Case Studies and Testimonials

Summary of organisations I am currently working with. If you would like more details please get in touch

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The challenge –Business Transformation and Strategy Audit

Which? is a highly respected consumer organisation with a powerful subscription business of 800k consumers, some of whom have been members for 20-25 years.  It has significant brand loyalty in a valuable demographic the over 50’s.  But how safe is this business in a digital world with (predominantly) young consumers using reviews readily found around the web for free?

Chris worked with me and other Executive Board and senior colleagues on a variety of different initiatives on an interim basis at the beginning of 2013.

Drawing on his extensive experience from a wide variety of media organisations Chris was instrumental in helping us develop and articulate a clear strategic direction for our UK publishing business.

His conclusions and recommendations were built on sound analysis. He successfully challenged a number of our underlying assumptions (and slaughtered a few sacred cows on the way!) And, critically, he built consensus for his conclusions and recommendations from the CEO downwards.

Chris has in-depth knowledge of the media world and broad based commercial and marketing experience which we valued. But what I particularly liked about Chris was the role he played as a critical yet constructive friend – pointing out things that didn’t make sense, and then doing something about it.

Chris Gardner – Managing Director  Which? Publishing

The goal

Audit the business and assess how future proof Which? was.  Establish key recommendations that would help transform Which? and set it in on a new path for the next 10 years.

The approach

  • Work with CEO and MD and Senior management exec
  • In depth audit of consumer insight and performance data.
  • Consultative workshop to establish objections and opportunities with regards to the strategic approach.

The learnings

Which? primary asset is its membership base and affinity in a demographic. This is the over 50’s market. Rather than chasing a younger demographic Which can successfully focus on super-serving this audience, a demographic that is set to double in the next 20 years, that controls 50% of the online e-commerce spend.

A successful direct marketing funnel operation needs tweaking in the modern age. With the proliferation of media-channels and media choice there is a need to focus on super-serve the existing audience and   focus on providing a functional and emotional attachment with its membership base.

The success

A new strategic narrative focusing on maximising the core business opportunities and organising the whole of the commercial business around two imperatives.  Focus on the Over 50’s target audience and superserving the existing membership base more effectively.

A series of strategic initiatives:

  • Proposition development and Partnership strategy for Which? Local
  • Commercial Opportunities for new ventures such as Which? University.
  • An examination of the customer research and performance measures, to ensure information was turned into insight.

 

Live Magazine

Livity and Live Magazine  

Livity was set up by Sam Coniff and  Michelle Clothier about 11 years ago.  A youth engagement agency intent on providing teenagers a chance to learn new skills whilst co-creating exceptional award-winning work. There are some incredible success stories.   One of their most successful accomplishments is Live Magazine.

Chris quickly understands where you are as a business or organisation and can clearly signpost brilliant, creative, productive directions – and crucially, can help you get there.

Emma Warren

Senior Editorial Mentor,  Live Magazine

Chris worked with us at Live Magazine (Livity) on our business plan and our transition to digital first. He’s an intuitive listener who can quickly ascertain where you are as a business and can clearly signpost how you might move in a given direction – and can also help you see what direction you could take. His ability to balance commercial and creative aspects allowed us to build unique solutions for our unique problems. He has a broad and deep knowledge and understanding of the media and digital landscape which helped us ensure that we moved forward in a way that worked for us, and that helped prime us for success in the bigger picture, too.

LIVE

A vibrant community, LIVE presents youth culture, serious issues, opportunities and advice in a voice that young people understand – their own.

“LIVE opened doors that would have otherwise been closed. It gave me the confidence to believe in my work, get back into education and get a job. It changes lives!”
Jordan, former editor of Live

The brief

I worked with Livity and the Live team to look at how they could move forward and provide a forward thinking media approach whilst keeping their ethos and the excellent content they produce in the magazine.

The Success
A new digital first strategy for Live, currently being implemented. This will transform the media output and the skills that the 1000 strong annual intake of contributors learn.
Detail

Mentored by professionals from the Guardian, Metro, Timeout, BBC, ITV and IPC, LIVE gives hundreds of 12-24 year-olds skills, experience, qualifications and routes into employment or education every year.

  • 1,000+ young contributors mentored each year
  • Over 100 NEET  (not in employment, education, training) young people into employment or education in 2009

“LIVE is a great voice for young people in London” 
Ed Milliband, Leader of the Labour party

 

 

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We were introduced to Chris when he mentored us for Springboard, the startup accelerator. We were so impressed by his breadth of knowledge and experience after working in key companies across the media, digital and creative sectors that we jumped at the chance to continue working with him post-Springboard.
He has the rare ability to quickly dig deeply into a product and company by asking the right questions and identifying unique challenges, all the while keeping his ear to the ground and helping to spot and secure strategic opportunities and partnerships. He is a valued ally of The Backscratchers and I would highly recommend working with him.

The Backscratchers is the platform that connects innovative brands, agencies and companies with the hand-picked creative talent needed for short-term projects and collaborations. The website launched in public beta in April 2013 and is revenue generating, with over 1,200 registered users and a 500+ person waitlist. Skills on the platform range from photography, web development and filmmaking through to skills not easily sourced on the web like nail art design and retail design for pop-up stores. They are recent winners of the Music Tech Pitch 4.5 competition (both the Audience and Judge’s Vote awards) and were one of 11 teams chosen for Springboard 2012, the startup accelerator working out of Google Campus in London, which was recently acquired by TechStars. http://www.thebackscratchers.com <http://www.thebackscratchers.com/

 

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John Brown Publishing  – Intense 5 days business audit and change process.

Day 1-2- Analyse market and Interview key personel

Day 3 – Workshop with Senior Team to identify opportunities, threats and assess motivation to change and capabilities.

Day 4- Write Up

Day 5- Presentation to Non- Executive Board.

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A Big Data analysis and CRM project to establish the value of collected data and to establish how this can best be used to support their customers and improve retention and frequency of visit.

 

“Chris is an extremely insightful leader and thinker in the areas of customer insight, data mining and digital direct marketing. He is both strategic and practical in the implementation of his ideas.”

Luke Alverez, CEO, Inspired Gaming Group

 

More Case Studies and Testimonials are available on request.