Britain’s 5.6 million SMEs should all now be aware of the new Labour government’s vision of ‘growth, growth and more growth’. But what some may be unaware of, is the huge business growth opportunities for all the SMEs that become Social Value Ready, and the significant risks of not.
 
This new Labour government is clearly a ‘Social Value’ government. This is evidenced by its statements that “Sustained economic growth is the only route to our country’s prosperity.” “Changing the planning system will get the country building again and creating new jobs.” “Improving the health and wellbeing of the nation will reduce the strain on our health service.” “If Britain had grown at the average rate of the OECD economies under the Conservatives, it would have grown by another £140 billion, giving an additional £58 billion to our much-needed public services.” “We need stability for investors to bring business back to Britain to help build a steady economy.” and “We will be a government of service.” All statements reflect the principles of the Social Value model which are scored against the government’s sub criteria metrics that SVRE UK use.
 
Whilst we wait to see Rachel Reeves reveal her “aggressive pro-growth policies,” the way to grow British businesses remains firmly embedded in the government’s eight Policy Outcomes of Social Value. Any business wishing to bid for some of the £400 billion public services budget, which the government has specifically set aside for the more ambitious SMEs, or even retain its current public or private contracts, must be able to clearly demonstrate high-quality Social Value, firmly embedded within its business culture, and within any contract bid.
 
The new government will be making major planning reforms to help achieve its ambition of 1.5 million homes, built over the next parliament. This creates phenomenal opportunities to the construction industry and related services.
The Green Party won 4 seats in the election, with the more progressive Social Value cities of Brighton and Bristol applying up to 30% Social Value weighting to their public contracts. The importance of Social Value has not changed with the new government. Social Value is here to stay. In fact, Social Value policies will continue to provide the foundation of how Britain will grow.
 
Social Value is the perfect platform for social and economic recovery, and the 8 policy outcomes and scoring metrics framework show businesses how this should be implemented. It underpins the government’s faith in the power of SMEs who employ 60.7% of the British workforce, to play their part in this recovery, and rewarding any Social Value Ready business by improving their opportunity to win a public contract.
 
The government’s Social Value request for all businesses to help improve the mental health of their employees, is augmented by their commitment to improve the mental health of the nation, with 8,000 more additional mental health workers, a mental health practitioner in every school, and to see a ‘Mental Health Hub’ in every community. Real change is evidenced in our local communities, in the improvement of people’s physical and mental health, and is experienced at a personal level, even to business owners and their families, by a continued improvement of public services.
 
But what is the government really asking SMEs to do, to be rewarded with public contracts from their £400 billion public spending budget. SVRE UK outlines below, some of the areas that the government is asking SMEs to help them with.
 
  1. Tackle unemployment and create opportunities in the workforce.
  2. Improve the physical and mental health of their people to reduce the strain on the health service.
  3. Deliver environmental benefits to achieve net zero.
  4. Help their supply chains to reduce emissions.
  5. Be innovative and develop emerging technologies.
  6. Tackle poverty and economic equality.
  7. Create training and apprenticeships in areas of skill shortage and high growth areas.
  8. Increase the representation of disabled people in their workforce.
  9. Tackle any inequality in employment, skills, and pay, in their workforce.
  10. Collaborate with communities to deliver and support stronger and more integrated communities.
All reasonable requests. All government growth policies. All Social Value policies.
 
The new government will help all Britain’s Social Value Ready SMEs to grow, after a business has embedded their 8 Social Value policies. Social Value is here to stay. If only 10% of the 5.6 million British SME become Social Value Ready, then a significant shift in economic and social life will take place. When the Procurement Act 2023 becomes law in October 2024, and every local authority and government contract will have a minimum of 10% Social Value requirement within it, any business that is not Social Value Ready, will simply not be able to bid for any local authority or government contract. They also run the risk of a client dropping them as they are not a Social Value member of their supply chain.
 
SVRE UK will continue to help level up SMEs, by assisting any business to become Social Value Ready, and join our SVRE UK Business Consortium, to successfully bid for government contracts to keep public services improving.
 
All that a business has to decide, is whether it will become a Social Value business, or face the consequences of ignoring this seismic change in how business will be done.
 
