Magazine article Marketing

A Nice Little Sideline

Magazine article Marketing

A Nice Little Sideline

Article excerpt

Marketers are employing their business knowledge and creativity to develop interesting brands and businesses beyond their day jobs, writes Nicola Clark.

The fact that a team of senior O2 marketers is set to roll out a range of high-end vibrators may surprise some readers. However, it seems that almost every marketing director has an interesting business on the side, or at least plenty of ideas on how to launch one.

In the current economic climate, it makes sense for marketers to have a plan B. Historically, they have a strong track record of branching out into new business ventures. A host of successful brands, from Feel Good Drinks to Gu desserts, has been created by former marketers.

Launching a brand or business venture comes with plenty of potential problems and pitfalls. While marketers are good at embracing innovation, striking out on one's own is not for the faint-hearted.

However, many marketing practitioners are now successfully combining their day jobs with innovative second businesses. These ventures provide them with the rewarding experience of creating a brand from scratch while generating insights that they can use in their day jobs.

While the O2 marketers' plans are still in the early stages of development, others have already taken their ventures further.

RUSSELL BRATERMAN - Marketing director of Phones4U, owns the Kemp Townhouse boutique hotel in Brighton with his partner, Claas Wulff

As marketing director of Phones4U, Russell Braterman has one of the most high-profile marketing jobs in the UK. However, as co-founder and co-owner of boutique hotel Kemp Townhouse, you might also find him serving you breakfast in bed in the morning.

Not surprisingly, role reversal has made for some amusing situations 'Hotels are great for collecting anecdotes,' he says. 'Ninety-nine percent of people are lovely, but sometimes serving advertising people has been interesting. Some people in the marketing world can be a bit snotty, but their attitude completely changes once they know what my day job is.'

While Braterman works in London for most of the week, at the weekend he helps with all aspects of running the hotel, from PR to HR. He can also be found obsessing over Google AdWords and how best to host journalists. 'The big difference when it's your own business is you don't have to compromise and you can make decisions on the spot,' he adds.

Braterman says the experience has put him on a steep learning curve; creating the Kemp Townhouse from scratch was a project of Grand Designs proportions. He and partner Wulff completely gutted and refurbished the building in three months with a team of 25 workmen. Every aspect of the overhaul was overseen by the duo and the attention to detail was rewarded with great reviews when it opened last year.

The project was certainly not the result of a passing whim. Wulff quit his day job and invested five years in learning the ropes of the hotel business in Germany.

'A lot of people underestimate the amount of specialist knowledge involved,' says Braterman. 'In itself, marketing (experience) is not enough - you need some on-the-ground knowledge.'

KEVIN HARRINGTON - Director of voucher-scheme provider Sodexo Pass in the UK and a former global marketing director of BBC Worldwide, is also the founder of Josaka, a record label, webzine and live music promotion business

Kevin Harrington sowed the seeds of Josaka 10 years ago when he purchased the web domain name and began promoting a band based in Reading. …

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