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Owen Rees: Thinking inside out

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Owen Rees

Role and company:?

Co-founder of Maverick

Company turnover (and most recent ebitda/most relevant profitability metric):?

2012: £12,804,795

2011: ?9,710,577

2010: £5,705,973

Employee numbers:


In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:

We are brand engagement specialists. Our approach, “Thinking Inside Out” is based around a hand in hand approach to brand engagement, and sees Maverick working directly with brands to help them shape and redefine their propositions in a challenging recessional climate.

What’s the big vision for your business?

“Thinking Inside Out” is our vision and it is a direct reaction to current market dynamics. Our vision is to enable organisations, teams and individuals to define their brand proposition and then align themselves around a common vision, set of values and corporate culture. Once in place, Maverick can then help organisations to express their brand proposition creatively and develop customer and employee engagement programmes.

Current level of international business, and future aspirations:?

We currently work with various clients on an international basis. For example, DHL, Black & Decker, Bacardi, Knight Frank and the Gibraltar Government.

Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:?

We had a significant bad debt in 2008 which knocked back our growth plans – at the same time some of our financial services clients disappeared into the chaos of the downturn. What we learnt from this was to diversify our offering, our client base, and the geographical markets that we were operating in – this refocus has driven our strong growth subsequently.

What makes you mad in business today?

Strategic and creative services can be massively undervalued and are often the first to be subjected to budget cuts. A difficult economy is when brands need the brain power and creative capability of agencies to help them think clearly and cut through in difficult markets.

What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?

Two things:”The effective measurement of social media and judging the role it plays for brand engagement; and the power of internal engagement and its ability to mobilise whole organisations simultaneously will be realised.

Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow” If not, what can be done to improve things?

I think all companies have challenges in accessing finance at whatever level they are at – institutions are cherry picking companies they want to back, and retail banks are failing to get cash to the right businesses to enable their growth. It feels like there is an opportunity for a new type of institution – a pure “business bank,” one that is set up to service properly an area we often lead the world in… entrepreneurship.

How would others describe your leadership style

Driven, collaborative, friendly, but with a focus on maintaining high standards.

Your biggest personal extravagance

I collect watches.

You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:

  • Cut Corporation Tax to 15 per cent for any new business started in the next three years – put a five year cap on this to protect medium term tax take;
  • Stop giving cash to the banks to give to companies – they will only ever use it to sure up their own balance sheets – give it direct to companies through a government business bank; and
  • Create national education for young unemployed to help them become entrepreneurs – similar in style to the Peter Jones Academy scheme.



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