Book your free SVRE UK Social Value Ready consultation below.
 

Understand Social Value and Wellbeing at our business event, hosted by the Institute of Directors. 9.30 to 11 am, on the 20th of June 2024.

https://www.iod.com/events/social_value_and_wellbeing_act_20242417499199/

 

The new Procurement Act becomes law in October 2024 … and the way we do business will change forever.

The reforms will shake up and improve our outdated procurement system, so that every procurement pound spent, gives greater value for money for our public services. Public procurement will change forever when the Procurement Act 2023, with its Social Value and Wellbeing principles, becomes mandatory law in October 2024.

WHAT DOES SOCIAL VALUE AND WELLBEING REALLY MEAN?

SOCIAL VALUE is the extent to which your organisation positively impacts your community, by Social, Economic, and Environmental aspects, which are measured by a specific set of government metrics, especially when you bid for public and private contracts.

WELLBEING is the government’s new framework for measuring your organisation’s commitment to the wellbeing of your people, and of your wider community, both social and business.

Social aspects include community development, education, health and social justice etc.

Economic aspects include economic growth, income distribution, poverty, unemployment etc.

Environmental aspects include emission levels, pollution, conservation, recycling etc. They represent the 3 pillars that contribute to the overall health and sustainability of our communities and planet that we all live on that the UN created back in 1992 with its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that the 193 member countries are all trying to embed by 2030.

As most businesses are within a supply chain involving public bodies, or large private organisations, they need to understand and adapt to these procurement law changes. However far removed you might think you are; business will always be an eco-system of interconnected supply chains.

Start-ups, scale-ups, and SME’s stand to benefit the most. The biggest change of all is that the decision-making criteria for awarding contracts, is no longer driven solely by price, nor quality, nor history, nor personal relationships. No longer does the ‘Most Economically Advantageous Tender’ win, but the ‘Most Advantageous Tender’. The only point of difference in contract bids will be the quality of the social value and wellbeing embedded within it.

Smaller, more agile, and innovative businesses are now more able to dazzle procurers as they embed a high quality of social value and wellbeing into their contract bids. This represents a fabulous opportunity for smaller businesses to drive innovation, deliver better outcomes, and redefine the business landscape in their favour.

BUSINESSES WHICH IGNORE THE LEGAL CHANGES RISK LOSING WORK!

Successful bids will have to embed social value. Businesses which ignore the changes to the procurement law risk losing existing work and losing out to Social Value Ready competitors. The degree to which a business embraces this new law, will directly impact their capacity to thrive and grow. The government now requires its procurement officials to ‘explicitly evaluate social value and wellbeing in all contract bids’. (As will procurement officers on any overseas contract bids as per the WTO GPA).

THE NEW LAW WILL MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU TO BID FOR, AND WIN, NEW WORK. HERE’S HOW.

  • Removal of bureaucratic barriers, levelling the business playing field for smaller businesses, so you can compete equally with larger organisations for contracts.
  • Access to a full range of appropriate contracts for your business in one digital library, for example, a £20k print contract, up to a £5 million construction contract. Let us help you go get them.
  • Guaranteed access to £1.3 trillion of overseas procurement opportunities for social value ready British business, thanks to the UK joining the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement on 1st January 2021.
  • This is a 2-way street however, with overseas social value ready businesses having full access to bid for UK government public contracts with procurement officers legally bound to explicitly evaluate them!
  • It will create a central digital platform for you to register and store your business details used for multiple bids, and ‘Commercial Frameworks’ will be more flexible.
  • Prompt 60-day payment regime. Most smaller businesses fail due to cash flow.
  • Removal of obstacles around the provision of accounts, and insurance, at the early bidding stage.
  • Stronger exclusions framework with tougher action on underperforming suppliers.
  • Transparency right through the commercial lifecycle of a contract, so you can access procurement data and see how the billions of government’s procurement money is spent.
  • Guidance and support from procurers for the supplier community.
  • Feedback on every failed bid, as procurers want you to keep trying.

