The Business Ninja Interview - Matt Davies, Creative Brand Strategist

June 11, 2019

Matt Davies, a Nottingham-based brand consultant, shares with us the importance of businesses seeing their brand clearly, his motivations for going it alone, and the value of his "maverick entrepreneurial tendencies".

 

1. Where did your initial idea for your business come from? What was your mission from the outset?

My business idea came from me thinking about the way I can best add value and do great work - by working in a personal way with senior leadership teams to affect positive change. My mission is to help businesses be more meaningful - for the leaders themselves, for their staff and ultimately for customers. I do this by helping them think differently about their brand - from the inside out.

 

2. What’s the hardest thing about what you do?

Time management. I have to juggle everything. Marketing, sales, personal development, finance - and of course doing the work itself.

3. Is this your first business? If no, what happened to your first (and what have you learned)?

I have had a few past businesses and am connected with a few others currently. My main original business was a creative design agency which I sold in 2016. I ran the agency for nearly nine years growing it from a single person (me) to a team of twelve and doing business with household brands like Specsavers, Boots, Experian and Nikon. My wife and I both ran the business together.

After we had children the pressures of running the agency and having a family led to us deciding it was time to sell - which we were fortunate to be able to do. Since then I have helped run the digital marketing agency we sold it too, sitting on their board as their Creative Director and then I was headhunted and went to work for Capital One heading up their in-house creative studio. At the start of 2019, I decided to go out alone and use my experience to help business leaders.

I’ve learned many things along the way - one is my that my maverick entrepreneurial tendencies can add huge value and need to find a place in my work. Another is that family needs to come first.

4. What are your goals?

I have no specific goals apart from doing great meaningful work and have fun.

 

5. What does a good day in work look like?

My favourite days are when I’ve run challenging workshops which, at the start, saw leaders pulling in different directions - but ended with them all pulling in the same direction. Helping people see their brand clearly is hugely rewarding.

 

6. What do you do when you’re not at work?

I’m a family man so spend time with my wife and children. I’m also deeply religious. I study and speak on the Bible and am involved in my faith community.

7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone starting a business tomorrow or early into their journey?

Define your vision. Set out the big change you wish to make in the world and articulate it to all those around you. Look for people to join you - not work for you.

8. Who do you look up to (in business)?

The best selling author and brand specialist from Silicon Valley, Marty Neumeier. I’ve helped proof his latest book, Scramble, and been personally trained by Marty as part of his Brand Masterclasses. His thinking is truly remarkable and it has influenced me hugely.

9. How do you advertise your business and do you have any tips for anyone creating their marketing strategy?

People don't hire consultants via typical marketing methods. Usually, the kind of trust required only comes from personal recommendation or seeing me perform in the flesh. Therefore my advertising is pretty much all done through public speaking and adding value to audiences in the hope that someone in the room needs my services. I also write articles and promote my activities on social media.

I have loads of tips I could share on marketing as this is a key area I consult on. Some ideas can be found on my blog: https://www.mrmattdavies.me/blog. My number one tip though would be to ensure ‘brand thinking’ is brought to bear on all of your customer experiences. You need to consider the meaning you want customers to attach to you at every step of the way.

10. To what do you attribute your success?

I have been blessed with an inner drive, creativity, resilience, competitive nature and an outsiders viewpoint. Couple that with good manners, friendliness and politeness and I would say these characteristics are the things that I feel have helped me get where I am. Ultimately though, I believe that God is in control of all things and can give and take away. So we count our blessings and use them in the best way we can while we can.

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