High Growth Collective is the breakfast club with a difference. A fantastic opportunity to garner insights from leading professionals, the High Growth Collective shares innovative practices, insider knowledge and practical tips to increase revenue and drive growth.

The power of film for business growth: James Read

James kicked off the event with Oatly, the post-milk generation’s new lactose-free love, and their Wow no Cow vid. The Oatly TV channel has a glut of videos using the same and increasingly familiar brand voice: delightfully tongue-in-cheek, brand aware, short, well-produced and fun. And, like the now-iconic, hilarious and poignantly simple dollar shave club video, they create an emotional connection.

Videos are easy to digest and contain huge amounts of immediate information, making the format essential for businesses looking to make the difference. YouTube were game-changers when they set up the platform allowing users to upload their own content and share videos. It’s now the 2nd biggest search engine with 100 videos uploaded every minute and 6 billion videos watched per hour.

Within 2 years 80% of everything we consume online will be video. Coupled with the suggestion that human attention span has declined from 12 sec to 8 seconds (a goldfish attention span is 9 seconds). The difference between you and your competition will lie in how well you nail that difference on film.

Nailing the difference, 5 key elements:

  1. Understand your audience: who are they and what’s their customer journey?
  2. Tell a good story: a truthful, representative story that takes viewers with you.
  3. Show yourself! Clients want to know who they’re dealing with.
  4. Show your clients! Trust is built through word of mouth.
  5. Make it come alive: enhance their journey with 360 video and VR.

Finally, James reminded us why we’re here: to make a difference, to change the world. Video can help us spread our messages with impact and instant connection. Harness it for growth, sure, but harness it to do good things too.  

Why saving the planet makes business sense: Steve Malkin

Steve is nuts for sustainability, he loves it so much that his day job is to help companies be greener. In his session, Steve shared how to get sustainability-savvy: ‘Start with doing the simple stuff, it helps you save money, improve your brand and win business. Do the right thing and enjoy it.’ Sounds good to us.

A lot of companies profess they don’t have time to think about sustainability – but what they’re missing is that making time should be a priority, because being green saves money and grows business. Crucially, consumers care about this stuff; they want to invest in companies that they see mirroring their values. More people age 18-24 watched Planet Earth than X Factor. These are the customers we need to be engaging.

Steve asked us to consider sustainability and how it affects our businesses. As different sectors have different drivers it’s down to us, with the help of certification programmes like The Planet Mark, to assess ourselves and start making the necessary changes. He highlighted three areas in which to get started – thanks Steve!

Sustainable and successful with Steve’s 3 simple steps:

  1. Measure and reduce your impacts. Energy, water, waste, carbon emissions – understand your impact and realise there’s money in there (especially important for PQQ or tendering).
  2. Engage people in the process. Engage people in hitting those targets – set up a green team, stretch it out to your supply chain and community. Create activities to make it interesting, things like awareness and impact days.
  3. Communicate your achievements. Use knowledge sharing and content sharing, shout about how great you are and others will follow.

Dreams that take you from rags-to-riches: Jack Romero

Jack Romero’s story is certainly an incredible one. One that perhaps we couldn’t imagine for ourselves. But, as with all good stories, the moral of the tale is universal – anything is achievable if you really want it. Dream big and work hard.

Jack started life in Lebanon, dreaming of being a pilot, skipping school and hitching rides to the airport to watch planes and hatch plans. But his dreams were cut short in 1975 when civil war broke out and life changed in an instant. Jack was an industrious kid, finding work where he could amidst the thick of war, but when Jack was old enough he was determined to change the fortunes of his family forever.

Jack left for the UK with £90 in his pocket and the next few years were tough. Sleeping rough and working three jobs, he saved every penny for flying lessons. Testament to his tenacity, Jack gained his license and flew as an aerial photographer, though the glory was short-lived as the job required a bit of rule-bending and his license was revoked.

Jack was at rock bottom, but in true Jack Romero style, rock bottom didn’t last for long. Jack decided, once again, to create his own reality. He figured he’d made his dreams come true once before, why not again? And his dream this time? To own an airline and fly home to his parents in a plane of his own. So, you know, baby steps…

To cut a long (and fascinating – look him up) story short, Jack, through hard work, networking and dogged determination, did get his airline. He flew home to greet his parents for the first time in 15 years, an emotional reunion by all accounts. But Jack’s story didn’t end there (he doesn’t believe in fat ladies singing). His airline (BMED) flew to 19 destinations, had 10 airbuses and employed more than 750 people. Jack won the Queen’s Award for Business in 2004 and in February BMI bought BMED for £30m.

Jack doesn’t believe in giving up, ever – making dreams a reality is a tough business but nothing is unachievable if you believe in yourself. The room was enraptured by Jack’s message. It was a whirlwind of a journey and one that epitomizes the High Growth Collective. Dream big, never settle, take the first steps and see what can happen.