IT’S TIME TO ACT – SO CONTACT US NOW FOR A FREE CONSULTATION AT      

Let SVRE UK help your business to become Social Value Ready and benefit from these incredible growth opportunities as we move towards go-live in October. Stay ahead of the game, retain your existing clients, and access a UK procurement pot of £130 billion that the government has specifically set aside for SMEs, and access to £1.3 trillion in overseas procurement markets in the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Government Procurement. (1st January 2021).

The Birth Of An Industry Leading Company

The journey of Subscan UDS began in 2012, originating as a small family-owned drain cleaning and repair enterprise based in Bramley, Leeds.  With a team of just 10 employees, we embarked on a path of dedication and hard work.

Seven years later, our growth propelled us to a new headquarters at Subscan House, strategically located on the outskirts of Leeds City Centre.  This move enabled us to extend our services nationwide, tackling larger-scale projects across the UK.  Concurrently, our utility, drainage, and survey divisions experienced substantial expansion, leading to the acquisition of the prestigious RISQS accreditation.  This accreditation empowered us to offer comprehensive trackside drainage and surveying solutions to GB Rail clients across the country.

Presently, Subscan UDS stands as a distinguished integrated survey and drainage specialist contractor, boasting a workforce of over 150 committed professionals.  The remarkable success we’ve achieved is credited to the unwavering dedication and relentless efforts of our management, staff, on-site team leaders, and engineers over the past decade.  Their tireless commitment has been pivotal in propelling our expansion and attaining significant business growth.

Compliance. Sustainability. Environmental Excellence

In early 2024, Subscan took a significant step forward by diversifying its services into the Environmental Compliance sector.  This expansion marked a strategic move to support businesses in navigating the complex landscape of environmental regulations and standards.  Our aim is to assist organisations in understanding their environmental assets comprehensively and implementing effective strategies to ensure compliance while mitigating the risk of pollution incidents.  Through our tailored services and solutions, we provide businesses with the tools and knowledge needed to proactively manage their environmental responsibilities.

Investing In The Future

Over the past three years, Subscan has undergone significant business investment, totalling millions of pounds. This investment encompasses acquiring state-of-the-art vehicles, tankers, cutting-edge drainage and remediation equipment, and advanced land and utility mapping technology.  These strategic investments bolster our position as a leading force in the utilities, drainage, and surveying sectors.

Moreover, we’ve expanded our operational footprint into the Midlands region of the UK, marked by the acquisition of our new depot in Derby.  This strategic move brings us closer to our Midlands customers, enhancing the delivery of our comprehensive services.

The expansion has led to rapid recruitment efforts, adding new talent to our in-house and on-site teams.  This concerted effort has fuelled remarkable growth within the company over the past 12 months, laying a solid foundation for continued success and expansion in the future.

The Winning Formula

Subscan’s success stems from our integrated approach, where all departments collaborate seamlessly to offer clients a comprehensive maintenance solution.  From assessment to completion, we provide a turnkey service, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Our utilities, surveying, drainage, and CCTV departments work together to inspect, cleanse, and survey existing drainage infrastructure.  Our specialist teams utilise advanced techniques to repair infrastructure, including complete excavations and replacements if needed.

Centralising project management with one company enhances efficiency and cost-effectiveness.  It streamlines communication, reducing coordination efforts and providing clients with fewer points of contact.  From project inception, Subscan takes full control, offering transparent cost and timeline estimates for informed decision-making.

Ultimately, our integrated approach delivers efficiency, cost savings, and peace of mind for clients throughout the project lifecycle.

A Few Words from our Managing Director

Why is drainage essential?

Drainage plays a crucial role in the daily operations of any business, facilitating tasks like water supply and wastewater disposal.  Despite its significance, much of the drainage system remains unseen, making it often overlooked until issues arise, resulting in costly repairs.  Thus, proactive maintenance and regular inspections are vital to ensure smooth drainage operations, saving time and money by addressing potential issues before they escalate.

How can businesses safeguard themselves?

Prioritising regular inspection and maintenance of drainage systems, akin to other utilities like electricity and gas, is crucial.  Neglecting drainage can disrupt operations and compromise safety, emphasising the need for a proactive approach to maintenance.  Implementing routine checks and upgrades is essential to safeguarding business operations and fostering a healthy work environment.

Why choose Subscan?

