Asking investors and banks for financial help is soooo passé. Willie Walsh asks his staff to take salary cuts, the Guardian offers voluntary redundancy. But the especially entrepreneurial Will King is raising the bar of innovativeness in finance raising to a whole new level.
The founder of shaving products and razors business King of Shaves has introduced a completely groundbreaking way to generate £5,000,000. He’s offering any adult member of the public the chance to buy a £1,000 savings bond, called 'Shavings Bonds' (!), with the promise of a 6% annual return. That’s 12 times the current Bank of England base rate.
There are 5,000 Shaving Bonds on offer – you can buy one, or up to five. They’re 3-year, non-transferable, non-convertible savings bonds.
This approach to sidestepping financial instutions and investors is so unique that The Sun, the BBC, Sky News and CNBC have already featured it this morning. Pretty spectacular PR off the back of a round of funding. (If nothing else, it’s certainly a pretty feisty attempt to let his competitors know he’s planning on a £5m marketing and promotions campaign – King makes it very clear in his blurb about the bonds he wants to knock Gillette off the top spot and take on Wilkinson Sword.)
And what more ingenious way to get customers more involved with the brand than to actually get them investing in it? Let’s not overlook the fact, too, that many non-customers could be keen to buy up a bond with interest rates like that – hence spreading affinity with the brand yet further: more PR to precede the soon-to-come £5m promotions campaign.
King has always been great at publicity stunts (you can find out more about those and his other business strokes of genius in our interview with him above – the man convinced Mohamed Al Fayed to stock him in Harrod’s when he hadn’t been in any other outlets before! Not to mention a little campaign involving none other than Will Carling and members of the Royal Family). But it looks like this could be his best yet.
And with all the publicity the Shaving Bonds are generating, not to mention the marketing they’ll fund, the kind of growth that can offer bond-investors a 6% ROI doesn’t look at all unlikely.