Vistage UK Blog

Opal Fruits & Why a Name Change is Never Enough!

Posted by Robert Craven

27-Oct-2014 17:14:24


"Opal Fruits... made to make your mouth water." Those of you of a certain age will remember the TV ad as if it were yesterday. Actually, it was from 1997. The name change, as with 'Marathon' becoming 'Snickers' and ‘Jif’ becoming ‘Cif’, was to unite the variously used local brand names under one name. So, one name, one brand, one global advertising campaign.

Despite our howls of protest, it seems to have worked and we have forgiven Mars the manufacturers.

However, there may be further lessons to be learned. In the relatively dull confectionary world of the 1970's, Opal Fruits and their advertising campaign stood out from the competition. But times have changed. A pincer movement has taken place. Even brighter, shinier and shoutier competition has eaten into the Opal Fruits/Starburst market share. Sweets that look absurdly full of E numbers and preservatives attack one end; meanwhile, authentic, organic products with provenance, have also taken a share at the other end of the market.

Changing their name didn’t change anything. The competition just kept on coming.

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The Concept of DNA and How it Applies to Business

Posted by Reg Athwal

23-Oct-2014 17:29:00


In my last article I redefined the family business, highlighted some differences between family and non-family businesses, and explored some of the advantages and disadvantages of a family business. In the future, we’ll explore every imaginable facet of family business, from securing family commitment and participation to aligning vision, mission and values, from determining family job roles to exploring leadership, management, and governance.

But, before we delve into those topics, I would like to introduce The DNA Model. I created the DNA Model as a means to ensure that all of the skills and aptitudes necessary to run a successful business are present and that they are intertwined and interwoven to ensure a strong, enduring business is built. The DNA Model is the model of success for any business, family-run or not, and is at the core of all thriving profitable businesses.

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Topics: Business, Family business, Exit planning/strategies

26% of SMEs Use Social Media Just Because Their Competitors Do!

Posted by Geoff Lawrence

22-Oct-2014 17:33:53


Practically every company uses social media, but some business leaders are using it for no good reason at all.

According to Social Media Examiner, 97% of companies are using social media to market our products and / or services, with 92% stating that it is important to their business.  But, there are still businesses out there with no clear purpose for their social media output, and for me this is a problem. With 26% of MDs of SMEs claiming that they use social media just because their competitors do, I dread to think what their efforts are like.

If you don’t have a valid reason for it then why do you bother at all?

There are tremendous opportunities with social media but one thing that Vistage helps MDs understand is that if you’re going to do something properly then you should set clear objectives for it and measure against them. Simply put, investments being made in social media (be they staff time, agency fees or system costs) are no different to any other business investments in this respect.

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Topics: Marketing

Unlimited Staff Holidays: Will Branson's Crazy Initiative work for SMEs?

Posted by Ken Allison

16-Oct-2014 15:52:00


There seems to be no shortage of pictures on the internet of Sir Richard Branson ‘Picking Up Women', so it’s no surprise that when covering his latest initiative to grant his salaried staff unlimited holidays (which coincided with the launch of his latest book), the Telegraph led with a typical picture of the man himself ‘doing what he does best’ on Bondi Beach.

This announcement puts the responsibility for managing their holidays quite squarely on the employees. This is a bold step in encouraging a culture of responsibility but it is not necessarily the free for all that some might imagine. It comes with some demanding caveats: in his blog Sir Richard says:-

"they are only going to do it (take holidays) when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!"

So, no pressure there then!

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Topics: Business, HR

Nothing is as Enjoyable as Telling Someone Else How to Run Their Business!

Posted by Ivan Goldberg

15-Oct-2014 17:27:45


Some 23 years ago a simple request from my wife literally changed my life.

She telephoned me at my office, where I ran my business consultancy and asked me to pick up the Manchester Evening News on the way home, which I duly did.

At that time we read the MEN on a regular basis, approximately once every six months, so Hilary looked through the paper to catch up on some local news.

She said "This looks interesting" and showed me a classified advertisement for ‘Chair for Groups of Chief Executives, part time’.

It did interest me so I applied and after two or three interviews a telephone call from the then CEO Ken Satrese told me that I had been successful. Of course, I was excited in my new role, but at the time, I did not know that answering that ad would genuinely change my life and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to become a Vistage (then called TEC) Chair.

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Topics: Leading, not managing, Being a new CEO, Vistage