Monday, 27 July 2015

Fashion focus: Boden case study first

Super Japanese ?
Seeking to find teaching content that resonates strongly with students, MBA Director Justin O'Brien – who would never describe himself as ever having been fashionable or having any degree of sartorial elegance – has looked to the fashion industry for engaging, accessible and fun lectures and case studies.  

Justin O'Brien wearing Boden
For example his visual case study on Cheltenham, UK originating global rag merchant SuperDry is used to consider the country of origin effect, as SuperDry, with its urban chic blend of vintage Americana supplemented with Japanese script, is often mistakenly assumed to be a Japanese brand, unlike discrete brands UNI QLO and MUJI which are Japanese.  
Justin O'Brien wearing Boden

The Boden case was inspired following one of those serendipitous formal personal development plan experiences, a two day residential training event offered by the Case Centre Case Writing training held in the Thatcher Wing of the Said Business School in Oxford.  Experience teaches you to have low expectations and mask any feelings of dread as you commence, hoping above all for a good lunch and time to pass quickly.  Of course with the heady mix of a focussed and practical programme, knowledgable teacher Trevor and staying in the old Oxford jailhouse (now a swanky Mal Maison hotel) this was no ordinary experience.  Having himself been inspired by a market research case study on Lands' End (whose business model Boden adapted) during his exchange year at University of Illinois, Justin set himself the challenge to really use the two days productively and make something happen.  

The Boden case is set at the dawn of the internet revolution and looks to consider founder Johnnie Boden’s marketing strategy having successfully established a premium mail order clothing business that has been particularly popular with the UK middle classes. The case considers whether the company should grow by following a strategy of diversification or internationalisation.  

The Boden teaching case study is not only Justin's first Case Centre publication but also the first from a Royal Holloway management academic.  
O'Brien, J. (Royal Holloway University of London, School of Management)
Published in:

Media notes:

MBA Director Justin O’Brien is a quite flamboyant character on the Royal Holloway campus, where he is known for his love of pink, vibrant rugby tops and flowery Boden shirts.  He teaches marketing and entrepreneurship on the MBA, MSc Entrepreneurship, MA Marketing and on the BSc Management programme where he hosts highly memorable undergraduate lectures on marketing strategy on Friday lunch times in the Royal Holloway Windsor auditorium.  Sometimes crazy things happen.  
Upcoming case study publications from Justin include intriguing, highly practically oriented and a little off centre consideration of a VW Camper van rental business, the children’s party market, a high value logistics tracking start up and story telling at the Windsor and Eton brewery.  

What do academics actually do in the summer vacation ?

With graduation behind us now and the annual distance learning summer school again successfully delivered, it is time very much for me to start the serious preparations for the Royal Holloway MBA 2015/16 programme that kicks off on 21 September.  

I have already been confirming the teaching team’s availability and planning a range of off campus elements including a central London theatre trip, something perhaps a little more physical (a surprise for now) and as a novel idea, a English Premier league away football match. 

Justin near Asahi HQ and Tokyo Skytree
Everyone thinks that university staff are ‘off’ all summer, it certainly is NOT true for your favourite MBA Director.  You will have seen from my MBADirector blog posts that I have been literally flying all over, most recently returning from a mostly leisure but little bit of MBA business trip to Tokyo. 

As every year I am supervising a number of post graduate students through their dissertation, on Friday I had a meeting about big data applied to aviation islands, one of my many research projects.  Then I rushed off to north east London to meet with the marketing director at Saracens Rugby (English champions) to see if we can collaborate next year and offer a taste of a very traditional English sport to the MBA group. Exciting update on this to follow.

Already I have locked down the theme park consultancy for 20 October, which is going to be assessed as a taster marketing consultancy for the first time and we are discussing with BT Wholesale, the giant UK from technology/telecoms, to see  if we can offer a new practical consultancy as part of the term 2 technology/strategy module.    Previously with MBA students we have visited the iconic (not open to the public) BT Tower. 

You will find it hard to believe that I have had time for more, (I will save mentioning my invitation to be a guest innovation blogger for Japanese tech Ricoh, some kudos) but I have also been very busy writing case studies, two have been accepted this week, here is a link to the Boden fashion case summary, where I get many of my flowery shirts from.  

Colourful Boden shirts

Our refs 315-162-1 / 8
Title Boden – Diversifying or internationalizing a fashion brand    

The other was a write up from a guest lecture slot last year, a tech start up, GoLoc8,  that is using SIM based circuit board technology to create a low cost, disposable high value package tracking service.  The case will be released later in the year as part of a SAGE publishing 500 strong case collection.

Emma from careers has just provided me with an update on last years MBA employability survey, pleasing as it showed an average salary of £56,000.  Global logistics company DHL have been exploring opportunities with us too, I think the employability outlook for our graduates is just getting better and better currently. 

