Case Studies

£4m in 8 weeks

In 1993 I received the biggest challenge of my career so far: to create a shopping experience
that was fit for a (The) Queen. The brief was to create a unique shop, in a small tent, in the garden of Buckingham Palace. It was the first time the palace had ever opened as a visitor attraction: and I saw the opportunity.

I led a small team in the creation of a beautiful collection of bespoke products, displayed with ingenuity in the confined space. After the opening weekend, the shop was all over the national news, creating TV and press headlines. After one week, we had to move the shop to a bigger tent – five times the size.

After our first season, we had more than quadrupled our budget. And, in our second season, the shop generated revenue over £4m, in just 8 weeks. Over 5 years (40 weeks), the shop delivered over £6m profit – and changed the face of museum gift shop retailing.

The simple lesson was this: to create POSITIVE results you have to be able to see the potential.

Then you have to be able to design and implement the concept.

Travelling with the Beast

One of my clients described the business transformation journey as “travelling with the beast”.

From 1998-2004 I tamed and transformed the beast that was the National Trust for Scotland’s Customer Experience.

In 1998, the Director of Conservation told me “Our customers are our buildings”.

Meanwhile, the real customers were turning away from a tired, outdated experience.

In six years, we transformed that thinking, and that experience: all the while managing the expectations and demands of layers of trustees, committees, non-execs, volunteers, and employees. We subtly translated the Disney Excellence Model in creating an authentic, compelling, Scottish lifestyle brand.

We trebled commercial income, and turned around a 10-year decline in visitor numbers.

One of my non-execs (the most admired retailer in Scotland) told me:

People who can create strategy and deliver the detail, with a high level of taste, are like hen’s teeth. And you’re one of them.”

The best journeys in London

In 2012, I led the development of the passenger experience for the first urban cable car in the UK, linking two key venues for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The cable car would carry upwards of 30,000 passengers every day (including athletes, volunteers, spectators, tourists, and commuters), between The O2 arena and the ExCel Exhibition Centre.

Facilitating the merging of 8 partner brands into one very simple articulation of the passenger experience – “Inspiring Journeys” – over 100 new Team members were recruited to deliver that experience.

Many of them had never worked in customer-facing roles before; for some, this was the first decent opportunity they’d ever had in life. By bringing “Inspiring Journeys” to life for them, the vision became reality.

The cable car was awarded, after just three months of operation, the accolade of “Best Passenger Experience” in London, as voted by passengers.

The method was to see the potential, create a compelling vision, and to inspire the team to make it happen.

If we work together, you will see how I process my experience to find the potential in your organisation, create an authentic vision, a pragmatic strategy, and support you and your team to deliver more:

  • More engaged, productive people
  • More customer engagement and loyalty
  • More authentic products and experiences
  • More sales and profitability
  • More opportunities

In summary: Stephen does not cut corners. He builds a business strategy in blocks, putting in a good foundation, the end product being only as good as the parts. He enjoys making things happen and does it with humour, energy, and clear directional thinking. A potent force.”

CONTACT ME TODAY and tell me how I can help you! Call +44 (0) 7921 812253 or via the form below: