May 10th, 2016    

I was recently asked to speak at the Adur and Worthing Food Expo about restaurant marketing and branding. The event focused on food intolerances and it was an amazing day organised by Andy Sparsis of Proto Restaurant Group, Sharon Clarke of Worthing Town Centre Initiative and Adur and Worthing CouncilsYou can see my talk at #awfoodexpo on YouTube.

Being a ‘food intolerant’ (wheat, dairy and egg white) foodie, I want to share with you how food intolerant customers can help your restaurant to become more innovative and grow to be a strong, healthy brand.

So what is the definition of marketing?

The Chartered Institute of Marketing suggests that marketing is about satisfying customers at a profit. However, it has been proven that satisfied customers are not necessarily loyal. You have to EXCEED customers’ expectations for them to become loyal. Think about it, if you visit a restaurant and it is just OK, would you rush to go back?

There is good news for restaurants in the South East because the Office for National Statistics reveals that disposable income increased by £1500 per household in 2014/15 compared to the previous year and the South East has the second highest level of disposal income in the the UK.

However, to earn all this disposal income people have to work harder and as a result, they have less time to relax. When they do have one spare night to go out as a couple or a family, that evening is cherished. They want to feel special. They want to have the best experience and don’t want to feel like they have wasted their precious time.

Restaurant marketing is about much more than menu and advert design

Menu and advert design is classified as ‘promotions’ which is just one of the seven marketing P’s and you should only promote your restaurant once you have something to shout about. Therefore, your restaurant needs to keep adding customer value which means you need to understand what customers want. This article will help restaurants to keep customers EXTREMELY satisfied.

There is a marketing tool called PEST to help businesses to do this, however, PEST and restaurants don’t really belong together, therefore for this exercise I shall use the evolved marketing tool called STEEPLE.

How does STEEPLE work? Each letter of STEEPLE represents an element of the macro-environment which highlights potential threats and opportunities for your business. This blog explains the ‘S’ element of STEEPLE. You can watch my talk to find out about the other STEEPLE elements. I will also cover the other STEEPLE elements in future blogs.

S stands for SOCIAL. This looks at changes in trends and what happens here eventually results in new legislation.

Think demographics. Think diversity, food intolerances and celebrity chefs! Much of what we eat is down to the celebrity chef of the moment and many of them are raising issues such as sugar-overload and wastefulness.

Am I an alien?

Food intolerances and allergies are high on the agenda. This is a subject close to my heart because I have am intolerant to diary, gluten and egg white. When I was first tested, 197 out of 200 foods were fine. Wheat, casein (dairy) and egg white were no-go areas. Unfortunately these three foods appear in most every processed food and restaurant menu.

Do you know how much I crave for a huge french stick with lashings of Brie? Occasionally I relent but I regret it for days afterwards. I’ve not seen a restaurant dessert menu that is dairy, gluten and egg white free. This is frustrating because I only have to pop to Waitrose and see the almond milk and oat cream which I successfully use at home.

When I attend a function with a set menu and I advise them of my food intolerances, I am generally given the same dish as everyone else, without the sauce, which is dry and not something I look forward to. Then for dessert it is fruit salad, while everyone else is enjoying cheesecake or similar. Waitrose sell dairy-free ice-cream. It’s delicious.

Food is only 50% of the problem. Imagine you are meeting a top client at a restaurant and you ask the waiter or waitress which dishes are safe. On occasions, the restaurant staff have looked at me like I’m an alien and common comments include, ‘there’s always one!’ or ‘high maintenance’ – perhaps in jest, but still hurtful. Not a great environment for positive energy or impressing valuable clients. Needless to say I choose restaurants where I feel safe and that the attitude to intolerances is embraced. What I’m saying here is that attitude is as important, if not more important than your food. This is your chance to be a restaurant leader and see people like me as an opportunity to practice innovation.

Diversity breeds creativity

Food intolerances give restaurants an opportunity to be creative. Did you know that diversity breeds creativity? The allergen laws are becoming stricter – why wait until the laws push you into change?

I applaud restaurants like Proto Restaurant Group who have introduced separate gluten-free menus and are sensitive to customer needs.

Basically I have little time to eat out, so when I do, I want as much choice as other customers and to be treated as a valued customer – not a pain in the neck.

After being diagnosed with intolerances I ate at home for the first couple of years because I was fed up with the lack of safe food on offer. I created some fabulous dishes and launched #smileyfoodface and you can follow me on Instagram.

I wonder how many other people with food intolerances are also eating at home because they can eat more interesting dishes than they can when they are out?  The whole attitude needs to change.

I’d be interested to hear of other restaurants that are safe for people with food intolerances. Please call Vicky Vaughan on 07909 693172 or email and I will help to promote you.

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March 20th, 2016    
How to generate the best ideas
With organisations striving to achieve more with fewer resources, how can you keep generating the best ideas?

Brainstorming is a fantastic approach to creating new ideas and marketing strategies to overcome problems and challenges, however, it is essential that your brainstorming team is made up of the right people to avoid ‘group think’, otherwise team members will agree with each other; constraining ideas rather than generating them. This article helps you to set up the most effective brainstorming team.

