You GottaBe! passionate

Back in September 2015, I have been asked to write a case study as part of the #GrowingSMEs, a project run by CMI (Chartered Management Institute) on how I started GottaBe! – I thought I would share a copy of the case study here. 

It was a sunny morning on the 1st of March, when tomaszdyl PR Ltd sowed its first seeds and they began to flower. Back then I was a 17-year-old teenager, in my second year of college and studying among other subjects, business studies.

Initially, I started off as a sold trader, offering PR and communications services to various businesses, including local companies and well-known, well-respected global brands like Western Union – a money transfer company. However, as the UK entered recession, businesses started to cut down on their communication spend and instead shifted their budgets to other areas of marketing, where the ROI was more fruitful.

This prompted me to take a new direction and tomaszdyl PR Ltd became a field and experiential marketing agency. Having previously participated in work experience for a couple of similar agencies, I had a fairly good understanding of how they worked and employed their casual staff. Furthermore and most importantly, I was full of quirky, different and eye-catching ideas.

Secondly, I found a niche in the market, by offering services aimed at ethnic minorities – something my competitors were not doing. Having grown up in Poland, I had the advantage of knowing how to target the Polish customer – I am fluent in Polish and have a great understanding of where they live, shop, go after work and etc.

This helped me to build a unique proposition regarding tomaszdyl PR Ltd., as I was able to help UK businesses target the so-called Polish pound – these are members of the Polish community living and working in the UK, they equate to a population of over 700,000 and are an audience that more and more brands were looking to target.

After about 4 years of running the business, I wanted to gain a bigger slice of the market share pie. I wanted slices of the non-ethnic market, but this came with obstacles – not only was I very young, I was also seen as inexperienced and this coupled with being an immigrant, generated further setbacks. On top of this, I had a business name that not even my own staff could pronounce properly – people were renaming us Basil PR and Tom and Ash Deal PR.

As someone who dedicated his teenage years to growing a business, this was extremely frustrating. Therefore, it prompted me into rebranding – I sat down with my best friend, who (at the time) was my only employee and shortlisted over 100 different names. GottaBe! wasn’t one of them, we had the eureka moment a few days later when our brains were a little bit more relaxed. GottaBe! is a contraction of the word ‘got to’, meaning it has ‘got-to-be us!’. When we contacted our clients to announce the new name, they loved it, some more than we did.

With a rebranding including a new website, fancy business cards and a new office, I was ready to approach new clients – we took a stand to Marketing Week Live at Olympia and promoted ourselves. The rebranding proved to be one of the beat decisions I ever made – also the name can be adapted to anything, hence why we have created separate divisions and sub brands like GottaBe! Events and GottaBe! Ethnic – each specialising in their own area of expertise.

GottaBe! is now an award winning field and experiential marketing agency, specialising in face to face engagements with our client’s target audiences.

Strategy for the business

Since day 1, the strategy has always been the same, to be “unique, different, yet successful”. Have we achieved it? Yes! GottaBe! is very unique in its approach to all stakeholders – each one of our staff is treated fairly and equally, we are a family. We are there to support and learn from each other. In theory there are different titles and responsibilities, but no matter what, everyone gets their hands dirty. I always wanted my staff to respect the work we do and that’s why all of them need to complete a set amount of promo work a month and charity work per quarter.

Clients are our best friends – we know their deepest secrets, which we keep deep in our hearts. Yet, we create campaigns and activities around them – with their customers always at the forefront of our minds. We engage with people, we smile at them, we talk to them, we laugh with them and most importantly, we sell them our client’s products and services on a daily basis. Why? Simply, it’s Your Product, Our People!

No matter how big or small, how new or old your business is, there are always things that can be improved – all you need to do is listen to what others are saying and try to adjust, so it’s perfect.

I often get asked about key lessons I have learned in business and there have been a few:

  1. a) Don’t employ your friends in your business – it won’t work out, unless you can do what I did eventually – between 9am and 5pm be a boss, at 5:01 pm, you become a best mate again.
  2. b) Don’t worry about talking to the big boys, aka. the well known brands – in the first 12 months of trading I signed up Western Union, Specsavers, 02 and NHS! If I can do it, you can do it too!
  3. c) Think through your company name – be quirky, be different, be unique.
  4. d) Never close your door to any market – think about ethnic customers – only 1 in 5 brands individually target these groups at the moment.
  5. e) Be proud of what you do and have fun!

Finally, be passionate about what you do. Passion is by far my favourite word – you cannot be successful in your business if you’re not going to be passionate about what you do. It’s your own little baby; you have given it birth to it – now you need to look after it. You’re the only person that knows everything about it and will be able to sell it to even the least interested person. Trust me – I have a proof!

For a full case study, click here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s