Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Small Values, Big Ambitions - Gareth Helm, Marketing Director, Innocent Drinks

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Small Values, Big Ambitions - Gareth Helm, Marketing Director, Innocent Drinks

Article excerpt

Anti-globalisation protesters would have us believe that it is nigh-on impossible to marry small-business values with big-business demand and achieve return on investment and profit growth. If they are to be taken at their word, it would seem that balancing the requirements of a small firm wishing to maintain its intimacy, while developing it into a multinational organisation, would be a virtually unsolvable conundrum.

This is, however, precisely the task that faces 39-year-old Gareth Helm, who was appointed as Innocent Drinks' marketing director earlier this year. 'Innocent has grown at a fantastic rate and we still have great aspirations. Over the next few years, I hope we can double the size of our business,' he says.

However, Helm points out that as the firm grows, the challenge will be to 'keep that close, intimate, special, unique relationship with our drinkers'. He believes that it is the little things Innocent does that will best allow it to retain its personality and this connection.

'Part of that challenge is to stay ahead and surprise and delight our drinkers as much as we did in the old days,' he says. 'We have to come up with new ideas and initiatives but, at the same time, we've got to keep those little touches alive.'

Those little touches seem ingrained in the culture at Innocent. When Marketing arrived at the firm's office last week, the staff were ensconced in making bunting for the Innocent Village Fete, which takes place this weekend.

Last year, at its Fruitstock event, which the Fete has replaced, Innocent distributed bike labels to those who had cycled to the event, thanking them for helping the environment. 'We need to keep doing those little things because they make a difference,' says Helm.

This attention to detail is also important when it comes to marketing. 'It's not all about big TV campaigns, it's about finding that sweet spot between the big things and the little things,' he says. 'It's as important to us to have great people sitting here talking to our drinkers on a daily basis as it is to do the TV stuff.'

Doing the little things also extends to Helm's home-life, particularly in taking on Innocent's ethical stance. He admits that working for the brand has prompted him to approach things in a different way. He has bought a fold-up bike, which enables him to incorporate cycling into his commute from Hertfordshire, is looking into using green electricity and prefers to take his holidays in the UK. …

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