Before I begin, there has been much debate over the term ‘brainstorming’; Epilepsy Action conducted a survey and 93% of people with epilepsy didn’t find the term offensive and accepted it as mainly positive. This article is written with the positive context in mind.

Did you know that face-to-face groups can actually generate fewer ideas than individuals?

Therefore, it is recommended that you encourageindividual team members work on their own ideas first and then join the brainstorming group to combine and develop each member’s ideas (Osborn, 1953). Developing ideas in teams in general, promotes more dynamic ideas (Stoner, 1961), therefore, a dual approach is recommended.

A diverse brainstorming group develops the very best ideas …

Rushing straight into a brainstorming session with no preparation can result in group members failing to reach their potential because of apprehension and fear of embarrassment which is a barrier to effective brainstorming (Milliken, Diehl & Stroebe, 1987, Gibson & Vermeulen, 2003). Not only will the brainstorming sessions be lacking in trust, lack of investment in understanding team members may damage employee relationships and harm organisational culture in and out of sessions.

Did you know that creativity can be stimulated by increasing the demographic diversity of the brainstorming group?

Although it may seem natural to create brainstorming teams from employees who have previously bonded, research has shown that pre-formed groups may offer fewer ideas because they are more likely to agree and conform with their peers (Phillips, 2003). They may also be reluctant to share ideas in case they are negatively judged by their group members (Camacho & Paulus, 1995).

Brainstorming teams are more effective when they include a few members from four or more demographic groups; they are more likely to pay attention, learn and stimulate each other and resulting in a wider range of ideas: “People tend to be more accepting of different ideas and information when it comes from people who are different rather than similar to oneself” (Phillips et al., 2004). Brainstorming teams which consist of two demographics can adopt a ‘them and us’  group culture.

Members from different organisational departments will also add to the diversity of the group, for example, if you ask your team to discuss an idea, an accountant would add a financial perspective, a designer would have a creative perspective and so on. They would all have different priorities and approaches which helps to ensure that ideas are scrutinised from all angles.

Ensure your team feels psychologically safe

“Creativity at the group level requires that group members feel psychologically safe to express one’s ideas” (Diehl & Stroebe, 1987; Edmondson, 1999).

Your employees are as important as your clients and you should take time to discover how their strengths will contribute to the group dynamics.

If you are facilitating a brainstorming session, it is essential that you know the best way to contribute to your team and how to get the best out of your brainstorming team. Executive coaching is an effective tool to develop these skills.

How do you know if your ideas are the best?

Success of your brainstorming team can be measured by the willingness of team members to express ideas, the ’sense of belongingness’ and the amount of interacting with the members of the team. Creativity at group level is typically measured by the sheer number of ideas a group is able to generate in a fixed amount of time (Brophy, 1998).

You can only measure the strength of ideas once they are implemented and innovation can only happen once you implement ideas. Flexible organisations are not afraid to takes risks and test new ideas; they venture into exciting new pastures and disrupt the market.

Measure ideas generated by your team against your company mission, vision and values – do they align closely? If not, there is a chance that you are not promoting the organisation values clearly in which case you should develop an internal marketing communications plan.

If you would like to develop your leadership skills and learn how to get the best from your team, call me, Vicky Vaughan, Chartered Marketer and Executive Coach, on 07909 693172 or email


  • Brewer MB (1991), The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17(5), 475-482.
  • Brophy DR (1998), Understanding, measuring, and enhancing collective creative problem-solving efforts. Creativity Research Journal, 11, 199-229.
  • Camacho LM & Paulus PB (1995), The role of social anxiousness in group brainstorming. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 1071-1080.
  • Diehl M, Strobe,W (1987), Productivity loss in brainstorming groups: Toward the solution of a riddle, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1, 497-509.
  • Edmondson A (1999), Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44, 350-383.
  • Gibson C & Vermeulen F (2003), A healthy divide: Subgroups as a stimulus for team learning behavior. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48, 202-239.
  • McGrath J E (1984), Groups: Interaction and performance. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
  • McGrath JE (1997), Small group research, that once and future field: An interpretation of the past with an eye toward the future, Group Dynamics, 1 (1), 7-27
  • McGrath JE (1984), Groups: Interaction and Performance, New York: Prentice Hall
  • Milliken FJ, Martins LL (1996), Searching for common threads: Understanding the multiple effects of diversity in organisational groups. Academy of Management Review, 21(2), 402-433.
  • Osborn, AF (1953). Applied Imagination. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  • Paulus B, Yang HC (2000), Idea generation in groups: A basis for creativity in organizations. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 82, 1, 76-87.
  • Perry-Smith, JE, Shalley CE (2003), The social side of creativity: A static and dynamic social network perspective. Academy of Management Review, 29, 89-106.
  • Phillips,KW (2003), The effects of categorically based expectations on minority influence: The importance of congruence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1, 3-13.
  • Phillips KY, Mannix EA, Neale MA, Gruenfeld DH (2004), Diverse groups and information sharing: The effects of congruent ties. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 497-510.
  • Phillips, KW, Northcraft G, Neale M (2006), Surface-level diversity and information sharing in groups: When does deep-level similarity help? Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 9, 4, 467-482.
  • Shelley CE, Gilson LL (2004), What leaders need to know: A review of social and contextual factors that can foster or hinder creativity. Leadership Quarterly, 15: 33-53.
  • Stoner JAF (1961), A comparison of individual and group decisions involving risk.,Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Strobe W, Diehl, M, Abakoumkin G (1992), The illusion of group effectivity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 18, 643-650
  • Williams K, O’Reilly C (1998), Demography and diversity in organizations: A review of 40 years of research. In B. M. Staw & L. L.

