British Library

Championing the nation's little guys

The UK economy owes a lot to the smaller guys and girls, the people with an idea, an idea that turns into a business plan, a plan which leads to a real business. Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) with 250 employees or fewer account for an impressive 47% of all private sector turnover and a whopping 60% of its employment.

Yet independent data proves that the failure rate of SMEs is alarmingly high, 6 out of 10 going down the drain before they’ve hit 5 years of age. With the help of funding from the EU, the British Library’s Business Centre put together Innovating for Growth, a programme that arms SMEs with the tools and skills needed to help improve their chances of achieving longer term success and sustainability.

Following a multi-stage tendering process we were chosen as the sole agency to deliver the branding and marketing stream of the programme in 2014 (and were re-appointed in 2016 for a further 6 years). Since then we’ve had the good fortune to help stoke the fires of some of the most promising, entrepreneurial young businesses in Britain.

From a nascent high-street beauty brand, to a disruptive IT solutions business, right through to one of London’s hottest bar chains – we have taken over 300 companies across a diverse range of verticals on a journey of understanding how a thought-through brand and purposeful marketing can help grow their businesses.

Our programmes are built around running interactive group workshops to introduce several key brand, marketing and comms concepts and techniques. These are then followed up with in depth one-to-one mentoring sessions whereby we go through the work done in the workshops and get into helping them with more bespoke advice. Our ultimate aim is to give people tools and tricks to use in the real world rather than purely theoretical clever brand malarkey.

Sometimes it takes one to know one

As an SME business ourselves, we understand what it means to build a business from scratch. We get that being small means being smart with your time and resources. We know the need for brand and marketing to focus on bottom-line business outcomes. We therefore aim to keep any jargon to a bare minimum, we’d aim for zero, but hey we’re human and occasionally can’t help but let slip the odd buzzword. This mentality – this empathy – is just one of the reasons we’ve received the highest ratings amongst other partners delivering other services, such as finance and HR, from anonymised research carried out by the British Library team that co-ordinates the programme. In addition to that hard data we reckon the fact that several of the companies we’ve advised have then gone on to contact us off their own bat to help them out more formally speaks volumes of the quality of our work.