Twenty ways to grow

By Robert Jones

On Thursday 25 October Wolff Olins held its first brand summit, “How to Grow and change the game”- an event that welcomed twelve speakers from some of the UK’s most progressive brands and over sixty guests from great established brands and innovative start-ups.

The summit revealed a host of game-changing ways to spark growth. Here are my top twenty things I learned from the panelists at yesterday’s How to Grow event at Wolff Olins in London.

Getting everywhere

1. Be a start-up – however old or young you are (EE, Dyson, Little Sun, GlaxoSmithKline)

2. Don’t chase the money, let the money find you (GlaxoSmithKline)

3. Take a hit on profit in the short term, to create long-term market growth (GlaxoSmithKline)

4. Be hated as well as loved – the deepest responses are created by brands that polarize opinion (Dyson, Little Sun)

5. Enjoy inventive competitors, but not mere copy-cats (Dyson, Little Sun)

6. Use tech to outsmart the counterfeiters (GlaxoSmithKline)

7. Change the model – whatever market you’re entering, do things very differently and (through design) much better (Dyson, Little Sun)

Becoming everyday

8. To earn a place in consumers’ daily lives, understand those lives (Faber, National Trust, Skype, Virgin Media)

9. Be canny about free – make sure there’s a strategic dose of free stuff in what you offer (Virgin Media, Skype, National Trust)

10. Use ‘social’ literally – events where you meet your consumers face-to-face (Faber)

11. Use ‘social’ virtually – the fastest way to learn about the good and the bad from your consumers (Virgin Media, National Trust, Skype)

12. Adopt the latest tech – but give consumers a choice to use the gadgets that work best for them (Skype, Faber)

13. If you have content, make it as widely available as you can (Faber, National Trust)

14. Stay restless (Faber, National Trust, Skype, Virgin Media)

Growing better

15. Go beyond the fashionable idea of ‘exchange’ (of goods or skills) and think about ‘giving’ (Impossible)

16. To get things done, match ‘bees’ (small, buzzy organisations) with ‘trees’ (big, rooted ones) (Young Foundation)

17. Offer your employees shared parental leave, to help both women and men climb the career ladder (Fawett Society)

18. And get more women at the top of your business (Fawcett Society)

19. Plan your business to operate within the ‘doughnut’ (maximizing social impact while minimizing environmental harm) (Oxfam)

20. Be optimistic (Fawcett Society, Impossible, Oxfam, Young Foundation)

Robert Jones is visiting professor at University of East Anglia and Head of New Thinking at Wolff Olins. 

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