that, whether you realise it or not, you will be surrounded by Intellectual Property.
Like the book you are reading (e-book or otherwise!), the iPod or MP3 player you are using to listen to music, the music itself, even the clothes you are wearing, every product or service we use in our day to day lives is the result of innovation. These innovations may be big improvements in function, or small changes in design that alter the way a product looks, either way these improvements will generally be protected by Intellectual Property (IP).
Intellectual Property (IP) is like any other piece of property and the owner of the Intellectual Property rights controls what, if anything, happens to those rights, including who can benefit from the work or from the investment the rights holder has made into the creation of the product or service.
So how does this affect you and your business?
Whatever business you are engaged in it is very likely that you are using and probably even creating a large amount of IP and, if you want to get the best possible commercial results from its ownership, you need to think about the steps you need to take to protect, manage and indeed enforce your rights.
- Protect – register your IP rights where possible.
- Manage – keep a record of all the IP you have and any IP that you license from third parties. Ensure renewal fees are paid and licenses are up-to-date.
- Enforce – as the rights holder it is your responsibility to keep an eye out for any IP infringement and to take action to stop it. If you do not intend to enforce your IP rights then perhaps you need to reconsider whether or not you should register your rights.
So let’s look at each form of IP in turn;
The first piece of registrable IP most businesses will have is a trade mark. Trade marks are used to indicate the origin of goods or services. They may be symbols, words, colours or even a combination of these, the choice is yours, but whatever the makeup of your trade mark it needs to be distinct enough to allow consumers to identify your products or services from those of your competitors.
As well as standard trade marks there are several other types of mark such as Collective marks, used to distinguish the goods and/or services of members of a particular association, or Certification marks, given for compliance with defined standards to anyone who is able to certify that their products meet certain standards e.g. ISO/TC 181 Safety of toys.
Trade marking is not to be approached lightly as your trade mark is likely to be one of your most valuable business assets.
Next, Copyright. Most of us when we think of copyright we think of books, music, films etc. but copyright will also exist in your website, the flyers or brochures you may produce for your business, the menus for your restaurant or café. All of these, provided they are your own original work or you have a license to use them if they were created by a third party, will be protectable.
Mark all of your original copyrighted material with the copyright symbol ©, the name of the rights holder and the year of creation, e.g. © British Library 2019.
If you are a designer then registered designs are probably something you should consider as registered designs protect what it is that makes an item attractive or appealing to its intended market. As the holder of the registered rights you will be assured an exclusive right to the design and thereby protection against unauthorised copying of the design by third parties.
A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. It provides patent rights holders with protection for their invention for a limited period, usually 20 years, subject to the payment of annual renewal fees. Having a patent for your invention means that your invention cannot be made commercially, or distributed or sold without your written permission. You get to decide who may or may not use the invention for the duration the period of protection. However, once the patent expires, after 20 years or if you stop paying the renewal fees, the invention will no longer be protected and will enter the public domain. Basically, it becomes available for anyone to use as they wish.
Probably lesser known, but just as important IP rights are Know How and Trade Secrets. Know How is the practical knowledge of how to do something, to get something done. This sort of knowledge will not necessarily be included in a patent for example, but will be necessary to finish the product, project or job. For examples of Trade Secrets; think of the Coca Cola recipe or the recipe for Irn Bru. These rights are not registrable and need to be protected using contracts and/or confidentiality agreements.
This post just touches on the subject of IP really as a way of highlighting World IP Day and anyone thinking of using IP or making any financially crucial or business crucial decisions based on IP should speak to an IP attorney. The website of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys can help you locate an attorney in you local area via their website. Most IP attorneys offer a free 30 minute one-to-one advice session.
Alternatively, you can visit your local Business & IP Centre for free, impartial, non-legal advice. Click here to see the full list of Centres around the country.
A final comment; innovation through the years has shaped the world we live in, from the simple hand cast nail invented more than 2,000 years ago to the invention of the wheel and the wheel and axle concept, from Gutenberg’s printing press to the telephone, the electric lamp to penicillin, all of these innovations have made our lives easier, better and more interesting and, hopefully, the inventors and innovators of our generation will continue the trend.
Maria Lampert, Intellectual Property Expert
01 December 2017
Some companies seem to run their Facebook pages with so much ease. You know the ones; thousands of likes, fans tripping over themselves to be a part of the hot conversation…
… it makes you wonder what they are doing right, and what you are doing so terribly wrong!
Certain businesses are simply lazy when it comes to Facebook marketing. Perhaps they try a few posts, maybe no one replies and then they just give up.
Some business pages go totally the other way. Often sharing post after post with little thought as to what their audience is actually looking for.
Perhaps it’s the familiarity of Facebook that makes it difficult to grasp. Many business owners use Facebook personally so it can be tempting to try the same approach on your business page that you use for your personal page.
Whatever the problem may be, we see countless examples of businesses with bad Facebook marketing strategies.