Subscan is a top choice for drainage, utilities, and surveying needs, boasting over two decades of expertise.  Founded by Roy Mason and still family-owned, we operate across the UK, offering drainage solutions and surveys of all underground services.  Our highly skilled teams utilize cutting-edge technologies, including ground-penetrating radar devices and 32-tonne recycler units, to ensure thorough site cleanses and surveys.

If repairs are needed, we provide tailored solutions, from small patch repairs, full-length pipe lining or traditional excavation and replacement.  With a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, we prioritize the latest technologies to minimise disruption to your operations and ensure the integrity of your drainage infrastructure. Choose Subscan for trusted service backed by over 20 years of industry-leading expertise.

Keith Ferris – Managing Director – Subscan UDS

Technology typically underpins all that we do within business. It’s one thing to keep up with the technology, it’s another to understand the industry jargon, acronyms and complexities. But, what does it actually mean for businesses?

Since the announcement of the impending PSTN Switch Off (Openreach’s withdrawal of the copper network that many phones, broadband services and other devices depend on), it’s been a struggle to get the message out there, let alone in a comprehensible way. Unlike the analogue television to digital changeover, the telecoms equivalent has had low level governmental support and inadequate national media coverage, which means businesses are not aware, and are therefore unprepared and at risk of encountering major operational disruptions when the December 2025 expiry date arrives.

We’ve embraced Daisy Communications’ mission of “Keeping Britain Working” as the perfect vehicle to deliver industry-based updates, in a language that all can understand.

Throughout www.keepingbritainworking.co.uk, we’ve recognised the challenges businesses face in staying connected and thriving in the fast-paced world of technology. We also understand the critical role that communications play in keeping business operations running smoothly. We’re dedicated to providing in-depth insights and resources tailored to the needs of small-to-medium-sized businesses, ensuring they can stay ahead in an increasingly digital business environment.

Our goal is to empower SMEs across all sectors with the knowledge they need to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of comms technology in the UK. Ultimately, we want these businesses, the backbone of the UK economy, to make informed decisions that lead to their business’ success.

While we are industry players, the information we’re providing here is impartial and unbiased, encouraging organisations to seek further guidance and support from their existing supplier where possible.

Please visit our website to explore our library of resources; we hope this assists in the understanding of some of the industry’s complex topics so that they are relevant and can be confidently acted upon.

Lizzie Fagg, Head of Marketing, Daisy Communications

marketing@daisycomms.co.uk

In the world of organisational change, “neuroscience” is the latest buzzword, promising a revolutionary approach to leadership and results. However, amidst the genuine pioneers, a growing number of self-proclaimed experts are peddling what can only be described as snake oil.

Picture this: a webinar on ‘the neuroscience of intuition’, led by a charismatic presenter, getting the science wrong with great authority. The audience doesn’t know! This scenario is increasingly common, leaving leaders vulnerable to the pitfalls of misinformation. The danger lies not only in wasting resources but in derailing the train on the journey to effective leadership behind bottom line benefits.

Neurocoaching, often touted as a panacea for organisational woes, requires careful consideration. The risk is significant. Relying on others to fish for you can be a costly mistake that hinders progress rather than propelling it.

Duxinaroe Ltd are teaching leaders to fish for themselves in this vast new ocean of performance improvement. Here, leaders find a beacon in the fog of misinformation. The founders, seasoned engineers with a wealth of experience leading change across Europe, bring a unique perspective. With over two decades of dedicated study in neuroscience, they have distilled their knowledge into their BTFA™ program, which introduces science to improve best practice.

The key differentiator is their hands-on experience: as directors and consultants who have steered organisations through transformative change. Their brain-centric approach isn’t just theory; it’s a pragmatic understanding of how the brain adapts and excels in real-world business scenarios.

In a world where the line between progress and pseudoscience blurs, leaders must be discerning in their choices. Beyond the hype, beyond the false promises, lies a path illuminated by the principles of neuroscience. Choose wisely, and your journey towards effective leadership and change can begin with www.duxinaroe.com, where science meets success.

Established by Elliott Manning in 2021, I-GUYD’s inception was fueled by the vision of offering a comprehensive and meticulous guide to facilitate the seamless transition of relocating businesses to the United States.

