Tag Archives: Brexit

Aardvark Marketing | Does your marketing need to shift it's focus?

Does your marketing need to shift its focus?

Does your marketing need to shift its focus?

As we approach the end of another very challenging year, many businesses will be engaged in planning for 2022.  Marketers will be looking forward to 2022, setting new targets, building plans and setting up projects.  Of course, this activity always involves some reviewing of current and recent performance, and what is going on in our marketplace.

After nearly two years of very different circumstances, I think it’s a really good time to look a bit more carefully at what has happened.  Are we all really reverting back to pre-Covid “normality” or has the world changed?

If, like me you conclude that some of the changes to our behaviours and values that have emerged during the pandemic are not simply going to fade away, but have become part of the way we are now, then we need to consider what implications this has for marketing?

It has been said that the 1950s triggered the boom in consumer marketing when supply began to exceed demand for consumer goods.  Faced with surplus goods and services, brand owners needed to convince consumers to buy more and to buy their brand.  The practice of marketing and the investment in marketing activity grew exponentially over the following decades in a bid to convince consumers to buy named brands, or even adopt completely new products and services.

However, in the last 2 years, many of my clients have found significant challenges in other areas.  Supply of materials has been a consistent issue for many businesses; whether due to Brexit complications, shipping costs, availability of HGV drivers, shortage of computer chips, supplier shutdowns due to power rationing, reduced working due to Covid or a myriad of other reasons.

Another growing trend has been the difficulty in recruiting new people and holding on to current staff.  Recruiters are consistently reporting a shortage of candidates and suddenly there are regular references to “The Great Resignation”.  A recent study by MetLife showed that over half of employees are considering leaving their job in the next 18 months

If these changes turn out to be more than a temporary change, then what does this mean for marketing?

If supply and demand are moving back towards an equilibrium, it sends prices upwards which may help profits, but what else changes?  How much should we invest in driving demand that we may then struggle to fulfil? Could it be that we can be more choosy about our customers – who’s business do we really want?  Or do we need to focus more of our marketing efforts on the supply side of business?

Call us on 01905 885 285  or email us  if you’d like to re-assess what really matters with marketing.

Happy Marketing!


Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Insurance prices rises 2016 - 2021

How to avoid paying rocketing insurance premiums

How to avoid paying rocketing insurance premiums

What’s happening to insurance premiums?

It’s been an odd few years, to say the least. With politics, adverse weather and of course the Covid pandemic, very little seems stable at the moment.Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Insurance prices rises 2016 - 2021




To add to all of the other stressors in our lives and businesses, prices of many fundamental goods and services have been going up. Insurance is no exception. In fact in the last quarter alone, overall insurance premiums have increased on average by 35% in the UK and 18% globally.

This increase varies across different classes of insurance. Liability covers saw a 7% increase last quarter. Property went up 18% and financial lines (professional indemnity and directors and officers liability) rose by an average of 71%.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Professional indemnity price increases 2016 - 2021





Why are premiums rising?

The last four years have seen a perfect storm of legislative changes and national events that have severely affected the insurance market:

  • Ogden rate changes which came into affect in 2019 have significantly increased compensation pay-outs on liability claims
  • The Solvency II Directive has forced insurance companies to change the way they operate and has pushed underwriting costs up
  • The significant flooding in January/February 2020 has pushed up property premiums
  • The Covid-19 pandemic has lead to an additional £1.2 billion in business interruption claims, increasing cyber crime and fraudulent and exaggerated personal injury claims.
  • Investment income loss caused by the combined effect of Covid19 and the challenges around Brexit. This means that insurance pools are expected to be more profitable than in the past.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Ogden






What can you do to reduce your premiums?