Despite Facebook feeling like second nature to some, there is still a large knowledge gap for small business owners when it comes to Facebook marketing. Often, they simply aren't aware of how much they could achieve with the platform - or how to use it effectively.
With 1.32 billion daily active users, Facebook is a channel you simply cannot afford to miss.
We’re going to talk you through some simple steps to get you up to speed with using Facebook for business. If you don’t already have a Facebook page, you will want to set one up first
1. It all starts with a plan
You may have already adopted a haphazard approach when it comes to managing your business page: we’re here to put an end to this. By defining what you want to achieve, you have a greater chance of achieving success.
For someone who is new to Facebook marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in collecting likes and focusing on this as the primary measurement of your success. As exciting as it may be to gain new followers, this alone will not do a great deal for your business.
When you think about goals, extend your thoughts beyond Facebook. After all, the purpose of having a platform is to generate more interest in your business and drive traffic back to your website.
Here are some common goals for Facebook business pages:
- Generating Leads
- Increasing blog or website traffic
- Building brand awareness
- Providing customer service
Once you know what you want to achieve, begin getting to know your audience better. Use Grow’s buyer persona guide to help identify your audience. What excites them, what makes them share posts, what encourages them to get involved?
If you already have a business page, your Facebook analytics will help you get a good idea of which types of posts perform best. If you are new to Facebook, take a look at your competitor’s pages. What areas are they having success in? Find out what posts resonate with your chosen audience and you are already one step ahead.
2. Share great content
Once you’ve set some solid goals and defined your audience, you can start planning what exactly you are going to share.
If your goal is to increase product sales, you may think that you’re Facebook page is going to be full of lovely product photos. Wrong. This kind of sales oriented page isn’t going to cut it on Facebook.
Yes, you want your audience to be wowed by your amazing products but you also need to give them a reason to follow you and trust you. Think about what else you have you got to offer them besides a great product?
Creating a broad mix of content is the best way to do this, mix your own content with other peoples, share a range of photos and videos as well as just blogs. This way you can then look at what works and what doesn’t and create a strategy that is targeted specifically at your audience.
You want to be seen as an expert in your industry, someone who keeps their finger on the pulse.
And don’t forget: everything shared on your page should show your brand personality. (If you haven’t already set the tone for your brand, you should get that together immediately.)
3. Get talking
It’s a good idea to focus on increasing engagement as part of your Facebook strategy.
Engagement constitutes the number of individuals sharing, liking and commenting on your posts. Their doing so vastly increases the visibility of your posts and the visibility of your business on Facebook, as the platform prioritises valuable and engaging content.
Putting your content out there is only half the work. It’s a social network, the whole point is to get people talking. People need to be prompted and you may need to draw attention to yourself in order to be heard.
Ask questions about trending topics, share photos that spark a conversation, share customer stories and make sure that when people do engage with you, they get a reply. The buzz will soon die down if people’s comments are ignored.
This may be a slow process at first, but working out what does and doesn’t work for your audience, is the only way you will create that buzz and keep people engaged.
This leads me on to my next point.
4. Track it, measure it, tweak it.
A lot of the initial work with Facebook is trial and error. Your audience is unique to your brand and as such, you need to work out what works for you.
Facebook makes it easy for us marketers to analyse what is working and what isn’t with its own dedicated analytics suite, Facebook Audience Insights.
Here, you can see exactly what is working on Facebook and what isn't. Are people getting fed up with all those news updates you thought were interesting? Do you receive a higher engagement with your blog shares than your product images?
Facebook Insights also gives you a breakdown of the specific times at which you get the most activity, this can help you figure out the optimal time to post for your audience.
When you work out what people are looking for, you can tweak what you share to increase engagement and increase the number of people taking actions.
This is an iterative process which can be made simpler by following the earlier steps. Defining what works early on can ensure you find your perfect content mix quickly
5.Give it a boost!
Following the previous steps will help you get everything right in terms of what to share and how to encourage engagement. This gives you a better chance of getting seen - but it's by no means foolproof.
The problem we all face is a lack of visibility. Facebook estimates that only 16% of your fans see any one of your posts organically.
So how can you further increase your chances of being spotted? Facebooks's paid promotion is the key.
You don't need a huge budget to start promoting your posts. A modest outlay can ensure your important posts are being given greater visibility. Facebook even allows you to target certain demographics, set your daily budget and length of a campaign.
Promoted posts are a quick, targeted and effective way to reach more of your target audience.
However, if you want promoted posts you work, you will need to keep on top of them. Tracking and tweaking are vital to success.
If you follow the steps above and dedicate the time to tweaking and testing, it will help you increase traffic to your website and help to achieve your other goals, whether that be the sale of a product or even just collecting emails addresses for your mailing list.
If, like many, you are new to Facebook marketing following this simple and effective plan will get you started on your first campaign. Good luck and remember to keep at it!
