The Close Brothers Retail Finance story: An award-winning case study

The Close Brothers Retail Finance story: An award-winning case study

The Close Brothers Retail Finance story: An award-winning case study

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

In 2016 Close Brothers branched out with a new business within the group, Close Brothers Retail Finance. The business was doing well but recognised the need to stand out in a new marketplace.

After engaging our help to win national awards at Close Brothers Premium Finance, we were enlisted to help Close Brothers Retail Finance gain the recognition they deserved.

It was clear from the outset that the team had been working so hard looking after their clients that they couldn’t see the wood for the trees when it came to their own unique selling point and which awards they could be in with a chance of winning.

Close Brothers Team Image

August’s CEO Donna O’Toole met with the CBRF team, analysing their business achievements to date and investigating was truly making them different to their competitors. It wasn’t long before she delivered a strategic approach to their awards journey, selecting the awards and categories that would help them get in front of the right audiences and meet their business goals – with a new and exciting awards story that would make the judges realise how important their business was to the UK.

The CBRF ‘awards story’ would soon become the secret recipe for their awards success. The unique story was built into all award entries and presentations and even a film was made to demonstrate the success of all their good work.

Within just a few months Close Brothers Retail Finance started to see the benefits of our work.

Winners of Best New Product at the UK Customer Experience Awards, New Business at the Corporate Business AwardsFinance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards was just the start…and in 2017 CBRF became the outstanding winners of The National Business Awards Business Enabler category – proving just how much they had enabled and empowered other businesses to grow since their launch.

Close Brothers Retail Finance and Donna O'Toole at The National Business Awards 2017

Close Brothers Retail Finance and Donna O’Toole at The National Business Awards 2017

Close Brothers Second Team Image

Since this time CBRF have utilised their awards success to make highly beneficial new relationships with partners and customers. The CBRF team is prouder than ever of their work, and all marketing messages have been refined, using the awards story we created to promote them across the board.

Don’t take our word for what a massive difference winning awards has made to the business though, this is what Alex Marsh, MD of Close Brothers Retail Finance says:

“Over the past year we’ve had the benefit and pleasure of enlisting Donna’s expertise at Close Brothers Retail Finance in securing a number of major industry awards.

Donna’s unique skill-set and naturally engaging advice have transcended these award wins, ultimately helping us to identify and shape the USPs of business, thus influencing our strategy, proposition and marketing.

We are hugely grateful to Donna’s partnership with our business and direct impact of super-charging team morale, retailer awareness of our business and bottom-line growth”

So are you ready to become an award-winner? Contact us now to start your awards journey.

 

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Michael Tobin OBE – Building an outstanding Personal Brand

Michael Tobin OBE – Building an outstanding Personal Brand

Michael Tobin OBE, Donna O'Toole Awards and Personal Branding Expert

Michael Tobin OBE – Building an outstanding Personal Brand

Personal Branding

By Donna O’Toole

Michael Tobin OBE

There is no doubt about it, Mike Tobin is the rock star of the datacentre industry. In fact it’s official, as voted by you the public, Mike is THE Top Influencer in data centres, cloud and data EMEA 2017. Three times winner of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, one of the UK’s most inspirational Digital Leaders, and with an OBE for his services to the Digital Economy amongst many of his exceptional awards – is there anything this man can’t achieve?

Michael-Tobin-Top-Influencer-2017-EMEA

Not only that, Mike is a true philanthropist and charity champion; in the summer of 2016 he ran 40 Marathons in 40 days – raising over £100K for the Prince’s Trust. In the same year, his CEO Sleepout in the City for Action for Children also raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help get homeless children off the streets.

From being a homeless child himself, to become the maverick CEO who sent his team swimming with sharks, Mike is a true inspiration. His first book, Forget Strategy, Get Results, will teach you how to face your fears, overcome challenges and excel beyond all expectation. His next book, Live. Love. Work. Prosper. (coming soon) will teach you how to integrate every element of your life for the ultimate success.

Michael Tobin OBE, Donna O'Toole Personal Branding

We are so proud to work with Mike and to help him reach his personal and professional goals by maximising his exciting and inspirational personal brand. You see, while you and I think we are busy running one or two businesses, Mike maintains NED appointments, advisory positions and Chairmanships in 15 businesses across 4 continents.

So having time to manage his awardsonline profile, connections, book promotions, website and charity fundraising alone is simply impossible. Mike’s colleagues, clients, passions and responsibilities come first to him, so his personal brand and professional profile comes first to us.

And of our help, Mike kindly says: “WE smashed it!”

And…

“Donna and her team have helped me to raise over £250,000 this year alone through raising the profile of my charity initiatives. She always puts the best interests of my projects first, is trustworthy and highly conscientious and I would recommend her for any profile raising activities.”