After successfully expanding his other businesses, Kayman Recruitment and Hunted, into the US, Elliott found inspiration to create I-GUYD. Faced with challenges in resourcing Kayman’s expansion, he recognised the need for a solution. This realisation drove Elliott to develop a platform that could aid others in navigating similar obstacles. With determination and foresight, he brought I-GUYD to life, fueled by his passion to empower aspiring entrepreneurs in smoothly expanding to the US.

Over the past couple of years, Elliott has had the privilege of working with some incredible companies, assisting them with their business expansions. From sourcing contacts for the best legal representation to finding the perfect office space tailored to your needs, we partner with leading organisations in the relevant industries to ensure the smoothest possible execution of your expansion.

As we continue to forge partnerships and create success stories, our commitment to excellence remains unwavering. Our comprehensive approach encompasses not only the logistical aspects of relocation but also strategic insights into the US market. We understand that every business is unique, and our tailored solutions reflect this understanding.

In our ongoing pursuit of excellence, we invite you to explore our full article on pages 336-337 for deeper insights into the dynamic landscape of the US market. Discover firsthand the valuable knowledge and experiences that have shaped I-GUYD into a trusted partner for businesses seeking a smooth and successful expansion journey.

For all of us in the bustling world of business, understanding the potential of AI is crucial for gaining a competitive edge. Let’s break it down from a managerial perspective.

Traditional AI: Imagine you own a premium denim brand. Quality control is key. You want every product that reaches your customers to be perfect. But manual inspections can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Traditional AI is able to achieve this through a training dataset, a collection of images used to teach the AI what a tear or discolouration in the fabric looks like. These training datasets can be expensive to build and are usually focus on a very specific question.

For a long time, AI’s massive advantages seemed reserved for the big players, think the tech behind online advertising, search engine results or online shopping recommendations. The investment made sense for corporate giants, but for nimble, smaller businesses, it often seemed an unattainable dream.

However, on November 30th, 2022, the game changed forever. OpenAI introduced ChatGPT, championing the era of Large Language Models (LLMs). These aren’t your standard Traditional AI models focused on a specific question. They’re versatile, equipped to handle any language-based task. It’s like hiring a genius who can adapt to virtually any role. Need to tweak the tone of a crucial email pitch? Curious about sales trends? Struggling with task scheduling? LLMs complete these tasks quickly and easily.

How smart is an LLM? When tested with a specialized version of the WAISE IV IQ test, LLMs like OpenAI’s GPT often achieve a perfect score. When a human gets close to a perfect score their IQ is considered so high it’s unmeasurable. Some argue it’s just because the IQ questions and answers were part of their training dataset, and sure, there is some truth to that. The LLM is recalling pre-learned answers, but isn’t that part of human expertise? Don’t we all just “knowledge recall”? How often do you work something out from scratch? And when you do have an original idea how often is it just building on someone else’s previous work?

All that said, LLMs aren’t perfect. They’re like a genius savant who, after answering a question forgets you ever asked it. They’re unparalleled for short, focused tasks but lack the long-term memory and context we as humans possess.

What does this mean for businesses? It means having an ultra-efficient intelligent human at your disposal for short tasks. Want to gauge the tone of an important document? Need insights from complex data sets? Or perhaps quick translations for international clients? LLMs are the solution.

Take Nexoid as an example. We have an IT helpdesk product that we integrated with OpenAI’s LLM. The workflow now seamlessly uses the LLM to predicting ticket completion times, estimates security risk, and even simplify and translate users’ queries. It’s a game-changer, not only improving efficiency but also proving management visibility of soft data which previously would have been impossible. The benefits are simply huge.

But the real magic of AI, especially LLMs, is in data interpretation. Numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. LLMs dive deeper, offering insights on language-based data. Customer satisfaction, employee performance, relationships and professionalism can now all be measured. LLM’s can interpret language data into actionable information.

The evolution of AI, particularly LLMs, isn’t just a tech breakthrough; it’s a business revolution. Embracing their capabilities can redefine efficiency and drive unparalleled growth, making it the perfect addition to any forward-thinking enterprise.

