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January 29, 2014 – 10:50 am


You’ve got an operational board and management team that have clearly defined roles and are driving the business forward… so why would you need a Non Executive Director (NED)?

Well, the role of a non-executive director has a few key elements to it, and importantly it brings an independent fresh perspective, often with a wide network of contacts and a broad experience background. The likelihood is you’ll find it very difficult to financially justify having this type of exec person on board full time, so recruiting a NED gives you access to this person and the benefits they will bring at a much more affordable rate.

You need to be really clear about what you expect from your NED, what would really make the difference to your business… here are some of the key elements of a Non-Executive Director role:
Business Strategy – NED’s are here to challenge your strategy and help develop it giving you an external experienced perspective, taking into consideration what you want to achieve, your financial controls, systems and risk assess where you are going. Success – NED’s scrutinise the performance of management in meeting goals you’ve set and developing the objectives you have, giving you clarity and then independent external advice on how those goals and objectives should be monitored and reported. People – NEDs can be responsible for determining appropriate levels of remuneration of exec directors and take a prime role in appointing and where necessary removing senior management as well as succession planning, a lot of NED’s have the skill sets to motivate and develop teams too. Communication and Networks – a NED may well be an expert in your sector or have a wide network to help you grow and develop your business, networking with the right people to help you achieve your business goals and strategy.

In terms of time a non executive will give your business will vary from company to company and can be as little as attending the monthly board meeting to provide independent strategic support or to weekly face to face or telephone meetings.

One of the most important elements to your decision-making is good fit, your new NED needs to connect with your management team and bring a fresh exciting new element to your business.

If you’re thinking about taking on a non-executive director for your business check out www.sarahcross.co.uk

January 27, 2014 – 2:06 pm


I’ve always been interested in the psychology of people and the power of our own state of mind to achieve success in our business and personal lives. I set my first business up before I was 30 and getting the confidence to leave a highly paid job in the corporate world took immense personal belief, after taking this leap of faith in myself, I knew that a lot of my success came from my own inner belief… thoughts become things so I make sure I keep them good.

I decided to delve deeper into this principle and start using NLP for my business and personal life.

What is NLP…?
NLP stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming, it’s an approach to communication, personal development and psychotherapy. NLP has various techniques and tools which people use to help change behaviour and gain better outcomes. It helps you study the way individuals communicate with each other and the ways in which they think.

I’m a qualified NLP Practitioner and can help you overcome your fears, to building your confidence, to gaining a better understanding of your customers, and your teams. Get in touch to find out more http://www.sarahcross.co.uk/

January 24, 2014 – 3:49 pm


Over the past 17 years I have helped businesses grow, develop and flourish. It’s often hard to see the wood from the trees in day to day business; someone viewing your business from the outside can bring clarity to the business and give you a genuine and honest view.

I understand challenges that small to large businesses face and can help take your company to the next level by addressing current challenges, planning for the future and developing your business strategy. Over the years, I’ve worked across retail, fashion, beauty hair and the luxury market as well as helping public sector organisations with their strategy around new projects.

It’s all down to connection too, so why don’t you get in touch to see if I can help your business… http://www.sarahcross.co.uk/

January 22, 2014 – 1:30 pm

The start of 2014 will bring lots of new exciting things for our businesses, this time of the year we’re all either still planning or getting budgets signed off… One thing that really should be part of any businesses core strategy is ENGAGEMENT; working towards keeping your customers at the heart of your business will differentiate those that think they can buy loyalty to those who truly understand that in 2014 it’s all about two way conversations and having an open honest relationship with your customer to engage them.

Get your engagement strategy right this year, lets chat about us doing a simple sanity check, to review and recommend the best way forward to achieve those customer loyalty, CRM and engagement goals… your customers are your most precious assets looking after them means keeping them for longer.

January 3, 2014 – 2:11 pm


Very proud of the bents team for winning the award for best Christmas experience in the UK
It truly is one of a kind…

To celebrate Bents winning Best Christmas Experience in the UK, Matthew Bent MD, & Mike Parker General Manager, have been handing out slices of cake and glasses of fizz to all of their colleagues!