Despite the challenges, some businesses are seeing increases below the average or are even saving money! The following is what we are advising our clients:

  • Start your renewal process early – the more time you give to your broker, the more likely they are to get you favourable terms. One of the other effects of the pandemic is insurer service levels are down meaning that quotes are taking several times longer to obtain than they did two years ago.
  • Volunteer lots of information – there seems to be a myth that you should only give insurers the minimum information that they request, but the opposite has always been true. The better an insurance underwriter understands your business and the risks it faces, the more comfortable they become and therefore the more open they will be to provide lower premiums and better terms. If an underwriter feels that they don’t understand what they are insuring, or feel you are holding information back, they will refuse to quote (limiting your options) or they will quote a higher premium.
  • Turn the negatives into positives – it may be that you have had past financial challenges like past business insolvencies, personal bankruptcies or CCJs, or you may have has past claims. Given the current environment that is becoming more likely. Rather than just giving the basic information about these events, explain the causes, any mistakes that were made and what you are doing differently now. A business that has faced challenges but come out stronger is a better prospect to an underwriter than one that might repeat the past.
  • Ask your broker how you can reduce risks – insurance underwriters like businesses that take risk seriously. It might be as simple as changing your health and safety or security practices, or adopting new contracts, but any examples you can provide that you are reducing risk could lead to cheaper premiums.
  • Use a Broker – there are over 250 underwriters offering insurance to business and only a small handful are available online. A good broker will know which insurers to approach to get you the right deal for your business and circumstances.

More about our guest blogger, Alastair Taylor

Alastair is a director at Wootton Taylor, an independent insurance broker providing advice and support in arranging a broad range of insurances for businesses and private individuals.

His approach is to make arranging insurance as simple as possible by cutting out the jargon. Wootton Taylors’  open, friendly and efficient service gives you the peace of mind to focus on what is important to you.

Alastair Taylor, director at Wootton Taylor Insurance brokers

To find out more visit the Wootton Taylor website or call 01905 349 430.

Aardvark Marketing Consultanrs Ltd | Keep calm and carry on

Keep calm and carry on

Keep calm and carry on

Coronavirus, flooding, stock market crash, Flybe collapse, Brexit trade negotiations …

The New Year is less than three months old and already we are facing numerous challenges to our home and working lives.

We probably all know someone who has been affected directly by these issues, whether their home has been flooded, they are having to self-isolate, or facing an uncertain business future if they have significant trade with the EU.

Most of us however have not been directly impacted.  The biggest threat for most of us is in how we and everyone else react to these issues.  We do have a choice.  At home, we can tour our local supermarkets buying enough toilet rolls, packets of pasta and tins of beans to last us to Christmas, or we can maintain our normal shopping habits, giving retailers chance to keep their shelves stocked and ensuring there is enough for everyone.

In our businesses, we can get worried that our customers will stop buying from us, buy less or pay later and take pre-emptive action putting a hold on recruitment, postponing training, slashing the marketing budget and delaying orders and payment to our suppliers.

When we panic,  we turn the risk of a difficult future into reality for people less able to cope than ourselves.  That could be the weekly paid worker who suddenly finds they can’t buy the essential goods their family need or the small business who runs out of cash to pay its staff.

If we choose to panic we become part of the problem, not the solution.

If you want to carry on marketing, but would like to make it work harder, give us a call on 01905 885 285, email us or send us an enquiry. P.S. We are working as normal either with our usual face to face meetings or by conference calls.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants Ltd | Last chance to book your free Brexit readiness session

Clarity on Exiting the EU in just one hour

Clarity on Exiting the EU in just one hour

Time is running out for Worcestershire businesses to book a free appointment with a specialist advisor. The program sponsored by Worcester Business Central to provide business owners with bespoke advice about what happens when we leave the EU at the end of December  finishes on 31st March. It’s easy to book, visit brexitready.me and choose a date and time to suit your diary.

If you know that you need to understand the implications of Brexit for your business, or if you are a trusted advisor of clients who need to know (accountant, business coach, HR professional or financial advisor) relief is at hand. Business owners on the program have saved themselves hours of time scrolling through official websites, trying to find advice, for example about tariff codes for their products or regulations about employing EU nationals. What they appreciate is the tailored advice they receive, which saves a lot of time and hassle trying to work it out for yourself.