If you are interested in learning more or want to have a chat about how LLM’s could work in your business why not give us a call +44 (0) 207 078 8122 or book an appointment https://www.nexoid.com/en/contact_us

Julian Obubo, Partner and Direct of DE&I at Manifest Group on why we need to overhaul the way we think about diversity, equity and inclusion

It’s been almost three years since the summer of 2020 which we’ll all remember as a turning point in the global conversation around diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s a sad state of affairs to admit that it took the brutal murder of George Floyd for governments, businesses and individuals to take a sober and critical look at their conduct. In the ensuing scramble of accountability, we saw apologies, mea culpas, promises to do better, resignations, black squares and more. Books on anti-racism flew off the shelves, and unconscious bias became the ‘training du jour’.

Corporations began long overdue assessments of their own company culture, with many finding that they had created a workplace that is at best unwelcoming and at times, hostile to non-white staff.

Yet, despite the conversations and promises to do better in 2020, how much has changed materially in the business landscape in the UK? There is generally a better awareness that DEI is important and needs to be taken seriously, but, three years on we still do not have mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting in the UK.

The reason for this intransigence in robustly addressing DEI stems from the fact that we have been trying to tackle the issue as though the need for a change isn’t a direct result of racism in our culture.

“Tackling diversity without addressing racism is like mopping and drying a floor without fixing the source of the leak.“

Many people in business seem to view racism as such a heavy and serious word that should not be brought into the workplace. Even called the ‘R Word’. The common view is that racism is what white nationalists and neo-Nazis do and that it simply isn’t a major problem in the urbane quarters of the business world. Raising the topic, or simply mentioning the word is sometimes perceived as more offensive than the possibility of racist sentiments existing within an organisation.

We have viewed addressing DEI in the corporate world as largely a short-term problem that could be fixed with a few novel HR initiatives and a lot of goodwill.

“To truly face the issues head-on, we need to start asking tougher and more nuanced questions about the status quo, such as “Why aren’t there many Black people choosing to join our organisation or enter our industry?””

Asking these questions will peel off the thin veneer of progress and reveal the many barriers and obstacles faced by people of colour in choosing a career path or deciding to join a company.

We need to acknowledge that the lack of diversity in certain industries is a manifestation of a host of systemic issues that cannot be fixed in isolation, or by the private sector alone.

We cannot fix the lack of diversity without a broad understanding of the insidious racism that usually comes out as “I’m not sure they will be the right fit” when interviewing a potential candidate.

We cannot make progress if alcohol consumption is the only way an organisation socialises- excluding Muslims who don’t drink for religious reasons.

And we will never make meaningful progress if we continue to ignore the fact that a society that hums and haws over whether to take down statues of slaveowners who owned the forebears of fellow citizens might not be as welcoming as we’d like to think.

Fixing diversity means fixing the stories we tell ourselves of how modern Britain came to be. Fixing diversity means actually listening to non-white employees when they point to instances of racism they have faced, or when they identify a cultural blind spot in the workplace. It means being willing to be uncomfortable and vulnerable, it means challenging management and peers, and sometimes it will require turning down commercial opportunities or initiating disciplinary action.

Fixing diversity will require sacrifice. It will demand a mindset and behaviour shift that goes well beyond the office. Fixing diversity is not a workplace problem, it’s a societal problem that workplaces can and should have a role in fixing, but it cannot be left to them alone.

In fixing diversity, the work will never feel like it’s done. It will be an ongoing struggle. Meaningful progress will only be truly judged when non-white staff can honestly say they believe their white colleagues will stand up to racism outside the workplace and within their own family or friendship circles.

Change happens when diversity and anti-racism are valued outside as well as inside the workplace. Change happens when we acknowledge our complicity in maintaining the status quo by not speaking up against or challenging institutions that are resistant to change.

Change happens when businesses stop thinking about diversity and inclusion as a human resources issue, but as a human relations issue.

CTA: For more information, visit: manifest.group

To view Manifest’s DE&I commitment statement, visit: manifest.group/diversity-inclusion-commitment-statement

___

About Manifest Group:

We are an award-winning unified agency on a mission to build brands that change the world. With studios in London, New York, Stockholm, Manchester, Melbourne and Los Angeles, Manifest Group is born of the belief that great marketing is no longer about selling products but starting movements. It is our unwavering belief that brands and organisations have a capacity to change the world for the better. To elicit a positive impact on the lives of their audiences. And for their marketing campaigns to not only raise awareness of these impacts, but to amplify them.