21 November 2017
How to use events to market your business
Contemporary marketing talk is all about marketing automation, content and sales funnels. There’s a significant amount of value to be gained from streamlining your marketing and sales processes – but there’s one thing all these marketing tactics and strategies are aiming for: to get you in front of your potential customer/partner/lead.
Marketing is about relationships, and however fabulous your website and digital marketing are, you’re ultimately aiming to have a personal conversation with the right person to buy your product or service or build a partnership.
And that happens in person.
In-person marketing is the future (as well as the past). As people increasingly hide behind their multiple work communication channels – email, slack, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram – it seems like it’s hard enough to get someone on the phone, let alone meet in person.
And that’s why events are the heart and soul of building an effective sales and marketing strategy.
You’re either at someone else’s event – as a speaker, sponsor, exhibitor or just plain participant – and if you’ve selected the right event they’ve brought your market to you. Or you host your own events – which needs careful and targeted marketing – and position yourself in the middle of your market sector and the business potentially comes to you.
Sasha Frieze, a visiting lecturer in Event Management at Westminster University, is leading a 3-hour Masterclass: How to use events to market your business at 10am on Thursday 30th November at the British Library Business and IP Centre in Kings Cross, where she will leverage her 25+ years’ experience in the events industry to walk you through 8 strategies to help you harness the power of events to market your business.
10 November 2017
We Built This City is a London-based business that specialises in selling unique souvenirs that represent the famous city. Their mission is to revolutionise souvenirs by giving London's artists and designers a platform to showcase their talents and provide customers with creative and long-lasting souvenirs. Having grown at an incredible rate at the very beginning, We Built This City quickly made its mark on the souvenir market but founder Alice Mayor was still ambitious and wanted more. With the help of Innovating for Growth programme, she was able to achieve her scale-up wishes and went from a pop-up to having a permanent home on Carnaby Street in London's trendy West-End. We caught up with Alice to talk a little more about her journey from idea to super success and how the Innovating for Growth programme helped with this.
How did the idea for a new kind of souvenir shop in London’s famous Carnaby Street come about?
In 2014, London was still basking in the glory of the Olympics and had just become the most visited city on the planet with the annual tourist footfall figure at over 16 million. With so many international visitors heading to the capital for creative and cultural experiences, my lightbulb moment was riding past one of the many souvenir stores in London on the bus and thinking ‘surely we can do better than that!’
My overriding priority in bringing to life the concept of ‘Revolutionising London Souvenirs’ was to find the right location for the store. I really wanted to avoid a scenario where we had the very best artists & designers to represent but didn’t have the footfall to prove the operation a success.
As such, I was determined We Built This City should be established in the West End. I walked the streets on the weekends to try and identify the best location but each time got more fearful about the barriers we were going to face with rents and rates. At the end of what seemed like a very long 4 months, I finally tracked down a landlord on Carnaby Street.
I created a detailed pitch outlining my vision for the product, interiors, and marketing campaign. Within a matter of days, they offered a 2 floor - 3000 sq ft store on Carnaby Street with just one caveat… we had 3 weeks to bring it all together and would need to launch for Christmas!
What challenges has the business faced along the way?
The main challenge for us at the start was being a temporary pop-up shop and having to move stores over 6 times in 18 months. We were always moving to a new store on Carnaby, so the location wasn’t the issue, it was just the sheer labour involved in moving shops and setting up processes all over again. Luckily we have an amazing team who stuck with us no matter how many times we told them we were on the move!
More general challenges are that at any one time we can be working with 250+ London artists, designers and makers - with so many partners and suppliers on the books the sheer volume of admin involved can be a daunting daily mountain to climb! It’s worth it though, to see so many artists represented and supported in store.
Lastly, our core mission is always to support London’s creative community to drive sales and sustainable careers in the city. Running the business from a prime retail unit in the West End isn’t always an ideal marriage as it can be difficult to achieve margins which are complementary to both scenarios. We wouldn’t change the exposure Carnaby offers our artists for the world though!
What has been the business’s biggest achievement so far?
Our biggest achievement to date has undoubtedly been securing a permanent lease on Carnaby Street. We’re very proud to have made the transition from pop-up to a permanent retailer in one of the world’s most iconic shopping destinations in such a short window. A permanent unit for us has freed up so much resource and time to focus on growing the business. As a result, we’ve been able to grow the consultancy arm out to helping other London landmarks open including a major curation project for Battersea Power Station’s new Design Store.
Picking up awards for the shop along the way has been an unexpected and exhilarating experience too - when we were awarded ‘Best Shop in Soho’ by Time Out readers in our first year of trading, we spent the next week pinching ourselves!
What advice would you give to any small business owners thinking of going into retail and even opening a shop?
Having a unique point of difference is critical for a new retail brand or business - especially if you’re joining a competitive market (fashion, food etc.) You need to work out the one thing that’ll set you apart and work out how you can tell that to your customer at every part of the journey - and even before when selling the concept to a landlord, investor etc.