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March 8th, 2016    
Rebranding with confidence

NPFSynergy conducted a survey where 69% of people perceived rebranding to be a waste of money. If your charity is changing direction and is reaching out to a new donor segment, you may need to rebrand, so how can you do this without being perceived to waste donor money?

If your charity has recently merged, or is looking to add a new service, or your existing brand is causing confusion, then you may have no choice than to rebrand. Coupled with the fact that “The culture of the voluntary sector has become predatory rather than collaborative … this culture had helped to increase the gap in the sector between the largest organisations and the grass-roots ones.” (, 2012). This means that when your charity is applying for funding, your branding must clearly communicate how it will make the most impact”. Rebranding must reflect your USP and it must be done carefully to reduce the risk of donors thinking you are wasting their hard-earned money on a rebrand.

However, rebranding should be done with care.

We all know that a rebrand is much more involved than a new logo design. A rebrand involves all elements of your organisation – from creating new vision, mission and values to align with your objectives and marketing strategy, engaging stakeholders including staff,  volunteers, donors and service users to promote  buy-in and promote your new brand. Margaret Wheatley in her book, Finding our Way: Leadership for an uncertain time, says: “People Support what they Create” so all stakeholders must be involved from the start. This will reduce rebranding costs for charities long-term because your stakeholders will be cascading your vision and you reduce the risk of wasted marketing budgets.

Charities are scrutinised much more heavily than private companies, therefore, this lack of trust may result in lack of employee engagement (Lee F, 2009). Involving staff from the start of a rebranding project will help to promote trust which will result in enhanced service user experience.

Branding to attracting donations

Money is tight. Therefore, before people donate, they want to know exactly where their money is going.

Many charities have become increasingly dependent upon their success in the donor market. The donor market is split between the consumer, public sector and corporate sectors. Competition for the donors’ market seems to have heightened in recent years so your charity brand needs to work hard to attract your chosen market. Charities who have the cute factor, benefit from the ‘Aaaah’ factor. If you charity has a less cute factor then it is essential to promote the ‘real issues’ behind your charity.

The donor market is changing. Unfortunately, charity organisational cultures in general are not responsive to change and also score less on innovation to meet beneficiary needs (Chapman, 2010).

Connecting charities and Corporates

Businesses are under pressure to be transparent too and being social responsible is big business. There has never been a better time to connect. A survey (LaFrancois H A, 1991) conducted with corporates revealed that in general, they indicated positive attitude towards cause related marketing. Examples of cause-related marketing are Innocent and Age UK’s bobble hats and Waitrose Community Matters scheme. There are 2.45 million enterprises registered for VAT in 2015 and there are only 165,290 charities.

How to tug the heartstrings of donors ethically

There are now 165,290 UK charities (as at 31st December 2015) with a combined income of £70 billion. Where does your charity sit in the market?

Research indicates that there is a  “compassion fatigue” which means there is a general feeling that there are too many charitable demands due to decline in disposable incomes.

As with commercial marketing, you need to think: “What’s in it for me if I donate to this charity?” Shapiro (1973) advises that the value to donors in exchange for their funds and volunteering time are psychological and include “relief of guilt”, “the need of self-esteem” or “concern for humanity”. Therefore your marketing communications need to convey how you will meet these needs.


Wheatley M ( 2007), Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time, Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Shapiro, B. (1973), Marketing for nonprofit organisations, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 50, September-October, European Journal of Marketing

Shapiro, B.P. (1988), “What the hell is market-oriented?”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 66, November-December, European Journal of Marketing .

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February 18th, 2016    

There is an amazing tool in LinkedIn you may not be aware of. It’s called the Social Selling Index (SSI). It measures some powerful key performance indicators and is updated daily. The scoring is based on:

  • Effectiveness of our professional brand
  • Finding the right people
  • Engaging with insights
  • Building relationships

We are so proud that our SSI places us:

  • In the top 1% Industry ranking amongst Sales professionals in the Marketing and Advertising industry.
  • In the top 4% ranking amongst people in our network.

In the B2B world cold selling is out – making meaningful connections and therefore warm selling is in, and one of the ways to do this is by using the power of LinkedIn. Here are some remarkable statistics from LinkedIn:

How to improve my LinkedIn profile

The importance of building relationships:

+73% of B2B buyers prefer sales professionals who have been referred by someone they know.
+87% of B2B buyers said they would have a favourable impression of a salesperson who was introduced to them through someone in their professional network.

