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 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 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 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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May 5th, 2015    
We are pleased to announced that Enterprise Vouchers are soon available.

What advice can be accessed as part of Enterprise Vouchers?

The Enterprise Vouchers programme will help small businesses access strategic business advice within the following categories:

Going and Growing Online

Helping businesses to get online or support existing online traders to grow through maximising the potential of digital tools and technologies. Advice in this category may focus on using digital tools and technologies for product development and market testing, customer service and marketing, or building online sales. The advice could be used for addressing the risks of cyber-attacks, or exploring how digital technologies can be used to reduce costs, improve productivity or quality control.

Going Global

Helping business to expand into new markets and territories. The advice may focus on market research, Product Development, Translation Strategies, Workforce Planning, or operations strategies. The advice could be used to address logistical strategies for new markets such as delivery, product distribution etc., or market research of new markets and strategies, product development to meet requirements of new audiences, markets and territories and the legalities and cultural nuances of doing business abroad.

Selling to big brands (retailers and government)

Advice in this area aims to help businesses develop effective marketing and pitching strategies, and to ensure that they provide the right product/service at the right price, in the right place, at the right time. The advice could be used for market research, targeting existing and potential customers, using social media to extend your reach into new markets , developing pricing strategies and closing sales as well as strategies for choosing scale-up production partners.

Hiring people and developing as a leader

Advice in this area aims to help business owners develop their strategy and vision, and how to build and improve leadership and management potential, ensuring you have the right people with the right skills to help your business grow. The advice could be used for assessing capabilities, identifying management development needs, improving management practices, reviewing business strategy, planning for the future, managing change, workforce planning, setting up performance management systems and rewards, and identifying the appropriate organisational structures and processes to support the needs of your business.

Across all categories, there will also be advisers on hand to assist with raising finance.

How will Businesses apply for an Enterprise Voucher?

Businesses will apply via the Enterprise Nation website, and if eligible receive a voucher of up to £2000 to be match funded by the applicant.

How much funding can businesses access through Enterprise Vouchers?

Business who meet the application criteria (full criteria below) will be eligible for up to £2000 in match funding if a voucher is awarded.

How will Enterprise Vouchers work?

Small businesses will be able to apply for an Enterprise Voucher via a dedicated page on Enterprise Nation, where they will state the category of advice in which they would spend the voucher, should it be issued.

Successful applicants will then visit the Marketplace to find a professional with whom to spend the voucher. The value of a voucher will be up to £2,000 and match funded by the applicant.

Applicants will have 6 months to claim the voucher from the date of issue. Once the work is complete either applicant or professional will submit the claim and the match funding will be released.

Who can apply for an Enterprise Voucher?

In order to apply to receive an Enterprise Voucher, businesses must meet the criteria as follows:

  • have 249 employees or fewer (including any employees of companies that own a stake in your business)
  • be registered in the UK (including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • actively sell goods or services
  • be independent (ie no more than 25% is owned by other businesses or organisations)
  • have a turnover of less than €50 million

How many Enterprise Vouchers can you apply for?

Enterprise Vouchers are limited to one per company.

Will the programme still run as an RCT (randomly controlled test)?

No, the programme will not be run as an RCT (randomly controlled test). You will just need to meet the eligibility criteria set out above.

Enterprise vouchers

Enterprise vouchers

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May 5th, 2015    
How to promote your value proposition

How to promote your value proposition

  • Is your value proposition the same as it was five years ago?
  • Are you effectively communicating your value proposition?

Chances are that your customers’ expectations have increased since when your business was first established. Some businesses try to keep one step ahead of their competitors however it is more advisable to keep one step ahead of your customers to sustain competitive advantage.

Are you 100% confident that your website and brochures clearly communicate solutions which will make your customers’ truly happy?

It is essential to understand the challenges that your customers face so you can create relevant messages. How do you do this? Easy. Communicate and ask the right questions.

Within your business, you must be able to add value to your product/service at each stage of the ‘value chain’. Even if you are selling the same product as you were five years ago, the way you distribute the product will most probably have changed. For example, when we treat ourselves to the latest music, these days many of us prefer to download music rather than purchase CDs because downloading is less expensive and more convenient.

If you value your business, and you want to avoid wasting valuable profit,  it is advisable to invest in a professional marketing strategy and hire a Chartered Marketer who understands how to make your customers truly happy which in turn will create repeat business.