I would also highly recommend creating a pitch presentation to set out your vision and to share it with anyone who can help you make it happen. It’s easy to become scared of people stealing your idea, but I found it incredibly helpful to get early-stage feedback and access to new contacts - many of whom ended up becoming our artists, advisors, partners and even our shop team!
Lastly, really interrogate whether you need to open a physical bricks and mortar store at all and what you want to learn from even a temporary pop up shop. It’s important to establish your objectives early on and stick to them. My parting advice is to never romanticise the idea of a shop as it’s an unbelievable amount of work, money, and energy - and if you’re open 7 days a week the sheer volume of operations can easily leave you with little time to nurture the creative side of the business.
What are the challenges of growing a business and how has the Innovating for Growth programme helped?
When I applied for the Innovating for Growth course, I was really lacking the headspace to work ‘on’ the business - not just ‘in’ it. The programme has been indispensable in giving me the opportunity to stand back from the day to day and take time to start strategising from afar.
An invaluable learning from joining the programme has been the opportunity to look at all factors that contribute to the running of a successful business - not just those that are in your existing skillset or comfort zone! Deep diving into these elements with the guidance of the coaches, guides and guest lecturers on the programme has been invaluable to analysing the business’s strengths and weaknesses in equal measure.
The real take away from the programme for me though has been the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs at the same stage - going through the same issues, problems and being able to share advice. It can get lonely and especially tough when you’re scaling - mentors are great but it’s meeting and sharing with those sat next to you on the same rollercoaster that gives you that belief to keep building!
* Innovating for Growth is a free three-month programme to help you turn your growth idea into a reality. Find out more information about the programme here.
This programme is fully-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the British Library.
06 November 2017
At our 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Week we caught up with one of the panellists from our past event, Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time, which was set to be the flagship event for that year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week at the British Library. Anthony Eskinazi is the founder of the car parking app JustPark, an amazing tool that allows drivers from all over the United Kingdom to choose from millions of available spaces quickly and simply using their smartphones. With 1.5 million drivers already enjoying the benefits of JustPark, we spoke to Anthony about how he did it.
1.The JustPark app promises drivers a hassle-free experience that also saves them money. It sounds amazing but how does it work?
It’s quite simple, to be honest with you. When creating the JustPark app, I really wanted to consider the thought process of your average driver. From planning their journey to reaching their final destination, to eventually finding a parking space and paying.
As most drivers know all too well, parking can be quite a stressful experience when you’ve travelled a long distance to find out that you cannot park your car or have to pay an absolute fortune to do so. With JustPark we eradicate this stress by providing drivers with an easy to use app that finds available parking spaces depending on their location and distance settings. The app will also tell you whether space is going to be available and how much it will cost (if applicable). You can register via your Google or Facebook login and pay using Apple or Android Pay saving you time and taking less than one minute to log in, pay and have your parking space confirmed.
2. JustPark has proven to be a huge success in the United Kingdom. Do you have any plans to expand internationally?
Yes, we do! The aim for us was to test the market in the UK and ensure that we had the right product and service before entering the international market. Since JustPark was founded, we’ve been able to develop a product that is efficient and really does solve a pressing problem for drivers across the world. However, we strongly believe that the UK is one of the best markets for our service and therefore wanted to cement our position in the UK first before going anywhere else.
3. Did the idea for JustPark originate from a bad personal parking experience, or did you just spot an obvious gap in the market?
I would say both. It really stems from a frustrating experience I had driving with a friend in San Francisco when travelling to watch a baseball game. We arrived in good time for the game but ended up wasting a lot of time searching for a parking space. After searching high and low for space and not having too much luck doing so, I thought about asking a homeowner who lived nearby to the stadium if we could pay $10 to park in their driveway. I didn’t do it but the idea for JustPark had been born.
I knew that this was a common theme at events in the UK, especially focused on major events such as Wimbledon, where people would rent out their underused parking spaces. The big difference for me is that the gap was really in the online transactions market, which would make life much easier for drivers, taking away the hassle and guarantee a stress-free experience.
4. With the tech industry constantly evolving at an incredible speed, how do you ensure JustPark stays ahead of the competition?
In an industry like ours, it is very important to continuously invest in research and development. We make sure that the team are up-to-date with the latest technologies and able to learn and develop their understanding of what is happening in the technology and parking industries. It is vital that all of us are involved in this process as it allows us to share knowledge and continue to be at the forefront.
5. Having founded JustPark and seen it grow into a huge success, could you see yourself doing it all over again with a new company?
As things stand I am really enjoying the work I’m doing with JustPark and haven’t thought too much about what comes next. I’ve started investing in interesting high-growth tech start-ups to help me understand different sectors. It would be exciting to try something new but we’ll just have to wait and see.
6. If you could give a young Anthony some advice, what would it be and why?
My first piece of advice would be to have fun and make sure you don’t miss out on life’s enjoyable moments. I think it’s easy to get caught up with your business and forget that a new feature or opportunity is likely to still be there tomorrow. Relationships with close friends and family are important. These are the people who will build you back up and give you a hug after a knock-down and cheer you from the rooftops when things are going well. It is important to find a work-life balance that works for you. Becoming an entrepreneur is a lifestyle, not a career choice.
