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 www.thebrandsurgery.co.uk or email vicky@thebrandsurgery.co.uk 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 vicky@thebrandsurgery.co.uk 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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October 21st, 2015    
Survey Report Hypothyroid Patient Experiences Version Number: 1

Did you know it is Thyroid Awareness Week? (19th- 23rd October)

As you know The Brand Surgery® is an ethical branding agency and we work hard to Create Shared Value as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

This year, we have chosen Thyroid UK as our chosen charity, mainly because our MD suffers with an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) so this subject is close to her heart, or should we say her throat!

Did you know?

  • Thyroid UK raises awareness for natural thyroid solutions over widely prescribed levothyroixine.
  • The thyroid produces two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). The standard medication for hypothyroid patients is levothyroxine (T4) but in up to 16% of patients, this medication does not relieve their symptoms.

Of 4,299 respondents:

  • 23% asked for natural desiccated thyroid and 92% were refused this treatment with the main reasons being ‘lack of knowledge’ (about the medication) and ‘no evidence of superiority over levothyroxine’.
  • 27% of the respondents asked for T3 but 72% were refused, the main reasons being, once again, ‘lack of knowledge’ (about the medication) and ‘no evidence of superiority over levothyroxine’.

The Survey Report Hypothyroid Patient Experiences is essential reading for thyroid patients.

Read a separate report by the American Heart Association called Thyroid Disease and the Heart.  The American Heart Association says in its report that: “Review of multiple cross-sectional studies demonstrates that 30% of patients with congestive heart failure have low T3 levels.”

The Brand Surgery® is creating shared value by offering marketing and promotions expertise to help to spread the thyroid message. If you know anyone with thyroid issues, please advise them to visit Thyroid UK’s website for ideas to spread the message, including writing a letter to your MP and sending the Thyroid UK press release to your local paper.

Are you affected? Has the medication you have been taking affected you? Share your story to help us promote awareness.

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October 21st, 2015    
Executive coaching for leadership development

Executive coaching for leadership development

Our executive coaching services will develop your leadership skills helping you to create a dynamic ‘Super Team’.

The Brand Surgery® now offers a complete brand management package with the addition of Executive Coaching. We are proud to be the only brand management company in the Worthing and Adur area with an in-house Master of Brand Management expertise.

The benefits of executive coaching have a huge effect on businesses looking to continuously learn, develop and improve. We provide businesses with the tools to stay ahead of the competition: a Harvard Business School study indicates that companies implementing a coaching culture have improved revenue growth by a whopping 520%, employment growth by 246% and net-income growth by 755%, when compared to companies operating without it. We believe these statistics should not be ignored.

We have two complimentary 1 hour sessions available for two lucky businesses. There is no obligation to continue afterwards.  If you have a management team and would benefit from this taster session, contact us now to secure your place.
Executive coaching will develop your leadership skills so you can make informed decisions increasing your profit.

Being well-informed means you will recruit the right members for your management team. It means you keep abreast of changes that are out of your control that will affect your industry. For example, you’ll have no doubt seen in the news recently that some companies can fall into the trap of making uninformed decisions, resulting in unintentional ethical consequences, for example, Volkswagen. In this instance, the former CEO’s  judgement was clouded by the need drive revenue and increase profit.

Don’t do a Co-op Bank

In the case of Paul Flowers, former non-executive Chairman of The Co-operative Bank, we have an example of a business recruiting a person who was subsequently found to be unsuitable which had a detrimental affect to the reputation of the business.

So if you are the leader of an organisation and want to ensure you get the best out of your trustees and staff, executive coaching may be for you. Executive coaching suits leaders of both charities and commercial organisations.

• Charities need to get the best from their trustees board

• Educational sector that needs to develop governments to meet strict Ofsted benchmarks

• Commercial business leaders and their management team so they lead from the top

By Executive Coaching, leaders can:

  • Empower their teams to make informed decisions so leaders can enjoy leading instead of micro-managing.

  • Handle difficult decision making more effectively

  • Find solutions and overcome procrastination

  • Reduce stress and ultimately improve performance.

We have two complimentary 1 hour sessions available for two lucky businesses. There is no obligation to continue afterwards.  If you have a management team and would benefit from this taster session, contact us now to secure your place.

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October 21st, 2015    

Bus livery branding design

Bus livery branding design

We were asked by Stagecoach North East to redesign its bus livery and branding for the launch of a new fleet of buses (and part of a £2.3 million investment).