Are you 100% certain that your service or product is safe from a substitute which customers may find of more value?

Customer value has shifted over the years, this is called value migration and it is a fascinating subject. To find out how it might affect your business so you can be ready for it, call us on 01903 824229 or email to arrange a confidential chat.

The Brand Surgery will help you to communicate your business value effectively through stunning and effective online and offline marketing communications.

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May 1st, 2015    
The Coffee House branding

The Coffee House branding and cafe partition

We have been working with The Coffee House since 2003 and are pleased to have recently designed their outdoor seating partitions to compliment the recent rebrand. We have also designed some more window graphics and signage to promote their amazing take-away coffee and cheap coffee refills. The Coffee House also serves heavenly food and caters for people with food intolerances by offering delicious dairy and wheat-free  alternatives.

Independent business branding

The Coffee House has been a successful independent family business brand since 2003. It has stood the test of time and owes its success to friendly service, great food and understanding customer needs. Much of its business is from repeat customers which are the best kind of customers to have, although since the rebrand and shop refit last year, our client has noticed a significant increase in trade.

If you haven’t yet visited The Coffee House, it is in Liverpool Road, opposite T K Maxx in Worthing.

If you would like advice on how to keep your establish business exciting, give The Brand Surgery, No 1 design and marketing agency in Worthing, a call on 01903 824229 or email  We are experts in restaurant branding and marketing.

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April 30th, 2015    
Mobile friendly and responsive website conversions by The Brand Surgery

If you need to convert your website to responsive, give us a call today on 01903 824229.

Website searches via smartphone and tablet have now beaten desktop searches. Recently, Google has changed its algorithms and boosts the rankings of mobile friendly websites, which are also called responsive websites.

How do your customers search for information?

The answer is, it depends on where they are! Smartphones are the most common platform for initial website searches, but people tend to use bigger screens for more detailed information after the initial search. Therefore if your website does not perform well in a mobile search, then your business may not get past Go. How much business could you lose through this?

To ensure your website is found on a mobile device, then it needs to be mobile-friendly.

We spend on average 4.4 hours of leisure time per day per day (90%) looking at our screens! Compared with 10% looking at newspapers/magazines and radio. Our time is split looking between mobile, tablet and desktop. So where are your customers looking?

If you want your business to be found online, you must have an understanding of the marketing basics such as customer buying behaviour and motivation.

  • • How much time does your customer have?
  • • What is the goal your customer wishes to achieve?
  • • Where is your customer?
  • • What is the attitude and state-of-mind of your customer?

To make your website and e-newsletter mobile friendly, contact us for a quote. To test is your website is mobile friendly, please visit

If it is not mobile friendly, give us a call today on 01903 824229
or email and we will
be pleased to give you a quote to make it mobile-friendly.

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March 2nd, 2015    
How Growth Vouchers helped The Sage Guys

Growth Vouchers

Apply for £2000 match-funding today to grow your business – less than 30 days left to apply.

SoftServ provides information, help and advice on Eque2, Sage and Easybuild construction software to construction companies across the UK, delivering with installation, configuration, implementation and training.

Steve Tees, Director of SoftServ with 40 years’ industry experience, was looking to treble income within 12-18 months, however he recognised that he had a gap in his marketing skills; not knowing the best way to market, Steve applied for a Growth Voucher in the Marketing, Attracting and Keeping customers category.

Using the Enterprise Nation Marketplace, Steve chose to spend his Growth Voucher with The Brand Surgery, a design and marketing agency. From the list of Growth Voucher suppliers provided, Steve selected The Brand Surgery because of their experience in construction and their attention to detail. When reviewing the experience, Steve said “We selected The Brand Surgery because, even at the initial meeting, they wanted to understand our business and began suggesting ways to improve our marketing and profile.”

Despite having good customer loyalty with his existing customers, Steve was having trouble attracting new customers because he was sending generic emails rather than targeted personal email campaigns. Steve, like many small business owners, perceived that marketing was mainly about promotions and had been ignoring the many other elements of marketing, so The Brand Surgery helped SoftServ go back to basics to create a marketing strategy which covered all elements of the business. Steve said “The advice helped me to think about the position of the business, our image and the value to customers.”