The importance of establishing your professional brand:

+81% of buyers are more likely to engage with a strong professional brand.
+92% of B2B buyers engage with sales professionals if they are known industry thought leaders.

The importance of finding the right people:

+45% Sale reps that exceed quota saved 45% more leads than those that didn’t.
+69% Sales reps who viewed the profiles of at least 10 people at each of their accounts were 69%  more likely to exceed quota.

The importance of engaging with insights

+64% Nearly 64% of B2B buyers report that they appreciate hearing from a salesperson who provides knowledge or insight about their business.
+70% You are 70% more likely to get an appointment or an unexpected sale if you are a member in LinkedIn Groups.

If you are looking to build or improve on your SSI – get in touch, we can create impactful branding solutions for your business from the INSIDE as well as helping you to forge super strong leadership within your teams with our executive coaching expertise.

Wouldn't you like to improve your Social Selling rankings?

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February 3rd, 2016    

How to create a charity impact report

It is important for your charity to create a visually stunning impact report to clearly show funders and donors how their money is being invested. Impact reports can also be used as a promotional document for new funders. Charity impact reports should follow your corporate branding guidelines. There is a tried-and-tested method to writing a charity impact report. Here are some tips:

1. What is the problem is your charity solving?

In the case of our clients, Coastal West Sussex Mind is overcoming and managing Mental Illness. However it is also raising awareness to overcome the stigma attached to mental illness. Many people are too scared to admit they have a mental health problem so will try to act normal for longer which can cause more stress. Carers Support looks after carers of people who are ill and alleviates associated stress that many unpaid carers face.

2. How does your charity approach the solutions to these problems?

The next step is to identify the services you provide and the approach you take to overcome the problems that your charity addresses. For example, Coastal West Sussex Mind provides training and support services for service users, workplaces and other stakeholders. Experienced mental health professionals train workplaces to train people on signs to look out for. In the case of Carers Support, it provides funding, medical equipment, support and respite for unpaid carers. It is useful to demonstrate how the services fit together.

3. What does that achieve?

This is a basic marketing question; you must establish the challenges that your service users face and demonstrate how your charity overcomes for challenges. In the case of mental health service users, they may face challenges including stress attached to social stigma, loneliness, difficulty getting or keeping a job, difficulty finding decent housing to live in. Therefore mental health charity services will help and train service users find new housing, new jobs and how to tackle mental social stigmas. For unpaid carers, Carers Support will help alleviate stress. People who become carers are often close to the person who is ill and the previous relationship will change. Overcoming this change is just one of the many psychological challenges unpaid carers face. With cuts in Government spending, carers are finding it harder to access funding so Carers Support also offer financial support, which alleviates some stress.

It is important for your charity to go deeper than saying it helps mental health or carers. It must understand the ‘person’ and the challenges that the condition or situation brings.

4. How do people know that your charity is making a difference?

Now is the time to show stakeholders how your charity measures its performance. In our last blog we explained how some charities are perceived to be frittering money on admin. Throughout the impact report, you have reported how you meet the challenges of service users.  Now you need to promote the evidence of the impact your charity has made. For example, how many service users have benefitted, feedback from service users, web stats to prove you are raising awareness of the public and are accessible to services users. Remember that some soft issues are harder to measure, however, it is still important to report them. This part of the impact report can benefit from using stunning infographics.

5. How is your charity developing and learning?

It is healthy and good practice to promote that you have areas where your charity wants to improve. Here you will display your charity objectives for the next year or so. You can also promote the challenges you have overcome yourself as a charity. In the case of Coastal West Sussex Mind, they merged in 2014 so the impact report promoted the strength of the merged organisation. If your charity has adopted a coaching culture and your leaders are developing through executive coaching, this is a positive statement to promote.

The Brand Surgery® is a brand development consultancy in West Sussex and we help many organisations to grow their brand through leadership development, strategic marketing and creative communications. Take a look at the impact reports we have created for Coastal West Sussex Mind and Carers Support. If you would like a new-look impact report witten and created for your charity, please call Vicky on 01903 824229.

Testimonial from Anne Hardy, Carers Support: The Brand Surgery provided excellent, bite-sized advice on how to present our impact report from scratch. They helped us with the contents and logical order. They then designed a stunning report, promoting our statistics in an effective manner, which has been well received by stakeholders. Throughout this project, The Brand Surgery® was proactive in offering advice to make this impact report a success. We would have no hesitation of recommending their services to other charities”

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January 20th, 2016    
Costa's Liquid Gold Olive Oil

Costa's Liquid Gold Olive Oil

We are pleased to announce that this delicious organic olive oil is now available via Proto Restaurant Group website.

The packaging design brief was to be as rustic as possible! We used a combination of Adobe Photoshop effects and hand-drawn illustration to achieve the rustic feel. We use Adobe illustrator to create the olive border. The finished design was printed on brown paper and the bottles are lovingly hand-wrapped. The leaflet we designed is tied on with string.

The leaflet uses the same illustrations as the packaging to create consistency.