Thank YOU Mike!

Entrepreneur. Philanthropist. Maverick….

…You can find out more about Mike’s journey on his website which we collaborated with the brilliant team at Spoken to develop; hear him talk about how he turned ‘Millions into Billions’ and why his personal brand is now so valuable in this Next Level podcast, and find out more about Mike’s incredible achievements on his Wikipedia profile.

If you would like to build an effective and valuable personal brand, contact us for your FREE Personal Branding discovery meeting.

 

 

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Meet one of our Queen’s Awards winners…

Meet one of our Queen’s Awards winners…

Donna O'Toole, Queen's Awards for Enterprise winner SwimTrek

Meet one of our Queen’s Awards winners…

Business Awards

By Donna O’Toole

SwimTrek – The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise winners swimming their way to success!

Back in 2000, Simon Murie (pictured above) had a dream; to recreate Lord Byron’s infamous swim across the Hellespont – a stretch of open water dividing Europe and Asia which was made famous in Greek Mythology by Leander’s nightly swims to see his lover Hero.

So off he went to Turkey to attempt the swim himself, unaware of all the complications and permissions that would be required to undertake such a swim. After spending a week organising the event between the coastguard, the army, the council, and a local pilot who would take him across the water, he completed the swim in just under an hour!

Simon quickly saw the gap in the market to help swimmers to realise their dreams, without having to worry about all the hard work behind organising the event. And so SwimTrek was born. A business that has since helped thousands of people to achieve their open-water swimming dreams, safely and securely in over 40 magical locations worldwide.

Little did Simon know that 17 Years later, his childhood dream would see his business becoming the proud recipient of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

So how did he do it and how can you turn your dream into recognition from Her Majesty The Queen in the most prestigious awards competition in the world?

Simon and I met by chance at Acumen business conference in 2016. At that time SwimTrek had been growing rapidly, and like many business owners, Simon had put all his focus into his customers and his team, and not had the time to consider whether they could be ready to win some awards.

We discussed SwimTrek’s growth, what they did, and how they did it, and all the benefits this brought to their customers, teams, and locals worldwide. I identified their potential ‘win theme’ and suggested to Simon that actually now was the time for him to get some well-deserved recognition for the business and take a plunge into some new unknown waters – business awards. But not just any old business awards, I recommended that SwimTrek entered the most prestigious awards programme in the world – The Queen’s Awards!

With a busy summer ahead for SwimTrek, and trips planned all over the world, Simon and his team were happy to put the process into our hands and keep their minds on their customers and their business – exactly where they should be.

So with our guidance and support, the right evidence was gathered, the commercial progress was analysed, the benefits to employees, customers, partners, and the environment was assessed, and all the rigorous and comprehensive criteria was met.

Step by step, every box was ticked and every word mattered – and the outstanding work SwimTrek is doing in the adventure holidays industry shone like a beacon from the (many) award entry pages.

When Simon found out they had won, his words said it all: “Winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation means so much to me, and to the whole team at SwimTrek. It is recognition of the ongoing effort we have made to ensure we operate at the highest possible standards, and it gives us great pride to represent the UK Tourism Industry as a unique, innovative and exceptional provider of adventure swimming holidays. We can’t wait to share the news with our customers and partners across the world, and to use this as a platform to deliver even more exciting swimming adventures in the future.”  

SwimTrek Queen's awards for Enterprise, Donna O'Toole, August Recognition

And of our help and support in putting the entry together, Simon has kindly put it in his own words: “Donna helped us to understand all the different elements of the Queen’s Award application process, including what the judges were looking for and how we could line up our business processes with the criteria. The application itself looked hugely complex and time-consuming, which is an added stress when you are busy running a business. Donna took that stress away and helped us to see how what we considered business as usual was in fact incredibly important to our application.”

Could you be a future Queen’s Award winner?

Queen's Awards for Enterprise Donna O'Toole

Your company can be from as small as just two people right up to a global brand. This year there are 176 awards: 102 for international trade, 57 for innovation, 11 for sustainable development and six for promoting opportunity through social mobility.

The competition is now open and is as exciting and rigorous as ever. Winners will attend a celebration at Buckingham Palace and will be visited by the Lord Lieutenant of the county to present their award. Winners can also use the Queen’s Award emblem on all marketing materials for 5 years – priceless PR that has been proven to grow business results.

Contact me for a totally free and honest assessment of your chances of winning or sign up for my exclusive How to Win Business Awards masterclass at The Shard on 22nd June where I will be giving unique insights into the Queen’s Awards process and helping you to win valuable industry awards.

And if you fancy a unique adventure holiday like no other – you really can’t beat SwimTrek.

 

 

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