In aligned the livery design to the Stagecoach Group’s corporate identity guidelines. We designed a new logo for ‘Connecting the Dots’ using a font made up of dots. We designed simple black icons help customers to visualise the activities that are accessible by bus. The coloured lines connecting the dot symbols are the same colours as the corresponding routes on the route map.

It’s great to see our branding and design work appearing on North East Connected and on the Stagecoach website.

Vehicle livery is one of the most cost effective ways of advertising because it is a one off cost and works hard for you 24-7-365 (provided your vehicle is not parked in a garage). To discuss your vehicle livery requirements, call Vicky on 01903 824229.

Vehicle, bus, train, car and taxi livery design

Vehicle, bus, train, car and taxi livery design

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October 21st, 2015    

Brooklyn Kitchens Logo design by The Brand Surgery

Brooklyn Kitchens Logo design by The Brand Surgery

We have created stunning and contemporary corporate identity and a responsive website for Brooklyn Kitchens which is a new Scottish retail kitchen company. Brooklyn Kitchens is based in Livingston and is targeting aspirational customers who may have previously owned an Ikea or B&Q kitchen and now wish to reflect their successful lifestyle by opting for a designer kitchen.

With this in mind we have reflected the ‘designer feel’ by designing a sharp, cool and contemporary image using stunning warm and muted earth and silver colour palettes. We applied this to the logo, brochure, car livery and stationery design and continued the theme by stylising the font; joining the descender of the ‘R’ in ‘Brooklyn’ into the overlapping ‘O’s. This represents interdependence across the entire Brooklyn network: developing interdependent relationships is essential to the success of a business – we all know the negative effects of working in ‘silo’.

The Brooklyn Kitchens responsive website has lots of clever features including buttons which cascade seamlessly across a number of mobile platforms and devices. We are also pleased to be managing Brooklyn Kitchen’s online marketing which will ensure its customers are kept interested and engaged.

Brooklyn Kitchens has been set up by John Gallagher, who is very proud of his Paula Rosa Manhattan credentials, with many years experience as their Managing Director (and with whom we also work closely). You may notice the intentional link between the company names, Brooklyn and Manhattan …

Contact The Brand Surgery® on 01903 824229 or email vicky@thebrandsurgery.co.uk to discuss your corporate identity needs.

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August 11th, 2015    
Business growth service

Business growth service

Join the 94% of Business Growth participants who say they are more likely to grow as a result of The Business Growth Service.

The Brand Surgery® is a Registered Expert for the Business Growth Service which means you can enjoy highly subsidised business coaching for high business growth.

The Business Growth Service is a Government-backed service offering support to businesses with the potential to improve and grow. You may know it as GrowthAccelerator.

We will be working in partnership with a Business Growth Manager and together we can help you to achieve your potential by identifying barriers to growth and providing tailored support that fits your needs, including coaching, consultancy, mentoring, training, access to finance and export advice. We will do this by:

  1. Taking a fresh look at where sales opportunities exist
  2. Creating a breakthrough plan for the next 12 months
  3. Establishing growth priorities across your entire business
  4. Motivating you to achieve more with the same resources

Click here to find out if your business is eligible.

Call Vicky Vaughan, PGDip MCIM, on 01903 824229 / 07909 693172
or email vicky@thebrandsurgery.co.uk for further information.

Here is a short presentation with some useful statistical information.

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June 3rd, 2015    

We are conducting an online poll and would be grateful for less than one minute of your time.

Do you ever listen to podcasts or take part in webinars? Do you multi-task when listening to podcasts. What would make you listen more carefully?

Please take part in our quick online poll.

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May 5th, 2015    
Worthing WIFI brochure design

Worthing WIFI brochure design

Brochure design and window sticker design

We have recently completed this exciting project for Worthing Town Centre Initiative. We were given a photographic to make ’sunny’! We created window stickers and the cover to a Worthing Wi-Fi map

Worthing boasts over 400 businesses in the Town Centre including a large number of major names, a vibrant food and drink sector and a strong independent offer.  There is regular activity including entertainment and markets adding to the vibrancy and ambience of the Town Centre.  Every Wednesday Montague Street hosts the weekly market which attracts shoppers from miles around.

The Town Centre runs parallel to the seafront and it is just a few steps from the main shopping precinct to the promenade – Worthing truly is “shopping by the sea”.

Visit www.worthingtowncentre.co.uk to find out more about Worthing Town Centre and see a list of businesses, find out what’s on and apply for your I Love Sunny Worthing loyalty card which offers cardholders special offers in over 35 Worthing locations.

Testimonial from Sharon Clarke, Worthing Town Centre Initiative

“I just want to thank you for all the work you put into our PR campaign. It was really refreshing to work with a company with such a professional and enthusiastic approach to getting the job done. The innovative ideas and quality of the press releases and communications guaranteed we received fantastic press coverage. The Brand Surgery really helped us to stand out from the crowd and I really look forward to working with you again in the near future.” Sharon Clarke, Chief Executive, Worthing Town Centre Initiative, Client since 2005.

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May 5th, 2015    

Brand building tips for business success

Brand building tips for business success

“A brand by itself can do nothing  – it must integrate with elements of your business” (Kapferer 2012).

We have previously identified that there is much more to brand building than logo design and here are a few essential brand integration techniques to help you to create a successful and sustainable brand.

Is your business model supporting your brand?

Failing to adapt your business model to the changing environment will send your business brand heading for Planet Kodak. Did you know that digital camera technology was actually presented to Kodak’s management team in the 1990s? However, management failed to understand its potential thus creating a barrier to innovation, resulting in bankruptcy. Learning hint: Is your management team past its sell-by date? To create a successful brand, you must have an innovative culture which needs to be supported by top management.

Using an established brand as a prop for business growth

Imagine this scenario. You are a coffee lover and you long to launch a coffee shop of your very own. Which business model would you choose? Would you buy into a franchise and hope an established brand will do some of the work for you? Or would you be independent and deliver an individual service and grow your business organically?

If you choose to benefit from the support of an established brand, then the franchise method may be for you. However it is recommended that you do your research first as big brands make mistakes which could affect your business.

Recently Starbucks was in the press for tax avoidance and this international faux pas negatively affected Starbucks franchisees on a local level. How? One Starbucks franchisee had invited a local MP to hold his street surgery in his store. Press releases and posters advertising this local event had been circulated. However, on the day of the event, a letter from an angry resident appeared in the local press stating that he would no longer vote for the local MP because the MP was perceived to be supporting a tax avoider. This triggered bad feeling in the local community and in the end the event was cancelled. Although the franchisee is a local businessman paying his taxes, the feeling was that the franchisee was paying his franchise fees to a tax avoider so he was equally as guilty.

Whichever business model you choose, ensure it is flexible and capable of keeping one step ahead of the external environment.

Have you chosen the correct brand name?

Choosing a brand name for your business poses more challenges than you may first think. What is the meaning behind the brand name you have picked? Does the brand name convey the spirit of your brand? Will your brand name still be relevant in ten years time or will it die of old age? Have you planned to go global?

If you plan to go global you will need to choose a brand name which will not cause offence abroad, and again, even the big brands get it wrong. When Coca Cola launched in China, its name phonetically sounded like ‘Bite the Wax Tadpole’ so they had to change the characters to mean ‘Happiness in the Mouth”.

There are legal reasons to consider also. Has your choice of brand name been registered elsewhere in the world or in the UK? Have you researched the 45 trademark classes which cover all industries, from industry adhesives to dental instruments to telecommunications services? If you don’t protect your trademark within each relevant class, then another company with the similar/same brand name as you can take you to court and you will be legally bound to change your name. Not only will you suffer huge legal costs, you will also have the expense of unnecessary rebranding which will confuse your customer base, negatively affecting sales. There are no-win-no-fee lawyers out there waiting for naive businesses to make this mistake. Finally, If you are planning on diversifying then it is wise to future-proof your brand by covering it the trademark classes you may wish to expand into.

Creating a brand name with meaning builds brand heritage and also creates an interesting story which you can use as part of your sales patter. Get this right and it will work wonders for your brand.

So what?

Remember that branding is a two way process and you need to build a brand which will engage customers who have changing interests. It is essential to adopt an innovative culture because it allows you to keep one step ahead – not just of your competition but also customer trends. Staying flexible will allow your business model to evolve to meet customer needs which will enhance your brand image. The brand name you choose for your business, service or product should engage customer by conveying the difference it has over the competitors, i.e. the USP and not the product description.

Need help?

I am a Chartered Marketer with 25 years of combined professional marketing and design expertise. I am qualified to grow brands by helping to adapt business models to become flexible to meet customers changing needs.

Call me on 01903 824229 today or email vicky@thebrandsurgery.co.uk to arrange a confidential chat about your business needs.

Further reading:
• British brand: Marketing Magazine: What does Britain stand for today?
• Consumer Superbrands 2015
Futurebrand’s Country Brand Index

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