Magazine article Management Today

Brainfood: Speaking out - Richard Reed, Founder, Innocent

Magazine article Management Today

Brainfood: Speaking out - Richard Reed, Founder, Innocent

Article excerpt

Richard Reed stands slightly sheepish in a crumpled T-shirt and jeans, his tousled hair belying a successful business brain.

Just five years ago, he and a friend invested pounds 500 in mixing smoothies to sell at a music festival. Above the stall, a sign said: 'Should we give up our jobs to make these smoothies?' Punters voted by casting their empty bottles into one of two dustbins. The 'Yes' bin won and now Innocent has a pounds 37 million turnover.

What could Reed tell the Marketing Society annual conference? He kept it simple. His five rules included 'keep the main thing the main thing', and 'take care of the details'. He summed up his faith in continuous learning with the phrase 'be porous' - suck in all the information you can. And he was keen to make best use of his website, which invites constructive suggestions from consumers. His most compelling arguments involved corporate social responsibility. While 'it's no good if a tobacco company decides to invest in a children's playground', Innocent gives 10% of its profits to the countries that grow the fruit it uses. …

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