We manifest this potential as a commercial advantage — driving both the success and the significance of the brands we build. We provide a catalyst for a different approach to business; whereby growth is not measured solely in financial terms, but through positive impacts on people and the planet they live on.

For more information or further comment please contact: hello@manifest.group

As technology evolves, so too does our ability to understand the impact a brand is having. A few years ago the switch in emphasis from ‘share of voice’ to ‘share of search’ helped us to see the intentions and key terms associated with our brands. It’s a powerful metric, but needs to be understood in the context of how your brand is being perceived. Aaron Maughan, Senior Insight & Strategy Manager at Manifest Group, explains why measuring brand sentiment has become as important as measuring consumer behaviour when unlocking growth opportunities.

Your business exists as an aggregation of your clienteles’ opinions. In some cases these are people looking for quick treats in the FMCG sector, in other cases it’s potential investors who can help your business scale. Whoever it is you’re talking to, make sure that you’re clear on what their sentiment towards your brand is.

Word of mouth is becoming increasingly important across our digital ecosystems, with end users citing friends and family as key influences in their purchase decision. Whether an audience group trusts a brand – to deliver, to create, to act – is one of the most important parts of the sales funnel, regardless of what you’re selling.

The term ‘corporate citizen’ isn’t new, but it’s a useful lens to view decisions about your brand through and ensure that you’re building trust. With a tough outlook ahead for many, now is the time to make trust a central part of your brand to unlock growth opportunities. 

Building corporate citizenship into your brand growth strategy

Putting trust at the heart of brand loyalty

One major behavioural shift from the pandemic was that brand loyalty (and retention) has declined since the pandemic as customers seek better experiences.

At the outbreak of the pandemic, 62% of global consumers believed that brands played a critical role in helping countries to address the challenges it brought, which started a shift in where we found value. For some of us this meant building closer ties with local and independent businesses, for others it was a pricing war for the best experience at the lowest cost. Either way, we were forced to think about the role the brands we engage with behave in wider society.

Shared accountability with end users

In turn, this shifted our expectations for brands. We’re better connected to the wider actions of a business through social media and the rise in citizen journalism and 71% of people globally would agree that if they perceive a brand to be putting profit over people, they’ll lose trust in it forever.

This includes the pressure to act in environmentally friendly ways, ensure ‘ethical purchases’ when possible (employees are paid fairly, DE&I initiatives are being followed etc) and contribute to a fairer economy.

What steps do we need to take?

The crux of this is showing up in the right ways for your business:

  1. Bring the receipts. There are so many good intentions behind brand activations around calendar moments like Earth Day and Pride, but make sure you’ve done the due diligence for your business. It’s ok if you’re not quite there yet – the key thing is having a clear and transparent plan for your role as a corporate citizen.
  2. Respond, don’t react. It can be tempting to share messages of solidarity in your brand comms. This is a great start but audiences are looking for impact. You need to show that you’re listening to people. But listening is just the beginning. People expect to see action taken from a business. In the UK, 70% of people think that brands should stop working with celebrities if they do something offensive.

For some this will be a matter of hygiene. For others it may require a full ESG strategy. Either way, it’s important that business leaders have these conversations now. More consumers are faced with changing their buying decisions and seeing your business in the wider societal context will influence this.

How do we know we’re having the right impact?

  • Confidence to act. This requires a clear brand mission, purpose and values. As long as an action is ingrained with these, take action.
  • Knowing when to shut up. Not every occasion requires comment or action from brands. Even if it’s tempting to do so, if the business can’t back up key claims then don’t speak.
  • Understand brand sentiment – from online conversations, unprompted awareness and end user experience – it all helps to build a better brand. Link these to key associations you want to make with the wider ecosystem. We’d recommend ‘trust’ being one of these but it might be ‘sustainable’, ‘inclusive’ etc.
  • Metrics that matter. Got a USP? Great. Got a mission? Awesome. Now build metrics that connect the two to sentiment and growth

CTA: To find out more on building and measuring positive brand impact, contact hello@manifest.group. Visit:https://slant.manifest.group/  for more commentary and insight from the team.

