Interviews

Want to build a household name? These four brands reveal how it can be done

8 min read

11 April 2016

With the road to the top being hard to travel, we asked a panel of our Future 50 alumni – those disrupting their industries – how they grew their own companies to the tune of great success.

Visit the complete 2016 Everline Future 50 list

Being a household name is a title few brands possess, as taking your business to that level of recognition comes hand-in-hand with incredible passion and laser-focused effort. 

Successfully building awareness of your business doesn’t usually happen overnight, nor a week or a month, so we posed the question of how to become a household brand to previous winners of our Everline Future 50 Awards at a panel session.

Held at the Bankside Vaults in London, Real Business Disrupts 2016 kicked off with Harry Thuillier, marketing director and co-owner of Oppo Ice Cream, unveiling how the company ensures it’s constantly on everyone’s minds.

Alongside co-founding sibling Charlie Thuillier, the two set out to compete in a world record event which took them to Brazil on a kite buggying expedition over a stretch of 1,000km.

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“We could be doing a marathon each day but the route wasn’t always straightforward – some days we couldn’t go along the beach and we came across swamps,” he explained. “We ran out of energy bars and Charlie lost a stone in two weeks. We saw the way locals prepared coconuts, which are really nutritious super-foods, so we started eating those.”

Let’s just say the rest was history – and in February 2015 it went on to gain £100,000 on Seedrs within one hour.

But although it raised the company’s profile along the way, marketing was deemed essential, Thuillier said. When done successfully, it will go a long way in raising awareness, exciting interest in your product and creating a desire for it – including using PRs and being active (and responsive) on social media. It also helped to have the backing of Andy Murray, he said, hinting to the news that the tennis star had invested in the company.

Essentially, however, he explained that it all came down to creating a brand that people wanted to talk about – a concept echoed by Urban Message product experience lead Odiseo Viveros, who explained that ultimately success came down to making sure you never lose the “human touch”.

The biggest reason for the disconnect between customers and business is the erosion of trust, he said. No brand can become truly great if it doesn’t build on the closer, more intimate relationships it can have with customers.

The mobile massage service has gone from strength to strength and in 2015 was valued at £8m after being backed by Passion Capital in a funding round. But despite being revolutionary, the company isn’t the first to offer massages online. This hardly matters though when you have a way of simplifying and improving prior services. 

It turns out the first-mover advantage is mostly a myth, Viveros suggested, claiming that home brands aren’t always those that come up with completely different offerings. And he has a point! Look at Facebook, waiting to build a social network until after Myspace and Friendster. You don’t have to be first, you just have to be different and better.

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It was also agreed upon by PrivateFly marketing director Carol Cork that firms sometimes viewed the lack of original concept as a hurdle – “but it doesn’t have to be that way as success also stems from being able to give people a better way of doing things.”

Read on to find out more tips from companies PrivateFly and Girl Meets Dress.

Today PrivateFly operates a very different business model to the traditional broker and is growing rapidly, doubling its turnover and bookings each year. And since its launch in 2008, the business has grown to operate internationally via web and app platforms, as well as in multiple languages. This mix of channels, she said, was key to success given how digital savvy consumers were becoming.

PrivateFly also operates B2B, distributing its services through corporate and luxury partners including Addison Lee, lastminute.com, Ten Lifestyle and Manchester Airports Group.

These partnerships were cited as being a priority, with Cork explaining that the business aviation charter is often viewed not only as too niche, but as having a too complex and opaque pricing structure  – and that focusing on B2B had opened doors to wider recognition.

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Tackling this problem has been one of the reasons why PrivateFly has found such success – there has been a need to educate the market and online distribution was a key to wider adoption.

With that in mind, she suggested that any brand operating today needed to have the ability to interact with customers on various online platforms. But most of all, the team behind a brand needed to be confident in their offering.

And the truly confident believe in their values 100 per cent. So believe it or not, Thuillier said, the mission statement of your business has the potential to make or break you. Often the reason we stay loyal to a company is because of its set of values, and the best brands strive to combine physical, emotional and logical elements into one exceptional customer experience. 

They also go hand-in-hand with corporate culture and gives bosses the chance to showcase what they believe in, Thuillier explained – and when you practice what you preach, you generate a fierce loyalty.

But arguably one of the most important components to creating a memorable was the imagery behind it – logo, brand name, etc. 

For fashion guru rental company Girl Meets Dress, its initial name only came after it found further success after a funding round in 2013. According to co-founder Anna Bance, they always knew the company would change further down the line, and so the creative process was fostered in-house.

The imagery behind the brand came natural though, with Bance suggesting that companies in specific sectors get given an advantage in terms of the images already associated with the industry – for Girl Meets Dress it was a dress.

Of course, the logo doesn’t make a brand, but it carries its ethos and message in a little, efficient package, she said, likening it to a short-cut of sorts. As such, it was highly important that the imagery of your brand – be it logo or brand name – resonated with your target audience and gave a little about yourself away at the same time.