The second piece of advice would be to work with other people. It makes the entrepreneurial experience much more enjoyable and although you may have to share a piece of the pie, you will benefit from the shared knowledge, experiences and ideas. You don’t have to do it alone!
If you’d like fire some of your own questions to some of the UK’s top entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week and thereafter, don’t forget that the Business & IP Centre will be hosting a range of similar events exploring the theme of entrepreneurship and others. Click here to rewatch the event: Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Question Time 2017, on our YouTube channel.
30 October 2017
In light of #NationalMentoringDay last Friday 27 October - we reached out to our network of successful business owners who have tried their hand at mentoring others within the business and corporate realm. Mentoring has many benefits to all involved, and Managing Director, Ken J Davey shares his first-hand experience of being a mentor and gives some insight into the benefits of mentoring.
Ken is the Managing Director of Smarter Business Mentoring - which draws on extensive commercial and financial knowledge and experience from Corporate and SME operations, to support and encourage business managers and owners to grow, develop and succeed in their sphere of business.
In addition, he is also the Managing Director of Original & Distinctive Limited and a company that specialises in providing quality, niche premium artisan drink products from small producers to up-market hotels & restaurants, wine bars & private member clubs; select wine merchants & specialist shops as well as private clients
We share some insight into Ken’s experience as a mentor;
What drew you to become a mentor?
Mentors can provide answers to questions and suggestions that can make a big difference when it comes to navigating the business world. Having benefited on several occasions from being mentored, I was keen to return some of that value and, mentor bright and determined people on their journey through the world of work, from Start-ups to Corporates.
What benefits have you seen from mentoring, from both sides - yourself and the mentee?
Sharing my business experience to support and encourage a mentee to grow, develop and succeed, was critical to building trust and giving a mentee confidence and encouragement because someone else had ‘been there before’! This meant that without being a subject expert, I could legitimately challenge the mentee on any aspect of their thinking or strategies, thus opening their mind to a wider view of both themselves and their business. It also gave me, as the mentor, greater insight into the value of my anecdotes and business experience as valuable tools to help others.
Have you ever been mentored yourself? (If so what was the experience like)
On several occasions, I have had the benefit of being mentored. This challenged my thinking and my business strategies, which allowed me to have a wider perspective on issues, while also encouraging me to have a better understanding of ‘why’ I pursued certain strategies and, what the consequences of the various outcomes might be.
What is your top piece of advice for someone looking to become a mentor?
If you are looking to become a mentor, then having the willingness to share your business experience (good and bad) to support and encourage individuals to grow, develop and succeed, will be key to a successful mentor/mentee relationship.
How important would you say mentoring others within the business realm is?
Mentoring others within the business realm is considerably important. At KPMG, I was often responsible for developing teams in virtual and entrepreneurial environments. This would include both business development training and mentoring key individuals, including making valuable connections in the business world. Networking is vital for climbing the corporate ladder, so seeing individuals ‘grow and shine’ through mentoring was very satisfying, while it also contributed to the development of the Firm’s professional resource pool.
What was your experience with the I4G programme like and how did it help you with your business?
The Innovating for Growth programme provided a wealth of expertise and advice for my business, Original & Distinctive Limited, which otherwise would not be available to me. The programme covered nearly every aspect of running and business and the combination of 1:1 and group workshops enabled a balance of views and discussions, which were most helpful. I was able to take a helicopter view of my business while also having experts challenge the status quo of, and provide incisive advice for, my business.
Shortly after undertaking the Innovating for Growth programme, when our brand was Smarter International, we rebranded to Smarter Grower Champagne - as a direct result of the Programme. A year or two later, and building on incredible depth of learning from the Programme, we undertook an in-depth strategic exercise that not only led to our third rebranding to Original & Distinctive, but also, building on the new ideas and objectives from the Programme, put in place an innovative and disruptive approach to the UK drinks market, that is underpinned by a strategy to manage the supply chain as a single entity, in order to generate: lower costs, higher quality, better customer service and, higher returns for the organisation, its suppliers and, its investors.
National Mentoring Day offers the chance to celebrate mentoring and appreciate the fantastic work that mentors do throughout the world. We hope you take part in the array of international events and networking that will be taking place.
The Business and IP Centre runs daily workshops as part of the Innovating for Growth programme from an array of expert industry leaders who offer some insightful knowledge and brief mentoring session at the end of their workshops.
29 October 2017
In 2012, Franck Jehanne and Brijesh Patel joined the Innovating for Growth programme with the hope of taking their then fledgeling business, Kalory (a London-based photo and video studio) to the next level. Courtesy of the specialist support provided, which focused on everything from maximizing their Intellectual Property to refining their business model, Kalory has gone from strength to strength and now counts huge brands such as Rolex, Cartier and Habitat as some their clients
With such an impressive client-list it’s probably not too surprising that they’ve been able to amass a wealth of knowledge that has helped them to stay ahead of the game. In this article, co-founder of Kalory, Franck, talks about an important trend that he’s noticed in recent years and it’s one that all business owners should not ignore.