The Brand Surgery supported SoftServ by delivering a full day marketing consultation and a 30 page step-by-step marketing strategy, including an online competitor and threat analysis which revealed that SoftServ’s company website, and the software programs they offer, don’t appear in online searches. This consequently raised the question of whether SoftServ was missing out on business, so The Brand Surgery recommended that SoftServ should start offering services using the more popular software as well as its current software; therefore broadening its offering and hopefully attracting more customers.

As a result of the changes suggested by The Brand Surgery through the Growth Voucher programme, SoftServ immediately started to receive a much better response to their email marketing. The Growth Voucher programme has allowed SoftServ to fulfil its marketing potential and to make positive changes towards its business.

Call Vicky Vaughan, Chartered Marketer at West Sussex’s number one marketing agency, The Brand Surgery on 01903 824229 if you would like to discuss Growth Vouchers.

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February 26th, 2015    

In 2010 I published my first marketing book called Do A Madonna: The Secret to Successful Branding. Do a Madonna is aimed at new businesses with a gap in marketing knowledge and is written in a light-hearted and humorous tone. The book is currently being edited and rebranded and due to be launched in 2016. In light of Madonna’s amazing performance and go-get attitude last night at The Brits, I felt this was an ideal opportunity to give you an insight into the book.

Testimonial: “Everything in DO A MADONNA! is so true! I’ve read many other branding books, however, DO A MADONNA!™ looks at branding in an entirely different way and it is so easy to digest. I work as part of the sales team for the Shropshire Star and I have recommended this book to all of my sales colleagues.” Debbie Marks, Shropshire Star.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 4 – It’s OK to get emotional. Download book information.

Eighty per cent of purchases are inspired by emotion, then justified by logic. Therefore, it is important to create an emotion in your branding because emotions become memories – good or bad. Humans have five senses: smell, touch, sight, taste and sound and stimulating these senses will create an emotion.

Your website must look top-notch because sight is the only sense that a potential client will experience when they first visit your website. Similarly, your brochures need to pre-sell your business; the added bonus of brochures is that your potential customer will ‘touch’ your brochure. So it is worth investing in good quality printing and stock if you want to tap into these senses.

When you meet your potential customer in person, you will see and hopefully listen to them. You will touch them when you shake hands – and you will remember if someone has a strong, weak or sweaty handshake. You and your customer may experience taste at your first meeting if you go for coffee or lunch.

Does your business service create a positive or negative feeling?

Restaurants have an added advantage over some industries when it comes to creating an emotion as their services and products stimulate the five senses and hopefully people enjoy the experience. Doctors, dentists, accountants, tax specialists and insurance companies have a tougher job because their services may stimulate the senses in a negative way and are essentially less enjoyable.

To help explain the emotional side of branding to you, I am going to tell you about a trip to London. Please remember that this book was written in 2009 so the quality of some services may have changed since. From the minute I woke up to the minute I returned home to bed late at night, I sampled the services of many businesses – and the way I was treated created a roller coaster of emotions – a mixture of good and bad branding. The objective of my trip to London was to see Nigel Harman in a play called Public Property, at The Trafalgar Studios (previously known as Whitehall).

My day began …

I woke in a good mood and was looking forward to well-deserved day off. Thanks to my reliable and brilliant iPhone alarm, I awoke on time. A good start to the day, thanks to the technology and sleekness of my iPhone (good feeling number one). I showered using my brand new Soap and Glory shower gel which smelled and felt as good as the packaging promised. Gorgeous! This was going to be a good day (good feeling number two).

I ventured downstairs to divert the studio phones to our virtual secretary. I instructed them that I would be out of the office until the following day. They were as friendly and efficient as always and felt pleased I had hired them (good feeling number three).  I walked to our local train station where I was greeted by a grumpy ticket sales assistant. I parted with almost £14 for a day return (off peak) then sat on the platform in the windy, damp shelter. The shelter smelled of stale smoke, stale urine and generally unpleasant odours. I inspected the latest graffiti offerings. The shelter made me feel dirty and I couldn’t wait for the train to arrive. I would have stood outside the shelter if it hadn’t been raining. My good mood was starting to decline (bad feeling number one).

The train arrived on time. I found a seat and travelled in reasonable comfort to London Victoria. This was helped with the aid of a paper cup of peppermint tea from the buffet cart. I was pleasantly surprised that peppermint tea was on offer but horrified that it cost £1.40 for a teabag and water. It’s what you may call a bittersweet experience (almost good feeling number four).

