Here are some articles from industry publications that we found interesting. You'll also find interesting articles written by the RCR team, where you can find useful information on building your Revenue, Capability and Reputation.

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Jul 19 17

Why you’re NOT fired…

In my last article, I wrote a review on Richard Branson’s autobiography – ‘Losing my Virginity’. In case you’ve missed it, you can read it here. Last month I was given Alan Sugar’s autobiography and, motivated by my last read, I was more than eager to learn about another mogul’s entrepreneurial life and business experience.

Most of us know Alan Sugar from the British TV series, ‘The Apprentice’, and are well acquainted with his famous line, “You’re fired!”. But, did you know, he is also known as ‘mop head’?:  a family nickname because of his profuse, curly hair – always a good fact to know should you ever meet him!








‘What You See Is What You Get’
is the name of the autobiography, and it couldn’t be more true of how Sugar represents himself to business partners and colleagues throughout the book.

It is an inspirational book targeted at budding youngsters, business professionals who can benefit from a few tips, and football fans who want to learn what the industry is like, off the pitch.

Many of us know Alan Sugar grew up on a council estate in Clapton, Hackney. Coming from a poor family background, with uncertainty of money being brought home by his father, Sugar is fuelled with a drive to succeed. In comparison to his father, who even as a skilled tailor decided to work for someone else, as opposed to setting up his own business, Sugar surprises everyone with his entrepreneurial spirit.

Like Richard Branson, Alan Sugar starts at a young age, he sets up his own company Amstrad (later to be called Amshold Group Ltd), selling hi-fi and computers, as well as satellite dishes to Rupert Murdoch at BSKyB (now Sky), and separately fights his way in the boardroom as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC.

As a marketer, I was pleased to read about Alan Sugar’s interest in marketing: “I am a marketing man, I give people what they want.”

Sugar writes about how the importance of marketing: how the strategy, branding, messaging, positioning etc. has an impact on the success of the business. Sugar himself displays many examples of how he positioned his brand to big retailers like Dixons and became competitive with corporations like IBM. He knows his audience well enough to be able to market his products to reflect needs.

One good example is how he set Amstrad up to compete with IBM. IBM PCs had a fan in the base unit to keep the sensitive microprocessor circuits cool, because this is where they kept their power supply. Alan Sugar’s computer had been built with the power supply in the monitor, therefore did not need a fan. But the BBC put out a statement to say they wouldn’t buy from Amstrad because they had no fan, and led people to believe that without a fan the computer would overheat and conk out.

As Alan Sugar comments, ‘It was a complete load of cobblers’. Alan Sugar realised that people were not buying and he knew the next step was, to give them what they wanted.

“If they want a fan, I’ll give them a bloody fan. If they want a computer with pink spots on, I’ll give them a computer with pink spots on. I’m not here to argue.”

The way he marketed his products contributed to Sugar’s success. He understood the market, he kept up to date with his competitors and he continued to build his brand and establish Amstrad’s USP.

I would recommend Alan Sugar’s autobiography. He is a witty opportunist who writes realistically about his failures and successes in business. If you believe that anything is possible, if you believe in yourself and will work hard to reach success, then ‘you’re NOT fired’.

by Tina Chohan

Jun 19 17

Losing My Virginity – the business view



I recently finished reading the autobiography of Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity. Needless to say, it is exactly what you would expect from an entrepreneur of his calibre. He is motivational throughout, shows continuous initiative, drive and (even at times when perhaps he could have thought twice) displays admirable self-belief.

From his hot air balloon adventures across the skies of Morocco, China and Hawaii to the well-known rivalry between Virgin Atlantic and BA, the book is packed with lots of adventure, challenges and most importantly, success. 

“Since we’re complete virgins at business, let’s call it just that: Virgin.” When we are young, we are faced with the many challenges of work life, trying to figure out what it is we truly want to achieve. Some know exactly what they want to do and strive to do exactly that. Whereas there as some, such as myself, that take nature’s hand and quite simply, go with the flow.


Having read Richard Branson’s life story so far, there are some things that stood out to me, that I wanted to share with you.

1) Sometimes being lost is just what you need

I am sure we have all been in situations in life, and in business, where we have felt lost, confused and helpless. There is a key point in Branson’s life, at a very early stage of his childhood when his mother, Eve, sought out to teach him one of his biggest lessons in life. At the age of six, Eve pushed Richard out the car and told him to find his own way home.

Of course, these days Eve would probably have social services turn up at the door. But back then, Richard learnt how to ‘find his own way,’ to find a solution to the challenges that lay ahead. From early on, he was pushed into the mouth of danger but learnt to adapt, overcome and achieve his goals, then and later on in life.

Sometimes when you are lost it teaches you to grow, think differently and plan your next steps accordingly to get you where you want to be. It may not always be easy, but if you think and work hard enough – you’ve got more of a chance to ‘find your own way’.

2) A problem halved is a problem solved

Your team, the people in it are your assets. You can’t be everywhere, and you can’t know everything.

Richard Branson writes of many stories about his ‘Virgin crew’, how his attitude towards the many people he worked with displayed equality. He did not make business decisions alone, but valued opinion of the company as a team, and by recognising the strength and weaknesses of everyone, he could get the right advice, from the right people, at the right time.