Approximately 87% of British consumers have made an online purchase in the last 12 months, and the United Kingdom only comes after Norway for buying online in Europe.
With the increase of e-retailing, the photography needs of a brand or a retailer have changed. Advertising campaigns for print media, point-of-sale displays, billboard advertising and TV commercials are now sharing their budgets with the increased needs for a stronger web presence both on the website of the business and on its social media networks.
At Kalory Photo & Video Studio, we have seen a marked change in our client’s requests since the beginning of the year. This trend has been seen across all the different industries we are working with, from multi-brand e-retailers, jewellery, watches, cosmetics, chocolates, drinks, furniture, and sports brands too. The same trends seem to be valid for both start-ups and very established businesses. This is an empirical analysis of our field experiences in the last 12 months.
The first trend, which seems extremely strong, is an increase in the quality of product photography. For many, a packshot is a packshot, but there are actually different levels of quality possible and the quality of lighting and retouching can vary tremendously for the same product, and so does the final image. The camera used has an impact too. Since the beginning of the year, we have noticed a real change in the way clients approach packshots. Budget allocated to this important visual section of the website has been increased and even outside the luxury industry, brands are upgrading the attention to detail for all their e-commerce photography: positioning, colour correction, control of the reflections, visibility of the branding, etc.
Professional Instagram pictures
The development of Instagram stories allows businesses to keep in touch in a more relaxed and spontaneous way with their customers, while they are paying more attention to the quality of photography posted on their main feed. Instagram stories are perfect for quick snapshots taken by the communication teams to keep their audience posted on what is going on. The feed is increasingly becoming a visual platform showing what the brand’s values are. The colour tones (cold or warm), the type of images posted (lifestyle, architectural lines, etc.) are key elements to consider in order to create a consistent feed that attracts followers. Posting again and again about your products is not enough. The trend we have observed since March is to organise short photo shoots of one to four hours with a selection of products and props and to shoot a series of creative images with a basic to medium level of professional retouching. This enables us to create a large number of images on a reduced budget. The images are controlled and professionally lit, but still natural and not overly airbrushed which is the perfect blend for Instagram. This is especially effective when a mood board and a shooting list and schedule have been carefully prepared; it can be interesting for example to create a series of images with a certain colour-tone followed by another series with a slight change in colours to create waves on the feed.
Videos & moving images
The use of video is also a trend that has been growing fast in recent years; product videos and event videos mostly, but we have recently seen a surge in social media videos (which are usually around 15 seconds), as well as cinemagraphs. They are mostly visuals without interviews or any sound takes and with a simple story, but need to be efficiently edited to get the right social media interactions.
An increased involvement and commitment from brands.
An increasing number of clients are more involved, prepared and put more thought in their photography brief. This is a clear sign of the importance photography and video has gained in the marketing and communication conversation. PR and marketing teams are also more involved and have become very hands-on, using mood boards, stories and precise creative ideas and angles, as well as a good analysis of what the competition is doing to convincingly convey their messages.
The use of photography is definitely changing quickly. Everyone is taking pictures. The life of a picture is both very short, almost instant, and very long: the image itself has to be impactful immediately, but it is also part of an overall visual display (Instagram feed, Facebook page, etc.) that will remain online, so the thought process when creating it, is definitely key.
Knowing how fast visual communication and social media are changing, there is no doubt, that new trends will emerge soon, and brands and retailers need to keep a close eye on what is happening in this field of communication if they want to stay on the top of their game.
Franck Jehanne is the co-founder of Kalory Photo & Video, which offers professional photography services in London and all over the UK. The studio is located in London Bridge, SE1, but the team also shoots on location at clients’ premises. If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of Franck and believe your business has what it takes, why not apply now for Innovating for Growth and take your business to the next level?
15 October 2017
Jennifer Earle, with her enticingly named Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, founded her business back in 2005 by doing the things she loved best; learning, discovering London, meeting new people and tasting delicious food, especially chocolate! We caught up with Jennifer, a recent graduate of the Innovating for Growth programme, to find out how her business started and to learn about an exciting new development that is underway.
What was your background before starting Chocolate Ecstasy Tours?
I ran the Chocolate Ecstasy tours business alongside full-time work, including a role as a Food Buyer at Marks & Spencer and a Food Developer at McDonald’s. I was already writing about food part-time and, from 2006 I started to get invited to speak on the radio and TV, as well as judge food awards and speak at events.
I finally began working fulltime on Chocolate Ecstasy Tours in 2013 and added more tours, more dates and more workshops and events – including teaching chocolate workshops in schools and running food innovation days for companies. The tours gradually became premium as the experience and knowledge of my guiding team increased and we reduced the maximum number of guests on a tour to eight.