Before continuing with my onward tube journey to Aldwick East, I decided to use the London Victoria toilet facilities. I parted with a further 30p for the privilege. The toilets were clean plus they had Dyson hand dryers so I felt that 30p was value for money (good feeling number five).

At the underground, I checked my Oyster card which still had £11 on it – a nice surprise. I love the convenience of an Oyster card (good feeling number six). I arrived at Aldwick East and I had planned to meet my friend after he finished at Brick Lane so I planned to spend the afternoon exploring the textile shops in Brick Lane, which I had imagined to be romantic, hustly-bustly and a cultural place. After fifteen minutes I was disappointed – Brick Lane felt dirty and unappealing – the weather probably didn’t help (bad feeling number six). Can you see how an external emotion can affect a potential customer’s behaviour even before he or she has met you?

After some exploring, I located my friend’s workplace near the Truman Brewery and made a mental note of the location. I then stumbled across a young-fashion designer outlet called The Laden Showroom. Things were looking up again (good feeling number seven). Fifty-eight pounds lighter and one gorgeous dress heavier, I asked the sales assistant if there was anywhere to hang out for an hour or so. He suggested All Star Lanes which happened to be next door. I ventured in and – wow! My emotional roller coaster was now in heaven. All Star Lanes was a tasteful American diner with a difference. I was greeted as soon as I arrived and I asked for a glass of something white and chilled. I sat down in the depths of the diner – to protect my new designer purchase from pickpockets – word of mouth had warned me to be careful in London …

My book continues to describe the day with some interesting results.

So how is the above relevant your business?

Now, you may wonder how you can apply the above to your business … I like many suffer from dentist phobia – that is until our dental practice had a re-brand. Now, its funky reception area is a pleasure to sit in and more importantly, the dentists are really friendly – in fact, you almost forget you are at the dentist – they make you feel like VIPs. Now I enjoy my experience at Strand Dental in Worthing. So even if your business does not offer a glamorous service or product, there is no excuse not to create a good experience.

I challenge the nation’s businesses to re-brand their reception areas if they are not already gleaming. Whichever kind of business you are in – law, accounting, car mechanics or toolmakers, now is the time to create a positive emotion and impress your customers. It doesn’t matter whether you are located in the back street of the worst town in Britain; you can still pimp-up your reception area.

So bin those nasty ornaments and those smelly old files that are propped up on your bookshelf. Rebranding your reception area doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you don’t have a clue about design, then hire someone who has. Check out The British Institute of Interior Designers for an interior designer in your area. It will be worth it because once you’ve impressed a potential customer with your shiny new website, you need to continue the good experience and you don’t want to let them down with a shabby reception area.

Create the best experience

Once you’ve pre-sold your product you don’t want to let your customers’ expectations down or that would be breaking your brand promise. You’ve created an emotion, albeit trust, charm, passion, love, warmth, calm. These are all emotions that will end in bitter disappointment if the experience is wrecked by inconsistency or a lousy service or bad product. See more about this in Step Seven: Brand promise – Can you walk the walk? Remember, if you are the proud owner of a shiny, brand new brand, you need to ensure that you don’t let people down. You have created an expectation and your customers will feel attached (practising Buddhists excepted) if you have branded successfully. Remember too, that you need to appeal to the economic decision maker – whether it’s the head of the family or the MD of a business.

Remember at the start of the book I suggested that we all dress a certain way to meet the family, or an ex, and so on? Well, now you need to dress your product or service in appropriate clothing – to create a good emotion (impression). Your product or services ‘clothing’ will be your marketing collateral, e.g. your website, and your brochure will pre-sell your product or service. So make sure you hire a professional creative agency to ensure your business, product and service look their best!


  • Eighty per cent of purchases are inspired by emotion, then justified by logic
  • Remember the five senses: smell, touch, sight, taste and sound – try to create experiences that stimulate these senses to help your customers to remember you
  • Remember how do you feel when you use other business services? Write down your emotions and use these experiences to improve your processes and systems
  • Re-brand your reception area to impress customers
  • Have some fun in your branding exercises.

If you enjoyed reading this excerpt and you would like a copy of the book, please send me £6 via Paypal (email address and I will send you a copy to your email address.

Alternatively, The Brand Surgery is offering a 40 minute branding consultation to a limited number of businesses. Apply here.

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