I am taking a few days R’n’R (rest and relaxation) with my family in Bermuda from Monday – look out for a follow on blog update of our experiences there, although it will also include a little bit of ‘work’ as I plan to hook up with RoHo MBA alumnus Ibou who works in the drinks industry on the island, he has already given us a few tips for good restaurants.

Happy Holidays !  


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

iPad Postcard reflections from a city break in Tokyo

My older teenage son, Joel, is very passionate about Japanese culture, rather strongly it holds a central position in the gaming and cosplay internet culture <link>.  So when the offer of use of a suburban Tokyo flat was made at Easter Joel was desperately keen to make a visit happen, even in the hot and steamy summer period.  This blog contains the edited highlights of my daily iPad postcard download of activities with a selection of the more interesting photos.  

Day 1

First stop was Pokemon enter in the Landmark Plaza in Yokohama. We visited last time, nothing more than a glorified stuffed toy and plastic stuff shop of the huge (currently ailing) Nintendo franchise. On the opposite side of the mall was edgier, with Totoro, a green fluff ball in a store that also sold Moomin bits. I guess when I was younger (30 ?) I did buy up silly Asterix peripherals....nothing much different. Joel liked the manga and the 'One Piece' art work. Junk spend thus far pretty modest.

We found, after some looking, a Watson's convenience store with the Lioppi terminal needed to book tickets in advance for the Ghibli anime museum. The English menu was not fully on spec, so we asked for help again, only to discover all slots were sold out. Top of the list for next time then ? Odd that you can't just buy it on line, in UK you have to buy via a designated travel agent, which sounds expensive for a £10 ticket. But an interesting USP for Japan fans looking to soak up the culture without Jonathan Ross or Richard E Grants semi humorous telly talk. 

The supermarket check out also provided a rather counter intuitive lean process experience, we had to unpack our trolley onto the moving band and received our paid for goods back in another basket with a bag on top. Beyond check out there was an area to pack your own bags.  A process that optimised the scanning staff members efficiency, but rather missed the customer convenience you can get in the better supermarkets, where they will offer to help you pack your bags.  Of course tip chasers in US will carry your brown paper bags stuffed full to your car, interesting to see such variation in a general, global concept.    

On arrival at entertainment island, lots of glass towers, much like Canary Wharf in steaming heat, we spotted Pokemon lab, a must see location if you are thirteen. "If you grow up with it, you never leave it." Turns out this was an interactive quiz in Japanese to discover the character in a Poke-ball. Joel cracked the character after just one clue.

You never get lost for long in Japan, just stand around looking hopeless and people just come over and help, often in flawless English. So although the Poke lab experience was quite modest (& dull for me to be honest) the rest of the entrance ticket was for the science museum, good that most of this was in English and we had no agenda.

We spotted a clever model of the internet and some 3D printing bits. The big data tracking our movements around interactive exhibits and making them into music was cool. Can see why we need even bigger computers....Joel wanted to pay the premium add-on for the space dome thing, I struggled to stay awake lying back in the dark with 3D glasses on.  +8 jet lag is tough.

"Lunch" was at DiverCity around 1800 behind a huge power ranger in the food mall, if only all food malls could be this exciting, clean and civilised. We watched our yaki soba being fried on a large hot plate with a two egg omelette joining the noodles together, a smattering of smetana or sour cream on thinly sliced shallots topped off the flavoursome mixage. We finished off our visit to entertainment island with a stroll down the Decks mall. Many global brands around, much of the merchandise really was not very different.

Our after dinner stroll was down the infamous electric town of Akihabara, we deliberately arrived late as the impact of tech logos is magnified with the cover of darkness.  This had an enormous wow factor and we gorged our eyes over huge, air conditioned stores with vast ranges of the latest and coolest kit.  

I was struck during our numerous train journeys with the in train advertising, which dangles down unprotected. I am sure it would be ripped off anywhere else. The place is so clean, but it is hard to find bins, everyone must take their rubbish home.

Without much of a clue what the words say you begin to look for meaning in the images, the soft focus front of shot Suntory branded whisky glass being presented by a traditionally dressed lady who cocked her head slightly, whilst her free hand gently caressed the in focus but cut off bottle top.

The Kirin Grand beer offer for a Galaxy Hop, a session IPA ( which should mean you can drink more due lower alcohol) and feel a zing of sour down the sides of your tongue thanks to the preservative high levels of hops, that will get your beer "fresh" to India by boat. Hence India Pale Ale. Another offer called Aroma looked like a dark beer with a good smell ? (I tried this later - it was good) The grand Kirin label 'craftmanship' seeking to offer the illusion of small scale beer styles that is often referred to as craft, not sure CAMRA would like this. English reading from the left, Japanese from the right. Even a hand stop notice nearly hidden and too small to notice, we assumed an alcohol warning.