This commitment to quality was always going to restrict how large I could grow the tours business. I really wanted to make something that could reach more people and promote more of the amazing food businesses we have in London, but in a way that still hit the core values of quality, discovery, effortlessness and fun. I’d been mulling over the options for years, but the idea for Taste Tripper didn’t all click into place until one evening in 2015. I shared the idea with my husband who was so enthusiastic about it he wanted to get involved.
What makes Taste Tripper unique?
Taste Tripper is the world’s first self-guided tasting tour business. Our Explorer Packs are a really effortless and flexible way to discover part of London’s amazing food scene. The partner locations in the Taste Tripper Explorer Packs all offer something delicious for you, just for turning up! And, like a VIP, you get a special deal on any extra purchases, too.
What we hope will keep us unique is our commitment to quality. We will only ever send people to places that we believe are fabulous.
What challenges has the business faced along the way?
Being a new concept meant that we had to convince businesses to work with us. In principle this has been easy but, as we mostly work with small businesses that have a lot on their plate, it can take time to get them to send us the information we need and approve things.
We had some dire printing errors which were quite expensive. I don’t think we could have done anything differently to have avoided them. We also had our trademark challenged by a big company which meant thousands on legal fees before we’d even made a hundred sales. There were tough decisions to make but we are proud that we stood our ground and won!
Through the British Library Innovating for Growth programme we had fantastic, honest feedback and we called our first customers for more of the same. It’s been so enlightening and inspiring and made us go back to the drawing board on quite a few significant things. It’s been quite frustrating that it has taken us some months to get the changes ready, but they are finally live!
What advice would you give to any small business owners thinking of developing a new product?
The most valuable thing for us was contacting customers and asking them to speak with us and give us feedback. The sooner you can do this, the better. Trying to sell as soon as possible will show you if there’s a market. But then you need to ask those people who parted with money if they are happy and how they could be happier.
We probably would have benefited from discussing our ideas with more people and listening harder for their suggestions. But people will tell you different things so try to focus only on the things that keep being mentioned. It’s important to have the courage of your convictions over the smaller stuff, especially if you think you know your market well.
I would also advise anyone that good products don’t happen quickly. Whatever time span you had planned for launch or growth: double it. And maybe double it again.
You grew the business with the help of our Innovating for Growth programme. What specifically did the programme help you achieve?
The honest feedback from experienced people was invaluable. It forced us to really look at what was working, what wasn’t and what was important. We got clearer on what we wanted the business to stand for, how we could communicate that and what changes we needed to make. The technical advice for ensuring we have a watertight business was also brilliant and so useful.
During the three months we decided to change the redemption from tear-off paper strips on the cards to online redemption, whilst still keeping the attractive giftable Explorer Pack (it all seems so obvious now!) and we also decided to add a map to the homepage so customers could create their own London Explorer Pack. We’ll eventually offer neighbourhood Explorer Packs, too. It really feels like we have a much more solid business with real potential for growth. I’m so excited!
Are you an ambitious business owner looking to scale up, like Jennifer? If so, Innovating for Growth is a free three-month programme to help you turn your growth idea into a reality. Find out more and apply now.
13 October 2017
The British Library is thrilled to welcome the latest addition to its network of Business & IP Centres – located in the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library.
The Centre was officially launched yesterday on the 11th October 2017 and is now the eleventh city in this network across the UK – with free intellectual property and business information, training workshops and one-to-one advice available to local entrepreneurs; the launch of this new Business & IP Centre has been extremely well received.
At the launch event, start-ups from across Norwich heard from a special panel of the region’s successful food industry founders led by award-winning chef and founder of Charlie's Norfolk Food Heroes, Charlie Hodson. Questions were put to chef and restaurateur at Benedicts, Richard Bainbridge, Candi Robertson, founder of Candi’s Chutney, and Mike Deal, founder of Wildcraft Brewery, and were left inspired to develop their own enterprises.
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said: “The success of the Business & IP Centre model is evidence of the strong connection between libraries and business, and I’m thrilled to see this link reinforced again with the opening of a new Centre for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Norwich.
“Our vision is to create 20 such Business & IP Centres by the end of the decade, and I look forward to working with our city library partners to achieve this goal and to spearhead business growth and innovation in cities across the UK.”
Each Business & IP Centre provides an inspirational space for entrepreneurs to come together to network, attend events and access a wealth of resources including business databases such as Mintel market research reports, plus consumer data, trendspotting for the UK and worldwide as well as information on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright.
The Business & IP Centre at the British Library opened in London in 2006. Since then it has helped more than 700,000 entrepreneurs and helped create an average of 550 businesses and 1,200 jobs every year.