We are rather pleased with the end result. The oil is perfect for dipping bread in and also for cooking. Purchase it now via the via Proto Restaurant Group website.

The Brand Surgery is the No. 1 branding and marketing consultancy in Worthing. We create great brands from the inside out. This packaging design project is a good example of our creative work. You will see other designs we have worked on for this client by visiting our corporate identity page.


Costa Liquid Gold Olive Oil

Costa Liquid Gold Olive OilCosta Liquid Gold Olive OilCosta Liquid Gold Olive Oil

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January 12th, 2016    

Charities and third sector had never had it so tough, yet the number of charities increased by 1015 in 2015 to 165,290. The Charities Commission has recently published the charity statistics up to 31/12/15. This means there is increased competition for both public and private funding. Registered charitable organisations now have a combined annual income approaching £40 billion and account for 4.8% of all UK employment {

“The culture of the voluntary sector has become predatory rather than collaborative … this culture had helped to increase the gap in the sector between the largest organisations and the grass-roots ones.” (, 2012). This makes it even more important for your charity to understand and overcome the barriers to fundraising.

The expanding number of charitable organizations has increased “competition” for donations.

Problems with the government’s shift from grants to contracts mean that some charities feel it is inappropriate to spend money on a competitive process that may lead to nothing.

Psychological barriers to fundraising

UK Giving conducted a survey of 1042 British Charity donors asking them if they agreed/disagreed with the following statements:

  • “If I knew how money was directly helping, I would feel more inclined to give to charity” 70% agreed
  • “There are so many charities it is difficult to decide which to give to” 68% agreed
  • “I am worried that if I give I will just be asked for more” 53% agreed
  • “Charities don’t understand the financial and time pressures people are under” 55% agreed
  • “The causes charities support don’t catch my imagination” 26% agreed
  • “I don’t think giving to charity makes a meaningful difference” 24% agreed

To overcome these beliefs requires tailored marketing strategies. As you will see below, people are still facing financial constraints, so if you want their money, you must overcome the above perceptions. With charity marketing laws tightening up, you can no longer bombard donors with direct mail. Successful charities are donor orientated and you can read more about this below.

Attracting donations

  • Before people donate, they want to know exactly where their money is going
  • Competition for the donors’ market seems to have heightened in recent years due to a number of factors
  • People are more willing to help individuals than the masses
Economical barriers to fundraising

“The fundraising landscape in the UK, and indeed across the entire EU, has become intensely unpredictable and turbulent. The central cause for this condition is the current economic global downturn, which is estimated to cost the charitable sector approximately £2.3bn in funding shortfall alone” (Little and Jordan, 2008).
Although it’s been seven years since the 2008 recession and the economy is growing, people are still feeling the impact and perhaps lack of disposable income. City AM states that there is normally a recession every ten years, so we may be due for another one within three or four years, which may feel worse than the last one because we still haven’t built reserves up after the last recession.

The values on offer to donors in exchange for their funds, time and/or energy, are mainly psychological and social and involve “relief of guilt”, “the need of self-esteem” or “concern for humanity”. Marketing’s role in this context is to create and maintain these as “satisfying exchanges”.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), Jonathan Portes, has said that although the UK will regain its pre-recession peak soon, individuals won’t feel as well off as pre-recession times for a couple of years. One third of the top 300 charities in the UK have already witnessed a decline in donations from 2006 to 2007 (Pharaoh, 2008).

Charities must plan marketing strategies and understand donor behaviour if they are to persuade individuals to give.

Lack of strategic marketing expertise is a barrier to fundraising

Did you now that faith-based giving attracts £4.6bn in the UK (Blackmore, 2005) and medical charities benefit from being the largest recipients of individual donations in the UK for the past decade (Pharoah, 2006).

The survival and organizational success of the top charities, at least, appears to become increasingly dependent on their success in the donor market. The donor market is split between the consumer, public sector and corporate sectors.

With all these external barriers to fundraising, it is essential to understand what drives individuals to donate. Understanding what motivates a donor to choose a particular charity has never been greater. Charities must be innovative to attract donors which means they must differentiate and commercialise themselves (Lundgaard, Jens 2013).

The greater the donor-market orientation in a charitable organisation the greater its performance (Jaworski and Kohli, 1993). You may be surprised to hear that the larger the organisation, the lower its donar-market orientation. Assessing and improving “relationship quality” of donors is essential to improving fundraising marketing strategy (Bennett and Barkensjo, 2005a; Shabbir et al. , 2007). The smaller your charity is, the easier it can adapt. (Kohli and Jaworski , 1990) Many of the hindrances to adoption of the marketing concept appear to be related to the area of management which and Executive Coaching will help charities in this area.

It is essential for charities to recruit external strategic marketing expertise if they do not have this resource in-house. A skilled marketer will help charities to understand how and why supporters donate and how current non-supporters could be encouraged to start donating; this knowledge is is vital to sustain cash flow (Bennett R, 2007).

Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times in 2007 said: ‘Giving is the gift that gives back. The ritual of showing how much we care also makes us feel ‘good’. psychological barriers to giving’

The lack of growth or even decline in the disposable incomes of families during the recession in the UK further squeezed the market (disposable income growth in real terms was only 4.7 per cent between 1989 and 1993), as did governmental spending cutbacks

Connecting charities and Corporates

There is some good news … businesses are under pressure to be transparent too and being socially responsible is big business. There has never been a better time to connect with corporates. A survey (LaFrancois H A, 1991) conducted with corporates revealed that in general, they indicated positive attitude towards cause related marketing. Examples of cause-related marketing are Innocent and Age UK’s bobble hats and Waitrose Community Matters scheme. There are 2.45 million enterprises registered for VAT in 2015 and there are only 165,290 charities.

Overcoming the tightening of fundraising laws

It is important to remember not to hound your donors. Remember the suicide of an elderly fundraiser 2015, who was bombarded with charity requests, the fundraising laws have been tightened. You must follow The Institute of Fundraising Code for Fundraising and all communications must have a clear ‘opt-out’ section.


  • Dionysis Skarmeas Haseeb A. Shabbir, (2011),”Relationship quality and giving behaviour in the UK fundraising sector”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 Iss 5 pp. 720 – 738 Permanent link to this document: [Downloaded on: 06 January 2016, At: 02:19 (PT)]
  • Little, M. and Jordan, H. (2008), “Sector ‘could face 2.3 billion funding shortfall’”, Third Sector Online, available at: (accessed January 1, 2009)
  • Bennett R (2007), The use of marketing metrics by British fund-raising charities, Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 23,  2007, Vol. 23, No. 9-10, pp. 959-989
  • Pharoah, C. (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) Family Foundation Giving. Annual Editions CGAP/Pears Foundation/Cass Business School. Alliance. London.

ISSN0267-257X print /ISSNU72-1376 online © Westburn Publishers Ltd.

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December 9th, 2015    

SME manufacturing brand management and leadership development

SME manufacturing brand management and leadership development

A 2014 report by the Office for National Statistics called The Changing Shape of UK Manufacturing states that “Manufacturing productivity has grown by 2.8% on average per annum since 1948 – compared with 1.5% in the services industry.”

However, (9th December 2015) states that: The manufacturing sector is expected to contract by 0.2% in 2015, followed by growth of 0.7% in 2016, and 2.0% in 2017. Total industrial output growth is forecast at 1.1% in 2015, 0.8% in 2016, and 1.3% in 2017.”

What opportunities and dilemmas will your manufacturing business need to adapt to grow within the next three years?

We have spoken to some manufacturers who shy away from the concept of ‘brand development’. Whether your business is supplying to trade customers or not, it is essential to think and care about the end consumer. B2B has been replaced with B2B2C so no-one is hidden as consumers want to know what they are consuming. From the ingredients in their food to the clothes they are wearing to the furniture in their new home or car. Have the ingredients been sustainably sourced? Is the furniture safe and low in formaldehyde emissions?

As the world becomes a more a transparent and smaller place, manufacturing leaders must put branding and customer service at the heart of their business.

What is important to you about your manufacturing business?

McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2025 “a new global consuming class will have emerged”. This will result in a volatile business environment and organisations must learn to be innovative, monitor and exploit emerging themes whilst still exceeding customer expectations and minimise strategic risk.

People like to work for organisations who have lived values and a genuine history. Retaining highly skilled talent will be a key to sustainable growth. While businesses are streamlining resources, employees are expected to work harder and bring their souls to work (Western S, 2012).

Does your organisational culture encourage employees to continually offer their blood, sweat and soul?

Or do the factory ears hear employees beginning to pack their desks and workstations away at ten-to finishing time?

“The [manufacturing] sector is evolving in ways that make the traditional view – that manufacturing and services are completely separate and fundamentally different sectors – outdated. Service inputs (everything from logistics to advertising) make up an increasing amount of manufacturing activity” (McKinsey & Co, 2012).

How have you developed your leadership skills during the last five years to be able to adapt to the changes in the manufacturing industry?

Become a flexible, learning organisation

Global change will become more varied, extreme and faster and only leaders who are flexible and open to developing leadership styles will be able to adapt and exploit change.

“The manipulation of rewards and punishments has been the traditional approach to management (Etzioni, 1961) but a different form of control, one based on shared sentiments and values, will be essential for tomorrow’s leader” (Brown M E, 2002).

A Learning Organisation is where everyone becomes a leader and is responsible for seizing opportunities and transforming challenges into opportunities. This promotes communication, increases productivity and frees up the CEOs time to be a true leader rather than a manager.

Develop your leadership skills and values to promote sustainable brand growth

Executive coaching is one of the best ways to develop your leadership skills and create a Learning Organisation.

  1. A Harvard Business School study indicates that companies implementing a coaching culture have improved revenue growth (520%), employment growth (246%) and net-income growth (755%) compared to companies operating without it.
  2. The Manchester Review states that the impact of Executive Coaching shows an ROI of 5.7 times the investment; improving organisational relationships by 74%, teamwork by 67% and job satisfaction by 61%.

The Brand Surgery helps SME manufacturers to grow their brand through a combination of executive coaching, strategic marketing and creative communications.