Whatever the outcome of the trade talks, there are things local businesses can do to prepare right now, which will make the transition at the end of the year easier to manage. If you’d like to spend an hour looking at the specific issues that affect your business and discuss how to approach opportunities for international trade, at no cost to you, book an appointment today.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | We've left teh EU - now get ready fro importing and exporting

We’ve left the EU – now get ready for importing and exporting

We’ve left the EU – now get ready for importing and exporting

Worcestershire business owners can access free advice to help them prepare to leave the EU. Business owners need to know and plan for changes that will happen to the way they do business at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. Businesses can book a free individual appointment in February or March 2020 with a specialist advisor from Aardvark Marketing Consultants on https://brexitready.me/

Henrietta Brealey, director of policy and strategic relationships at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, said: “Negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship are only just beginning and we’re already seeing what’s set to be a major sticking point come to the fore – regulatory divergence. Many businesses want to see as frictionless trade as possible. However comprehensive any final trade deal is, it will be a trade deal – not membership of the EU. As a result, it is important for businesses to remain vigilant as the way they do business with the EU is going to change.”

The most recent survey of West Midlands businesses revealed that 40% of local firms export goods and 27% export services to the EU. 47% import goods from the EU. These individual coaching sessions are designed to make sure each business owner is fully aware of the changes and how they can affect their business so they can plan accordingly.

Kevin Aisbitt, Growth Hub Manager for Worcestershire Business Central, said: “It is paramount for us to support local businesses through the practicalities of the UK leaving the European Union. I urge all businesses to attend to ensure that their business is prepared for any eventuality of Brexit.”

If your business could benefit act now and book your appointment on https://brexitready.me/  . Please share this link with other businesses on your social networks


This program is sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | It’s official, the UK leaves the EU today, Friday 31st January.

It’s official, the UK leaves the EU today, Friday 31st January

It’s official, the UK leaves the EU today, Friday 31st January

For business owners, now is the time for making plans to exploit new opportunities for trade and/or mitigate the effects of leaving the EU. Henrietta Brealey, policy and strategic relationships directors at the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce says “ “While some such questions of trade will have to emerge from negotiations with the EU, others such as the detail on the UK’s future immigration system and replacements for EU funding streams sit entirely in the hands of the Government. It is of upmost importance that the Government prioritises providing real clarity on these key questions so that businesses, who create the jobs and growth which keep this country moving, can meaningfully prepare.”

Whilst questions around people, regulation, trade and funding remain for the future, Worcestershire businesses have an opportunity to get some free, very practical, guidance and support with plans to leave the EU from people who are experienced in international trade. You can sign up to a one to one meeting with Steve Parker of International Company Development or Gill Hutchinson of Aardvark Marketing on brexitready.me . These support sessions are only available in February or March 2020, so you need to be quick to seize the opportunity!

Listen to the interview with Gill Hutchinson and local business owner, Craig Carr of Fairburn Heating Solutions about this free support program on BBC Hereford and Worcester.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | BBC interview with Craig Carr of Fairburn Heating Solutions

This program is sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | ‘Global Trading Readiness sessions’. Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Book your free ‘Global Trading Readiness session’

Book your free ‘Global Trading Readiness session’

Worcestershire Business Central have commissioned some Private industry specialists to provide individual company Brexit readiness sessions to ensure Worcestershire businesses are ready for future exports and imports from Europe.  These are honest, no nonsense sessions to give you the clarity you need to start or continue trade whatever happens after the  UK leaves the EU and at the end of the transition period to 31st December 2020.

But there is a bonus…  they will also help you to trade not just in Europe but Worldwide!  If you already trade internationally and want to exchange ideas, or perhaps you receive enquiries that you don’t know how to handle, it’s worth scheduling an hour in your diary for a free meeting.

Many business managers and owners have put off reviewing their systems and processes so far, perhaps waiting for more clarity about what the new trade conditions will be or thinking that their courier or freight forwarder will take care of everything on their behalf. There are things that can be reviewed and put into place right now, making sure your business is in good shape to take advantage of new opportunities and to manage smoothly any changes. The  advisors will help each business owner look at the different scenarios to do with changes in duties, tariffs, VAT etc which will affect cashflow and profit margins and is relevant for any business who has either customers or suppliers based in the EU or international customer and suppliers outside the EU.

The advisors will cover the arrangements in place to get ready if you have EU employees or plan to recruit staff from the EU in future.

The program of support ends in March, so don’t delay – arrange your meeting  with Gill, Steve, Sue or Kevin at a convenient time for you at www.brexitready.me. 