Find out more about the services on offer at www.norfolk.gov.uk/bipcnorfolk, or follow Business & IP Centre Norfolk on Twitter @BIPCNorfolk
09 October 2017
Starting and growing a business can be exciting and very rewarding, and at the British Library’s Business & IP Centre we can help you to achieve all of your entrepreneurial goals. However, there are factors that aren’t often spoken about when we talk about the life of a business owner. Entrepreneurs typically dedicate long hours and lots of energy and effort to building their company and there is a risk that this can lead to burn-out unless care is taken. As today is World Mental Health Day, we would like to take the opportunity to challenge the assumptions about mental health and equip ourselves with the necessary tools to maintain balance.
Tom Costley, Operations Director for Mind in Camden, explains why he thinks entrepreneurs are sometimes at risk of developing poor mental health and suggests some practical tips and strategies that entrepreneurs can employ to protect their mental wellbeing and maintain a work-life balance.
Why might there be a risk of an entrepreneur experiencing issues with their mental health?
Entrepreneurs typically have a high sense of purpose, meaning and drive in their lives, and this is actually great for positive mental health. However, there can be a downside to this if the drive to succeed comes at the detriment of other things which help keep us in balance. For example, if building the business becomes the only focus of the entrepreneur’s world and they pour all their energies into it, then they risk neglecting some other important factors which help sustain their good mental health, such as our personal relationships or downtime for relaxation. Often entrepreneurs can feel so driven to succeed that they imagine they are immune to the consequences of neglecting their wellbeing and ignore tell-tale signs and symptoms. Lack of sleep, for example, can lead us to feel irritable and frustrated and affect our decision making. Business owners may feel we can ride through this and carry on working, but ultimately it will negatively impact on how effective they are in their business and on their chances of success. For example, they might unintentionally be snappy with an important client, forget an important deadline or experience ‘brain fog’ and lack of clarity when making an important decision with long-term implications.
Entrepreneurs can also be emotionally high-risk takers, investing 100% of themselves in their business to the extent it becomes an extension of their personal identity and it is difficult to see where the business ends and the person begins. We see this a lot currently as the trend for social media and video content creates an expectation for business owners to be more visible than ever before, which creates additional pressure. This may not be a problem when the business is working well and experiencing success, but should the business then take a dip that entrepreneur can find that their self-esteem is so closely entwined with their work that they experience a disproportionate reaction and fall into a ‘slump’. This is why preserving a sense of self which is separate from the business is vitally important in enabling us to ride through challenges and maintain perspective.
For an entrepreneur, having their identity very closely connected to their business can also compromise their emotional honesty. This may be particularly true for people who are at the early stage of building a business when the appearance of success and confidence is everything and we are taught to ‘fake it until we make it’. Of course, there is an element of this that may be necessary as part of a business strategy. However, to safeguard against becoming disconnected from reality it is important to have someone who you can be more revealing with, and share what is really going on: your fears and anxiety as well as your hopes and ambitions. This might be a great friend or partner, or perhaps even a mentor figure or a counsellor. Whoever it is, make sure you allow time in your busy schedule to connect with them.
What are the warning signs of poor mental health that entrepreneurs should look out for?
It’s important to remember that mental health is personal: it’s about understanding ourselves. We all have different warning signs which may indicate to us that we are heading out of balance. One useful way to approach this is to be aware of how we are when we are feeling ‘ok’ and then to consciously monitor ourselves if we feel some of these things are noticeably worse. Typical warning signs that things are tipping in the wrong direction might include:
- Poor concentration
- Altered sleep pattern or lack of sleep
- Feelings of confusion or compromised ability to make decisions
- Levels of sociability
- Sense of connection to those close to us
- Ability to see the ‘bigger picture’ and maintain perspective
It’s important to take account of our individuality when monitoring our mental health; we need to compare ourselves to what is healthy and normal for us rather than for other people. For example, whilst social contact is important for good mental health, we all thrive off different levels and types of social engagement depending on our personalities.
Do you have any tops hints and tips that you could recommend to help entrepreneurs/business owners look after their mental health more effectively?
Again this is personal, so knowing yourself is essential. Identify what keeps you resourced away from your business and ensure you build in time to do this with full presence and commitment. Preserving time to switch off and be with the important people in your life, or simply spending time doing something which gives you joy and helps you connect with life beyond work, really can make all the difference. This could be a sport, gardening, walking, reading or just being with friends and family. Because they don’t keep set working hours, business owners can have a tendency to feel tremendously guilty about taking time out for themselves. In order to commit to doing this, you may need to keep reminding yourself of the benefits: switching off from your business every once in a while will increase your creativity, give you renewed energy and ensure you are keeping fully charged in order to make your business a success.
Innovation and enterprise blog recent posts
- IP Corner: Happy World Intellectual Property Day!
- The Five Step Facebook Marketing Strategy
- Why in-person marketing trumps content and digital
- Innovating for Growth: We Built This City
- How JustPark found a space in the market
- National Mentoring Day – Ken J Davey speaks about his experience on mentoring
- A social media trend to help your business grow
- Innovating for Growth: London tours with a tasty twist
- Business & IP Centre Norfolk opens its doors to the county’s SMEs
- Growing your business without burning yourself out