I am a Business Growth Expert and there is funding available to help manufacturers to grow through business coaching. Call me on 07909 693172 to discuss your needs.

SME manufacturers will have departments set up similar to those shown on the diagram below. Our unique approach to leadership development improves employee engagement thought the organisation because employees begin to understand the ‘holistic’ value they provide. This significantly improves company culture and customer service, leading to sustainable competitive advantage.

See our brand management brochure to learn more.

Testimonial: “We asked The Brand Surgery® to create a marketing strategy as we were considering launching a new product. Their approach has saved us money and helped us to grow. We would recommend their strategic marketing services to any business that is serious about growing.”
Iain Flitcroft, UK Managing Director, Paula Rosa Manhattan

Call The Brand Surgery today on 01903 824229 or email to book a confidential chat about your business growth needs.

“British manufacturers face such huge and relentless international competition that, to sustain the recent gains they’ve made, they need to change – again, good news for leaders if they are committed to change.” (Valley I, 2015)


  • Brown M E, 2002, Leading with Values: The moderating influence of trust on values on values acceptance by employees, A Thesis in Business Administration.
  • Hardie M, Banks A (2014), The Changing Shape of UK Manufacturing, Office for National Statistics
  • Kelman H C (1958), Compliance, identification, and internalization: Three processes of attitude change. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2: 51-60. Harvard University
  • Manyika J et el, 2012, Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, cited: 9/12/15.
  • Valley I (2015), Manufacturing figures nudge down UK growth forecast, [cited 9/12/15]
  • Western S, Coaching and Mentoring – a critical text, Sage Publications

Leadership coaching and training for manufacturers
Leadership coaching and training for SME manufacturers based in the UK


  • Brown M E, 2002, Leading with Values: The moderating influence of trust on values on values acceptance by employees, A Thesis in Business Administration.
  • Hardie M, Banks A (2014), The Changing Shape of UK Manufacturing, Office for National Statistics
  • Kelman H C (1958), Compliance, identification, and internalization: Three processes of attitude change. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2: 51-60. Harvard University
  • Manyika J et el, 2012, Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, cited: 9/12/15.
  • Valley I (2015), Manufacturing figures nudge down UK growth forecast, [cited 9/12/15]
  • Western S, Coaching and Mentoring – a critical text, Sage Publications



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October 29th, 2015    

Business Change Management Executive Coaching

Two weeks ago my oven caught fire so I dialled 999. Within five minutes two fire units arrived and I had a house full of firefighters. I had a lucky escape as no-one was hurt and nothing was damaged. Since then, my mind keeps drifting back to those firefighters … but not for the reasons you may be thinking.

Our spectacular 999 emergency services are trained to tap into their resources and adapt their behaviour to suit all manner of situations within seconds: from cats stuck up trees, to huge fires and horrific road traffic accidents …

Imagine if we injected some of the emergency services’ flexible mindset into organisations that struggle to adapt and evolve, for example, some public sector organisations, education, third sector and retailers. As we know, the emergency services is publicly funded so why is there such a difference between the flexible mindset of firefighters and the inflexible mindset of some publicly funded employees?

With this in mind, I asked our local fire station manager, Roy Barraclough,  to reveal the secret. How is it that his crew are always ready to adapt so quickly to different scenarios? He advised me that his managers are assessed against a strict programme even before they are permitted to take on the role. They are also signed to leadership courses and real-life computer-based simulation. Firefighters undergo continuous learning and assessment, training and competency programmes covering driving, breathing apparatus, first aid, manual handling and risk management.

Now it’s time to apply some 999 learning to business strategy.

Strict assessment before starting a job role

Are organisations using suitable assessment methods to recruit the right kind of employee that will live by their values? Or maybe some organisations are employing the perfect candidate and then the leadership team strangles employees’ creativity and capabilities with red tape and policies. There are schools with just three rules: “Look after yourself, look after each other and look after the place we are in”. Perhaps we could all learn by this.

Real-life business simulation

Strategic tools such as SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) and STEEPLE analysis (Social, Technological, Economical, Environmental, Political, Legal and Ethical) help organisations to use their strengths to overcome weaknesses and threats, in turn creating and exploiting opportunities.

  • If you use these tools, how does your organisation make sense of the information gathered?
  • How has your business embraced the transparency and two-way dialogue that social media has created?
  • What changes would happen in your industry if Britain left the EU?

Continuous learning, training and assessment

The emergency services’ role is a risky business. However, they have the capabilities and resources to make informed decisions because they continually learn. In business, leaders may have graduated with MBAs in the early days, but how many business owners continuously develop their leadership skills within their own business environment? “Success in the marketplace increasingly depends on learning, yet most people don’t know how to learn” (Argyris, 1991).

  • Did you know that many risk averse organisations fail to learn and adapt to change?
  • On a scale of 0-10, 0 being risk averse and 10 being innovative – where does your organisation sit on the scale?
  • What steps can you take to push your organisation up the scale and create an innovative culture?

