Learn from the lessons we’ve learned

There’s nothing quite like first hand experience to teach you lessons in business, and in life. You wouldn’t attempt to teach someone to drive unless you had driven for a number of years and were fairly confident behind a wheel would you? And yet every day, business people put their trust in consultants who acquired their knowledge at university, or their experience in an unrelated trade, and expect to achieve good results. It was mainly for this reason that we decided to prove our ability and credentials in the food sector about 5 years ago. We had already been in business for 20 years at that point but we wanted to give ourselves a real point of difference.

People often ask us, “What is a design and marketing company doing with its own chocolate brand?” Our answer is that we wanted to go through the process of launching a brand from scratch so we could learn about the issues that our clients face, and how to overcome them. Only when we had done that successfully did we feel that we had earned the right to coach and train other businesses to follow a similar path. Up until we started Beyond Dark, Moments of Pleasure (as the brand is now widely known), we were able to produce very competent brand designs and, depending on the skills of the clients we worked for, some of these became very successful indeed. You can see many of them on our website. Some became very well known, others are still on their journey and one or two are still surviving but sell in small numbers and are not really viable as businesses. Why is that? The answer is simple. It is one thing to create a great product – it is another to create a great brand identity (design a logo, register a trademark, design lovely packaging, a website, etc, etc – we were always good at that)……but it’s another thing entirely to get that product to market in sufficient quantity and in sufficient channels to make the brand owner a decent living.

The small number of our clients whose brands have not yet taken off successfully (and may never if I’m being honest) have failed to understand the vital aspects of what is known as “route to market”. They have walked away with their gorgeous products in the outstanding packaging we have designed for them and failed to consider market gap analysis, supply chain margins, distribution management, buyer presentations, and the sheer hard work and persistence that is needed to break through the mass of product that is out there and make an impression to an extent that achieves retail listings. We spoke to one such brand owner the other day. He invested a large 5 figure sum in creating a brand and has yet to gain a return on that investment or see any sign of a return. The work does not stop with the product, brand and packaging – that is where it STARTS.

I’m not saying we can guarantee success every time – but we now understand all the elements that go into a brand launch from the sharp end. It is no longer theoretical, we have earned our stripes. And if we can share that knowledge with others; perhaps save them some of the expensive mistakes we made in the early days and get paid for doing that, we are very happy to do so. More success stories enhance our reputation. We don’t want to be responsible for products that gather dust on the stockroom shelves.

For an initial discussion on brand development and route to market, do give us a call. 01743 236631. Ask for Amy or Elaine. Or email elainenester@adm-group.co.uk. Subsidised coaching and training is available for eligible companies through Growth Accelerator. Elaine and Kevin Nester are registered and approved coaches and trainers for the scheme. See more at http://www.growthaccelerator.co.uk. Subsidy applies to companies registered in England only.

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