Aardvark Marketing Consultanst | advisor team fro Brexit readiness







This program is sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aardvark Marketing Consultanst | advisor team fro Brexit readiness

Free business support – get your business ready for Brexit

Free business support – get your business ready for Brexit

Worcestershire business owners are being encouraged to access free advice to help them prepare to leave the EU. Business owners need to know and plan for changes that could happen whether the UK leaves with a new EU trade deal or in a no deal situation at the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020. Businesses can book an individual appointment in January, February or March 2020 with a specialist business advisor from Aardvark Marketing Consultants.

Advice will include tax changes in tariffs, VAT and duty payments, changes that will affect their current customers or current suppliers, new regulation implications for travel, exhibiting at trade fairs outside the UK, service delivery and changes for employees who may need to apply for UK settlement status. Businesses may also want to explore potential new opportunities for trade after we’ve come out of the European Union. All the advisors are experienced at running small businesses themselves, so understand the challenges such as shortage of time and resources faced by business owners when having to change their systems and processes.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | Free business support to get your Worcestershire business ready for Brexit




“The majority of Worcestershire businesses still need to consider what the effects will be of the new trading environment and put some contingency plans in place” say Gill Hutchinson, director at Aardvark Marketing. “ Every business operates in different ways, so these individual sessions are designed to make sure each business owner is aware of the potential complications affecting their business and allow them to plan accordingly. This will help them get ready for exit from the EU at the end of this year and thrive in the new economic environment”.

Steve Parker, another of the advisor team added “I am looking forward to sharing some of my 35 years’ experience creating opportunities worldwide, to help companies  that want to achieve success both in Europe and globally, this year and  beyond.”

There are also free group training sessions organised through Worcestershire Business Central. You can book these through the Worcestershire Business Central website here. Kevin Aisbitt, Growth Hub Manager for Worcestershire Business Central, said: “It is paramount for us to support local businesses through the practicalities of the UK leaving the European Union. I urge all businesses to attend to ensure that their business is prepared for any eventuality of Brexit.”

If your business could benefit from a free, bespoke  support session, act now and book your  appointment on https://brexitready.me/

This program is sponsored by Worcestershire Business Central and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Aardvark Marketing Consultants | A 'hope strategy' isn't enough

A ‘hope strategy’ isn’t enough

A ‘hope strategy’ isn’t enough

Whatever your political persuasion, there is now growing evidence that the business community is reacting to the result of the Brexit referendum.
•    The National Institute of Economic and Social research (NIESR) says the country has a 50/50 chance of a recession with growth likely to be around 1.7% overall for 2016. Business managers are letting the political and financial uncertainty affect their immediate spending and investment decisions.
•    The Bank of England has today announced that UK interest rates will be reduced to just 0.25%.
•    The CBI’s latest quarterly survey of SME’s shows that pessimism rather than optimism is the order of the day, although some firms report orders as being stable.  New plant and machinery orders and hiring decisions seem to have been put on ice for the moment. In the same report the lower pound seems to have the opposite effect on manufacturers who are exporting and able to take advantage of the weaker pound.
•    Earlier this week the Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index also suggested activity is slowing down.
Whilst uncertain times are not always good news, for some companies the current economic outlook represents an opportunity. Here at Aardvark we know that many SME’s approach their sales and marketing activity without a plan and a well-thought out strategy in place. Marketing can be a seemingly ad-hoc activity done when the manager responsible finds some free time in the diary. An email newsletter here, an occasional revision of a few website pages, perhaps they will try a new business expo for the first time or test out Google ads to give them a short-term boost in enquiry numbers. This can often result in frustration when the business receives leads and enquiries in the same haphazard pattern, with very little predictability in results and the quality of these enquiries can sometimes be poor. We call it the ‘feast and famine’ pattern.
If your sales and marketing activity isn’t delivering the business growth you desire, particularly when your customers are questioning every purchasing decision, perhaps it’s time for a different approach. Ditch the ‘I hope it works’ strategy. Try a planned and systematic strategy instead. One that thinks about which customers to target, the frequency of your approach and the messages they receive.
Is your current engagement with your target audiences building enough trust to counter the current economic uncertainties? If so, 2016 will be a great year. If not, you could try a confidential chat with us to see if a new approach is worth considering. Why not ask us about an EU funded business support grant whilst one is still available?