EY’s Bright Young Things

A little while ago, Company of Makers (CoM) had the exciting opportunity of putting some bright young things at Ernst Young through their paces. We’d never met them and only had 24 hours to complete the challenge, which kicked off with us all having a conference call to go through the 12 page brief we’d sent them (yeah, we know, that’s not brief). The group had also not met each other before, 5 professional service employees chosen from across EY’s UK offices.

The piece of work we set them was to produce a market research report for products CoM is making ready for launch, you know the kind of thing, considering our design concepts and brand values and testing out our USP. A big ask when they actually work in corporate finance and accounting. The 24 hours finished with the guys giving us a presentation at their London office.

Here’s what they had to say…

“All of us in the team are in our second year working for Ernst & Young (EY) across the major service lines that EY offers: Tax, Transaction and Advisory Services, Assurance. Our jobs day to day involve liaising with the UK’s, and in fact the world’s, largest corporate entities from helping them raise finance to compete in worldwide mergers and acquisitions to preparing the audit report for not only large corporates but to small home grown organisations too.

So, as you can imagine creating customer profiles for CoM for people who want to buy the funky, chic furniture and soft furnishings was a refreshing change that was nothing like our 9-5’s.

For us to understand how to help CoM and their marketing strategy, we first had to understand what exactly it was that CoM does, and that was the interesting part! We spent hours as a team, and individually, navigating (excuse the pun) our way through the CoM website and related information points, trying to get a real feel for what it is that drives Rachel and Steve and what they and CoM are all about.

We absolutely loved how they have managed to combine social enterprise with cool products and really got what it was they were selling. Product creation and manufacture is so standardised these days that it was refreshing to see such a different approach to retailing. The themes that came through to us were: British, Handmade, Military and Upcycled. This allowed us to identify suggested target markets, retailers and competitors.

What was interesting during this process is that we learnt that CoM truly is unique in what it does and although other companies do upcycling, or have a British focus, or even military themed products, not one had the overall idea and products that CoM have. This niche excited us and furthered our confidence in CoM and its products.

At the end of the 24 hours we then presented in an orderly fashion (OK, so maybe it wasn’t so orderly…) our thoughts on where we think CoM should be targeting its fantastic products. We got the boring, corporate stuff over with and then the real fun started when we got to see, feel and try on (the excitement!) part of the product range of aprons.

This gave a real appreciation of the quality and history of the materials used and brought great discussion over where the materials had been sourced (all from genuine reused military personnel garments!) We enjoyed picking apart the aprons (not literally, don’t worry) and deciphering what parts of the apron were made up from what parts of the old uniforms. There was even original “bar codes” on the material, showing exactly where the material belonged and where it had been issued from, which was really cool.

We had a lot of fun as a team, and with Rachel and Steve, discovering what it is CoM do and the products they offer and we hope our excitement for the enterprise and the products was evident to Rachel and Steve and gave them confidence for future endeavours!”