Jon Wilkins is Managing Director of research and insights agency Researchcraft. The business, based in Leamington Spa, was formed in 1995 as a market research consultancy.
It is known for giving clients access to hands-on support from senior and highly experienced researchers throughout the project.
Jon and his wife Sara took full-ownership of the business in 2017, with Jon having been a Director and co-owner since 2005, and it now employs eight people and has recently launched a new framework for measuring brands, a re-brand and a new website.
The BrandQi framework, which was launched in August 2022 by Researchcraft, gives clients to the business a rounded understanding of their brand.
It tracks the successful factors that matter most to the development of a brand and helps to inform decisions on the next steps to take.
The framework also provides a crucial new marketing tool in demonstrating their expertise in helping clients to grow brands as it hopes to move into a new period of significant growth.
Jon was a member of one of the Peer Networks programme groups run by Burgis & Bullock from September 2021 to March 2022.
The group supported Jon with insights and information from fellow members in how to tackle the challenges facing businesses – including the increased focus on technology solutions in Researchcraft’s sector.
He said: “I went into the Peer Networks programme with an open mind. The attraction for me was having people at a similar level or position to share my business challenges with.
“My hope and expectation was that I might learn something but also give something back – and that was certainly the case.
“The open forum to discuss issues was very useful, and there were challenges that we were all facing such as recruitment and staffing.
“We have created our new branding for Researchcraft and then the BrandQi framework to run alongside that. However, one other aspect we are working on is competing with the fast developing nature of technology.
“Researchcraft has always been a people and technology business, but the balance has shifted to be much more equal between the two in recent years.
“It’s crucial we have the right tech in-house to intelligently research brands and at the same time enable our clients to make rapid decisions. We’re not looking to compete head on with automated DIY solutions, but tech is still important.
“Peer Networks helped me with finding out what tech is out there and what is the best to adopt. Group members pointed me in new directions and to find new sources of information – for example, we’ve had a lot of success now in using LinkedIn to find technology solutions.
“This actually resulted in the business adopting a solution to automate the production of reports, and another solution gives clients a more sophisticated online platform to review results.
“I think Peer Networks or similar business groups are really useful to businesses a similar size to us. If you are one of the only senior management people in your business, it gives you a venue to discuss issues, challenges… and find solutions!”
Burgis & Bullock delivered its cohorts of The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Peer Networks programme through the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub.