Simon Ellson: How to get your brand noticed

Hi Simon, so what's the story?

0 – 60 in 10 months! In a bid to find a way to put back some interest and excitement into the high street, NexusEngage was founded by myself and Warren Richmond, CEO of Retail Marketing.

NexusEngage takes empty retail space (wherever that may be) and turns it into an interactive and engaging brand or product showcase for high profile names such as LG, Sky, Nokia, Lenovo and many more.

What's your background and how did your entrepreneurial journey begin?

I worked in various businesses gaining lots of experience of sales and marketing, in the UK and then in Europe before I was talked into helping a friend from Kansas take an unknown brand and launch the product in the UK.

This turned into my first business, which I sold and then bought back and sold again before creating a brand new business with a completely new product, our own IP and a new brand identity. I think it all stems from spotting a good idea, or a great product, and then an overwhelming desire to do something with it, in commercial terms that is.

What advice do you have for startups looking to get their brand noticed?

Absolutely do not ignore PR and social media, find a good small to medium sized PR partner, have the team come on board at the start to help you build the story. The fees you pay on day one will be a great investment for years to come.

Secondly, enter your business for every award you can feasibly go after, they are very inexpensive and allow you to punch well above your weight. NexusEngage recently lost out at an awards dinner to B&Q, but our name as a finalist was up in lights with most of the top retailers and brands in the country.

What's NexusEngage's USP?

Space is traditionally really expensive and difficult to secure on a short term basis, our ‘secret sauce’ changes that and gives us access to a large percentage of the 46,000 empty retail spaces across the UK.

Couple that with creativity, a love of tech, over 25 years experience in sales and marketing, and a really compelling proposition that generates sales in retail shops on the high Street, then you have the core USP of NexusEngage.

What inspired you to create NexusEngage?

Circumstances. A friendship with Warren started it all, some good ideas, a core team that has really been the founders of the whole concept and delivery mechanisms.

At the time Warren and I began talking about the concept, high streets were struggling and there was lots of vacant space following the recession.  We saw our idea as an opportunity to inject some life back into shopping malls and offer a new, high profile way for brands to reach their audience.

How have you created relationships with big name brands like Nokia and LG?

Some of our success comes as a result of relationships built by Warren’s company and the brands they work with, some from contacts that I’ve developed over the years, and some from word of mouth in the agency world.

How did you launch the business?

We took on our first project at cost price to gain experience and create an example of our vision and concept. That first project was also our first marketing and PR tool to start the people talking about NexusEngage. The return on allowing the customer a project at cost price has been massive. We still use the project as a case study for new business, as it was a great success.

How do you find working in a small team and what are the advantages of running a small business?

My sleeves are alternately rolled up, and then back down many times a day. We have gone from no name, no logo, no identity, no product, to a strong brand with a definite identity and a colourful, easy to recognise logo that works wherever we use it.

A small team out of necessity means we spend hours discussing the nuts and bolts of our business and how we can be ‘bigger than we are’. I am immensely proud of the team and what we have achieved in a few short months.

Everyone’s role is clearly defined, but we all spend time doing each other’s jobs where it is required, and that is a seamless and enjoyable transition. Unless you’ve started a startup, there is no real way to explain how fantastic and terrifying it is all at once.

To find out more about Simon Ellson, you can follow him on Twitter and check out the NexusEngage website by clicking here

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