When was the last time you learned? Did you attend a one or two day training course? Most people we ask have trouble remembering elements of such training courses after just a few weeks; the best way to learn is to ‘do’.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggests that Coaching can have a very positive impact on individuals for whom traditional learning modes such as classroom teaching has very negative associations.

Executive Coaching empowering leaders to learn and develop their skills at a faster rate because coaching is ‘doing’.

Leadership programmes

Charles Handy is an organisational behaviour and management expert and author. In his book, The Age of Unreason, he said: “If you put a frog in water and slowly heat it, the frog will eventually let itself be boiled to death. We, too, will not survive if we don’t respond to the radical way in which the world is changing.” This analogy indicates that businesses need to keep adapting even if changes appear to be minimal.

Deloitte has published a document called Resourceful Leadership: Leading for Outcomes in a Time of Shock. The publication suggests leaders must be resourceful and adopt eight core behaviours to be able to adapt in times of change. These behaviours include being open, being able to collaborate, believing in their team, being able to create and sustain commitment from team, having an ability to learn and demonstrating focus. Executive coaching helps leaders to develop these behaviours.

Don’t be that boiled frog.
Be a chameleon with a flexible, fire-fighting mindset

Organisations that continually learn, develop and implement the mindset of the emergency services will have the ability to adapt and be ready to embrace both tiny or extreme changes; just like a chameleon can change its colour and firefighters are ready for anything.

One way of achieving this is by developing your leadership skills, allowing you to empower your team to become a super-strong brand.

Executive coaching will help you to develop effective leadership styles so you are able to deal with all types of situations.

Executive Coaching testimonial

“Executive coaching has challenged and helped me focus on solutions rather than problems. Vicky sets me achievable actions between each session to improve my leadership skills. She has a direct, solutions-focused approach with a good knowledge of coaching and natural empathic abilities. I would recommend her Executive Coaching services to any commercial, public or third sector organisation that wishes to develop their leaders within a limited time frame.”
Sharon Clarke, Chief Executive, Worthing Town Centre Initiative

I am offering two organisations a one-hour complimentary executive coaching session. Visit or email for further information.

The Brand Surgery builds great brands from the INSIDE out.

• Brand management
• Executive coaching
• Innovative marketing consultations
• Creative design

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October 21st, 2015    
The Brand Surgery Business Awards

The Brand Surgery finalist in the Business Awards

Customer Service Category

We are delighted to be finalists in the Adur and Worthing Business Awards in 2015 – under the Customer Service category. This is a huge pat on the back for us and recognises our continued commitment to our customers. We strive to create ‘experiences’ in a safe and caring environment, avoiding confusing jargon to those who are new to the world of brand management.

Our team has considerable business and marketing expertise, spanning 15 years including a Chartered Marketer, membership of the Chartered Institute of Marketing  (CIM Level 7), membership of the Institute of Leadership Management (ILM) and an ethos of continuous study and research. We believe this gives us the edge – and that means we can share this knowledge with our customers.

We embrace the philosophy of Creating Shared Value which helps us to be innovative and exceed customer expectations. After all customer service is more than saying: “Have a great day”. It is about meeting customer needs. You can be polite as you like, but if the service or product you supply is not useful or effective, then customers will become frustrated.

By living our values (we stimulate, we inspire, we improve and we venture) we want to continue to build and deliver on customer service excellence. So thank you to those who nominated us in the Adur and Worthing Business awards, this is a huge compliment!

Innovation Category

In 2015 we changed our slogan to “Building great brands from the inside out” because we now provide a complete brand management package. Our innovative culture now means that we are the only brand management company in the Worthing and Adur area with in-house Masters’ level Brand Management, Marketing Strategy and Executive Coaching and Mentoring expertise combined with award-winning creative skills for communicating your inner strengths.

Having researched how important leadership style is to innovation, we find that a leader can make or break an innovative culture. By offering executive coaching and mentoring we can help our customers to build/enhance relationships with their staff to overcome the stumbling blocks that may be preventing the strengthening of their brands. This empowers business leaders to also become innovative because they adopt more trust and let staff use their own unique and specialist skills – freeing them up from no-longer-relevant red tape.

What else makes us innovative? We continually research and study industry changes and trends (STEEPLE – Social, Technological, Environment, Economic, Political, Legal and Ethical) which helps us to be flexible, increasing our competitive advantage. We also help our clients to be flexible and adapt their products and services accordingly, for example, one of our clients hadn’t been aware quite how much cloud technology would affect his business. Once we helped him to understand, he was empowered to be innovative and embrace technological change. We also help clients to use their customer segmentation upon customer behaviour, which of course is always changing. By adopting our marketing segmentation expertise, many of our clients have enjoyed an instant response to their email campaigns.

Continuous innovation is the lifeblood of an effective and impactful business strategy, and as you can see there is more than one way to be innovative. Innovation and customer service are intrinsically linked – you can’t have one without the other. We lead by example and adopting an innovative culture, we are able to help our clients to become and remain innovative.

Call us on 01903 824229 or email for a confidential chat about how we can help your business to adopt an innovative culture though our combination of coaching, consultation and creative communications. We look forward to hearing from you.

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