Bendylegs Granola, a great local brand?

How well do you know your local business community?

It’s fair to say that most of us are aware of the shops on our local high streets – the baker, butcher, or fishmonger – but how well do you know the myriad of other businesses that exist, some thriving, many struggling, in your community?

I thought that I knew my local village, Mumbles, pretty well. However, today I discovered that a brand I once thought of as national, coming from somewhere in west London, actually calls Mumbles home. That brand is Bendylegs Granola.

Bendylegs Granola - a great brand born in Wales

Bendylegs Granola

Bendylegs Granola is the brainchild of mother-of-two Jo Watkins. Jo explains on the business’ website how her family loves the outdoors, how they like to shop local, and how they like to know what they’re eating. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that dissatisfied with the taste of supermarket granola she decided to produce her own.

Needless to say Jo’s granola was so tasty it caused quite a stir (no pun intended!) making the decision to step up and produce it commercially an obvious one. Now you can buy Jo’s Bendylegs Granola at a range of shops and cafes around Swansea.

A great brand?

The design is certainly pitching at a young, health conscious audience. The font used is often seen on Tumblr blogs with images of open seas and skies, striking a chord with VW Campervan and surfing enthusiasts.

A quick read of the Bendylegs website and you warm to Jo’s experience and passion for good wholesome food using locally sourced ingredients. The tone of voice is spot on.

However, I think that in its present form, closely associated with granola, the brand is fairly limited in its scope. It’s fair to say that Bendylegs has legs. By dropping the granola and diversifying one can imagine see a range of Bendylegs clothing, made in Wales using organic cotton, possibly to rival Howies, but I may be getting a little excited.

Meanwhile, Jo’s got a great brand with a strong wholesome ethos. It appears good and hearty, qualities that ring well with more affluent consumers.

Fitness campaign has legs

In a manner of speaking.

Several people are currently pounding the streets of Swansea, delivering a flyer that encourages people to make good on their resolutions to get active this year by joining Active Swansea – so you could say the campaign has legs.

Download a PDF copy: Active Swansea membership January 2012 door-drop flyer

In planning the campaign I went through a process of looking at Active Swansea‘s current members and the communities the leisure centres serve. Using ACORN profiling I have selected appropriate postcode sectors, written creative copy and developed a design brief that targets the Secure Families group.

It’s early days, but the response so far shows promise.

Vince Cable talks tough, but will he get tough?

The Guardian reports Vince Cable as calling time on excessive boardroom pay and bonuses.

Vince Cable talking tough at Liberal Democrat party conference

The paper states that the “business secretary champions ‘responsible capitalism’ model, forcing companies to justify pay policies in their annual reports.”

However, the devil is in the detail.

The Guardian further reports that pay increases and bonuses will have to be justified to shareholders. Now I’m no expert in company law, but surely the requirement for the CEO and other executive officers to justify their actions to the board and key shareholders already exists?

If not, then Vince Cable’s announcement is welcome. Although, I fear it will lack the teeth to really bite.

Wouldn’t it be better to legislate that remuneration at the top can be no more than say 25 times that of the lower paid, as per John Lewis?

Thus, to pay extortionate salaries to executives a company must significantly improve the lot of all its workers. Now that really would narrow the pay gap and create a more equal society.

Sadly, there are too many vested interests in maintaining the status quo. So whilst Vince may talk tough, his Tory bedfellows will prevent him from getting tough!

Nat West makes customer commitment focus of marketing

Have you seen Nat West’s latest ads?

In these days of austerity when the credit crunch, caused by the reckless behaviour and greed of City bankers, it is refreshing to see a financial institution going to great lengths to win back public trust and confidence.

Nat West has set itself a strategic aim of being Britain’s most helpful bank.

It’s recent TV commercials have clearly tried to position the bank as being helpful – Saturday opening and mobile banking (both via phone and its branches on wheels) being good examples. The bank appears to be confident in its ability to live up to the promises it makes, so much so that it shouts them out.

A noble quest, bound to fail?

By placing its customer pledges at the heart of its marketing communications strategy Nat West stands to prosper, if it gets things right, from being seen as the consumer’s champion, making strides to improve banking services for everyone.

However, the risks couldn’t be higher. Before rolling out such an ambitious campaign, I imagine (and hope) that Nat West will have invested considerable time and energy in changing the inner culture of the organisation, renewing its focus to a more customer-centric position. Essentially, putting the customer back at the heart of everything it does with a genuine attempt to be more helpful.

I really like the campaign. I think it is bold, ambitious and timely to restore public trust and confidence in the banking sector.

I wish Nat West every success.