My view is that the starting point for any business growth is to have a firm strategy in place which identifies the area of the business you want to expand and the market you want to grow within. From there, it’s about auditing your brand within that marketplace – drilling down into your brand performance to explore how you’re perceived by your target market, how you compare to your competitors and crucially how your brand is perceived internally. It’s so important – and easy to overlook – when you’re stepping up for growth, that you’ve got the right people within your business, supported by the right structure and the right tools to champion and live the brand at every touchpoint.
Hawthorn has recently been through this process and from the very beginning we placed great emphasis upon researching our brand; building our understanding of where we were, finding out where the market was and what people we were looking for in terms of the technical event production service we provide. Then it was very much a case of developing our brand in line with our insight. I was starting very much from the beginning with a brand whose core business had grown organically and through acquisition, had expanded its service offering. As a result we had several acquired brands jostling for position, so we needed to decide how to move forward; rebrand the business from scratch, or take one of the existing brands and amalgamate the others within that. We decided to do the latter and repositioned the brand to where we wanted it to be.
It’s been a fascinating and rewarding process for us, because we’ve seen the difference altering the way we communicate about ourselves has made to the business. The change in brand perception has been really incredible and particularly interesting for me because I knew Hawthorn from a client’s perspective before I actually worked for them! I’ve seen our business grow as a result of simply getting better at telling people who we are and what we do and I take a real pride from doing this, as do the wider Hawthorn team. Interestingly, the growth almost becomes organic again if you get everything aligned.
Growing a business is so much about relationships; we want to be seen as a leader in our field, so investing in our marketing and PR to deliver this message has been crucial to supporting Hawthorn’s growth. Being visible within the market place makes life so much easier; people have heard of you and seen your work, so forming new relationships and disrupting the status quo becomes a lot easier. The whole process just becomes a lot more organic because you’ve made some vital headway before you even get your foot through the door.