If you are a lucky be inspired member you will have had the privilege of getting exclusive VIP access to their sale before everyone else so don’t miss out next year sign up here… Or in store…

October 16, 2013 – 2:04 pm


Fab to see John Lewis launching its loyalty programme with NO POINTS! I’ve been a loyalty consultant for the past 17 years and seen lots of brands ‘do points’ because they ‘want to follow other brands like Boots and Tesco’. I’ve been harping on for years and going against the grain implementing non points based loyalty programmes, which have been highly successful. Better late than never from John Lewis but cool to see some retailers finally following lead on non points based personalised loyalty. It’s the way forward for sure…. The customer is much more savvey these days and we need to give them choice and give rewards and communications in a much more personalised way. I shall watch with great interest how this one does…

October 16, 2013 – 1:46 pm


So we revealed the secret behind CODE Beautiful not so long ago…. http://www.uber-uk.com/news/code-beautiful-the-secret-is-revealed …well since then we’re super excited to announce that the packaging, designed by uber has won an award already! CODE Beautiful VLM was awarded a Highly Commended Award given by Starpack in the retail category.

It’s so rewarding to see such a fab brand that we’ve worked so hard on building the identity and executing the design win an award! It’s so important that brands get the identity and design of the brand right, AND start with the customer at the heart of it.

If you want to chat to us about your brand whether you are starting from scratch or in need of a brand refresh… get in touch ;-) well done team CODE.. Watch this space for CODE Beautiful’s cool brand journey…

October 3, 2013 – 1:39 pm


We’ve worked super hard over the past four months developing a unique loyalty programme for Bents, the loyalty programme is called ‘be inspired’ it’s proposition; be inspired, be treated, be part of our community.

Leading edge in terms of loyalty was our goal… So we started out with a customer research project in May to assist us in really getting to know the bents customer as part of our programme strategy, and to be able to direct creative identity and of course the all important proposition and structure for their loyalty programme. We spent time researching their business, goals and objectives for their programme as well as looking at their existing systems and scoping the requirements for the intro of a bespoke crm to act as the engine to drive all customer loyalty activity giving them a single customer view.

They are a forward thinking leading edge retailer with big plans for the next few years, so a standard points based loyalty programme wasn’t going to cut the mustard for their management team and their customers. So we created an exclusive community based loyalty programme giving members access to vip benefits in their local area as well as nationally for online customers, using data intelligently to offer personal rewards which are highly relevant for each customer type and their engagement behaviour with bents.

As well all of those personalised rewards and communications be inspired members never know when they might be spoilt with a random act of kindness! The staff launch proved a big success – so nice to see all the team engaging and enthusiastic about the new loyalty programme. We’re only two weeks into launch and have already signed a significant amount of members – what a brill start! I’m sure we’ll smash the targets no problem ;-) Great work team Bents!

October 1, 2013 – 8:00 am

beautytrendsconference

Last week our Loyalty Consultant and co founder of CODE Beautiful, Sarah Cross, spoke at the Beauty Trends & Innovations Conference alongside Lee Stafford, Will King, The King of Shaves and Joanne Marshall, Batiste. Sarah spoke about how to drive and enhance your customer journey and maximise revenue by developing an integrated engagement strategy. Focusing on how to get personal with your customers and build a profitable relationship and gave many top tips for tracking and influencing the customer journey, engagement and driving advocacy.

It’s so key these days to put the customer at the heart of you business decisions and your loyalty strategy, we love to work with brands that dare to be a bit different to get their loyalty and CRM strategy right first time and hopefully some of these innovative beauty brands will look to implement some of our thoughts to build stronger relationships with today’s consumer.

September 18, 2013 – 10:28 am


I love it when people & brands go out of their way to do something a little bit different so have to tell you about my train experience with Virgin Trains and stockport train station.

So it’s a sensible time to start the day getting the 9.35am train, the usual miserable rainy day outside, standard for Manchester on a Monday Morning and everyone looking pretty miserable and equally soaked on their way to work… on the tannoy the announcer said “it’s a miserable day out there, so come on everyone after three, 1..2..3…” I was then surprised to hear all staff and a few customers start to sing “I’m singing in the rain… just singing in the rain….” at the top of their voices definitely made everyone smile and brightened up a Monday morning!

….then on my return visit back to Manchester the next day on the 7.20pm the Virgin Trains Train manager, Alan,announced that it’s been a hard long day… everyone is looking a little fed up on the CCTV train cameras so he ran a competition… for the best smile – to win a secret prize… Again it brought a giggle to most of the passengers…. And, guess what…. I won! woohoo! So then arrived the train manager with a bottle of wine and a few tweets from other fellow passengers saying well done. Nice surprise to my usual train journey…

Had to share with you my experience – fab example of brands daring to be different… Like your style… :-)