___

References:

  1. 34% of consumers discover brands through recommendations from friends and family, topped only by ‘ads on TV’ (35%) and ‘search engines’ (37%), GWI Brand Discover Survey UK, 2022
  2. Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic, Edelman (March 2020)
  3. Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic, Edelman (March 2020)
  4. GWI Celebrity Endorsement Statement Agreement, 2200 Respondents (November 2022)

___

About Manifest Group:

We are an award-winning unified agency on a mission to build brands that change the world. With studios in London, New York, Stockholm, Manchester, Melbourne and Los Angeles, Manifest Group is born of the belief that great marketing is no longer about selling products but starting movements. It is our unwavering belief that brands and organisations have a capacity to change the world for the better. To elicit a positive impact on the lives of their audiences. And for their marketing campaigns to not only raise awareness of these impacts, but to amplify them.

We manifest this potential as a commercial advantage — driving both the success and the significance of the brands we build. We provide a catalyst for a different approach to business; whereby growth is not measured solely in financial terms, but through positive impacts on people and the planet they live on.

For more information or further comment please contact: hello@manifest.group

I’m Phil Myerscough, the owner of pjm:digital – an eCommerce focused digital agency. We work with top end specialists to manage our new breed of hybrid digital agency. I’m also an eCommerce Consultant. My background is that I was an eCommmerce Manager for 16+ years – since the turn of the millennium – managing websites and eCommerce businesses for companies such as Richer Sounds, Damart, Vertbaudet, Kaleidoscope and N.Peal. I’ve been described as “a digital gun for hire”… I like to think of myself more as a “digital swiss army knife”.

Since I set up pjm:digital back in 2017, I’m often asked “so what do you do?”. In truth, it’s a question I’m never sure I’ve ever answered in the same way twice. My answer could be a long 10 minute soliloquy which includes part of my career history, lists the “collection of special skills” that I think makes me the digital Liam Neeson, and then mentions some of the clients I’ve helped along the way. Then there’s a simpler, more to the point version which is “I help businesses make more money online”. I like this version best as it often breaks the ice, and perhaps get across my personality better. There are other versions in between of course.

 

So how can we help you?

There are different flavours of what we do. Part of the business is a digital marketing agency… we build websites for clients and then help them organise, plan, build and action their digital marketing channels. From a consultancy point of view however, this breaks down into two main definitions. 

First, I’m sometimes parachuted into businesses to help them run and grow their online business. This involves helping them defining their digital strategy – and I like to do this end to end. For one recent client this included everything from website, digital marketing all the way through to reviewing their packaging and even relocating their warehouse and fulfilment operation.

The other version is to work with businesses looking to develop their eCommerce business or replatform their existing website. Perhaps they’ve outgrown their current website, want to integrate with other software or systems within their business, or just want to review their current website, ongoing costs and their agency suppliers.

 

Scope, define, design, develop, deliver

When it comes to defining the requirements for your website, this always reverts to a flip chart and post it note exercise. This allows us to really get under the skin of your business as a whole. Your people, your processes, your systems, your current business… and importantly your future business. This is what we’re building together, so this is where we will define how your website can not only support this, but also drive it forward.

Throughout we’ll always refer to your audience, your customer and we’ll also have one eye on the competitors and other affinity businesses they may be shopping with. We then work through all the key front and back end elements your website needs to include to deliver an exceptional experience for your customers, and results for you.

This brief is then used to go out to market and help us to find the best platform and agency to bring the brief to life. I support your project throughout, working alongside your team – remember they still have to run your business as well as deliver this project. Then one of the key experiences I bring to the project is the user testing. This is often overlooked or shortened due to projects running over, however it’s absolutely key and the projects that don’t get this right often spend the immediate period after go live, chasing their tails doing fixes and not actually developing and moving forward.

 

Let’s Talk Digital

Whether you’re looking to launch your business online, or looking to upgrade and grow your eCommerce business, we have 22 years of experience working for, and supporting some great eCommerce businesses. So drop us a line and let’s talk digital!