Building relationships and the ability to trust people in business is very important, especially when the core part of most businesses claim to put people first. It is a skill that you learn and mistakes help us to develop.

3) Don’t forget to have fun

Isn’t that the holy grail of business, surely? You should be doing something you love. That’s what I learnt from Richard. If you don’t love it, don’t do it.

Richard Branson loves adventure and challenges, he looked for these things not just in business but in life (with his many ballooning expeditions).

If it doesn’t make you happy, make a change. Develop your skills, network, get out there and be respected for what you do best. Keep moving forwards, because if you settle, you’ll be settling for less.

We all start from nowhere, to get somewhere. It’s up to you to decide how far you’re willing to go and write your own story about life and business survival.

by Tina Chohan

(Photo credit: Reuters)

May 31 17

“Employment Law isn’t as big a pain as you think”

Boutique law firm GQ Employment Law started-up back in 2010. Since then, their business model has changed and developed – with some thanks to the introduction of more structured marketing and business development, and advice from RCR.

On 25th May, at an RCR event, Paul Quain one of the founding partners of GQ presented to a room full of (mostly) lawyers and other small business owners to share his experience of what it involves to build a successful business from scratch.












It all began in a small room with no windows….

I think there may be a trend here, with some famous start-ups also beginning their existence in small rooms: look at Amazon, Apple and Google, for example. Although, admittedly, the direction GQ have taken is different to these big corporates. GQ wanted to help create a different way of thinking, and ‘do law differently’.

For example, one of their first campaigns, entitled ‘Employment Law isn’t as big a pain as you think”, was aimed at employers who, research showed, believed that employment law was complicated, restrictive and full of jargon. The campaign set out to disprove this belief and offer a simple set of guidelines including the “Alternative Guide to Employment Law”.

The presentation focussed on working with RCR led to the introduction of structured marketing, and how this helped GQ set its priorities and create their own stand-out market position.

Paul highlighted how having a distinct position and brand has been of critical importance. He also looked at what has been most effective in terms of tactics: they found it particularly useful to introduce PR and, believe it or not, cold calling!

Here are some other key learnings from Paul’s talk:

  1. “There is no such thing as bad press” despite having worked with a media relations agency to generate coverage in the Financial Times and other business press, it was an article that was published in the Daily Mail that generated the hottest lead
  2. In the legal sector, as with all professional services, client management is key. You should always be finding ways of retaining current clients, with regular communication and well-thought out key client programmes.
  3. The messaging for your business should be based on strategic thinking. Identifying yourself with words or visuals that don’t relate to the business can give off the wrong message. GQ quickly learnt that while cute dogs and zebras on their website homepage might have connotations of friendliness, they did not position the business in the right way.

You can read  GQ Employment Law’s  case study and watch a video of Paul Quain here.

by Tina Chohan

May 5 17

You want a new website? A better marketing campaign? A redesigned office? Here’s ONE thing to get right

Briefing people badly lies at the heart of more mis-spent marketing budget and off-key marketing campaigns than anything else.  
We don’t like our website, we want a more modern one” or “we want more of the nice clients” or “we want an office that’s more ‘us’” just doesn’t cut it.
Maybe you’ve experienced that and wondered why you still don’t like the new and expensive website/campaign/office. Maybe that’s why managing the agencies that do such work is best left to the more experienced marketers in your business.

But if you don’t have a team of marketers, let alone an experienced marketer or two, don’t worry. At the heart of the brief is knowing what you want to be famous for – and that is something you have better answers* to than any hired marketer.

Here’s one of the founders of boutique law firm GQ Employment Law, Paul Quain, talking about how they got that focus in their business.

*If you want to know what the questions are that will get you those better answers, there are still places left at our May 25th London seminar to hear Paul talk about how they got that focus in their marketing and started briefing people well.  Find out more (and register) at

by Paul Griffith

Apr 13 17

Reference marketing is a relative of recommendation

I recently attended Marketing Week Live. Before joining the paid for session on multi-channel marketing and mapping the customer journey, I sat in on a session on brand engagement and innovation, led by Andy Cockburn, CEO at MentionMe.

The first slide, entitled ‘Using word of mouth and trust marketing to build brand engagement’ intrigued me. I listened to Andy talk passionately about reference marketing and his business model. It was very interesting, and a lot of the concept and strategy he spoke of with regards to customer loyalty, rewards and recommendation just highlighted to me how important the relationship between a buyer and a business is.

I found it particularly interesting to see how they used email marketing to target loyal customers who they knew were spending money on their site, and offering discount to them for referring a friend. Not only would they get discount on their next purchase if the friend signs up but also the friend for joining! If you’re both making a saving on a product of interest to both, it seems like a good incentive.

The referral scheme then continues to the new buyer and allows them to recommend the brand to get further discount and the incentive cycle continues, as the brand builds its credibility, increases purchase orders and its customer base.

How do you ensure your service or product puts customers first? How do you differentiate loyal customers to new ones? How relevant is the content to building brand engagement?

The key learning I took away from the presentation was the focus on reference marketing, it reminded me of my  recent blog ‘You have to earn business credibility’ and that reference marketing is a relative of recommendation.

A change is happening in marketing, are you keeping up?

by Tina Chohan