Day 2

After a frenetic start running on adrenalin, our second day was at a slower paced, that was very rainy and steamy. If you come from UK hot rain is nothing to get worried about, no umbrellas for these intrepid travellers.  Very little sleep achieved due to the time change, amazingly we woke at 1000 after just 4 hours sleep.

We hit the Edo-Tokyo museum, an impressive full size wooden bridge greets you on entrance, lots of interesting models of life in the original settlement.  We got a good sense of the historical evolution of the city, even experiencing the 26kg yoke bucket load of the night soil (human dung) rice farmers would have carried out of the city nightly.

We bailed on plans to visit the Meiji shrine due to tiredness, deciding to visit the sky bar in Asahi tower in Asakusa and have a craft beer in the little resto on the steps, with some kobe beef, wedges and steak.  Some great views and nice cold beer.  
We then looked around the mall under the Skytree, an iconic telecoms tower, the themed shops were fab and particularly the gift food level. We bought some T-shirts, then realised it was a store of global clothing retailer Uni Qlo. Joel was keen on the sweets, they had very innovative packaging. Nano blocks must be Japanese, tiny lego, cheaper here by half, I have been buying some online for team building classes next term, the choice of models is much more international compared with Lego Architecture which is rather US centric.

Got lost on connections en route home, ended up sitting in a rush hour train, thankfully air con and big standing spaces made for a decent ride. I had some slight minor murmurs as my credit card was not swiping.....but it worked on big super market splurge for our sumptuous take out tea, which included some tomato beer, had to try Red Eye, not sure I am a convert.....

Day 3

Slept well over night, finally getting to sleep before midnight. Lots of random noises and traffic stuff going on as we are just above a junction, albeit in a quiet area. Heavy rain over night too. 

Plan was Ginza, but decided that we had more and more interesting things to do in Shinjuku. Hit the Meiji shrine in Harajuku first up, which I didn't remember, was not exciting enough for me, but Joel loved. We lingered long and even read the prayer messages, which were quite inspiring, weird, funny. Perhaps religion has something after all ? Engendering positive reaffirming feelings for collaboration, community and ever improvement ? 

The park trees en route were interesting, a chain retail shop we saw a few times called Urban Research uses house plants for a jungle feel and I can imagine living in a concrete jungle and walking into a shop that is green and plugs sustainable cotton clothing could be a quite powerful inversion.  Sanctuary.  Haven.  Emotional connectivity with the space that might help overcome the premium pricing ?

We then headed for the government tower building, 45 floors up and a free panorama view. We got there via an interesting subterranean walk way covering many blocks, like Canada, but to avoid heat rather than cold. 

Popped to post office to send card to Joel's school, decided not to buy more commemorative stamps. Headed towards the Toto toilet show room, but this had moved and we just gave up at this point. Looked in BIC camera shop, monster technology, pretty impressive. 

Got to the Shinjuku gardens, but it was 'close', as they say here. Tried to find a traditional place for Joel to eat, but he was not happy so eventually we settled on a top floor dept store food court thing, where there were the noodles he wanted cost 780 JPY, about £4.50, pre purchased via a ticket machine in foyer. No drinks, just water. Salary man lunch spot. Joelo happy. 

A few things caught my attention this trip (I have been to Japan quite a few times already)

1: Starbucks "drip" coffee, so much more literal than the more usual 'filter' term.

2: No smoking outside, but you need to find smoking rooms or restaurants, we walked out of one that had smoking inside. Strange. 

3: Night soil, from Edo ancient Tokyo, farmers would extract human waste in buckets, think dung and Baldrick or horrible histories, using wooden buckets balanced on a yoke. Good for rice paddy. 

4: Speak instant Japanese, just add a 'u' ...e.g. Birru, receiptu... global terms abounded and made communications easier.

5: Conflating questions into single words: conflate

e.g. "Excuse me my jolly good man, how do I get to Kamata from here please ?"

Becomes "Kamata ?" 

Our absent host Andrew (works in Hong Kong) recommended an excellent travel ap that optimises the train connections, but of course Vodafone no worku heru. Thus, after a while the written instructions for navigation fail due poor writing and/ or change of location..... You kinda need to be connected to make this stuff work. Red TM or brown F ? TY or something else ? Lots of confusing variants of Tokyo, Toku, Tofu... Limited transliteration and trains that run as stopping and express across all the coloured lines. Nightmare network, but if you can handle three and four connections you can get anywhere across town quite quickly, due crazy frequencies in operation, even on backwater routings. Now AC on a train, isn't that nice ? 

On the trains you have to turn mobiles off in the priority seating area, and may not have volume going on the phone, thus no public calling, what a rule that would be. Let's make it happen !  There are campaigns all around encouraging no rushing and in rush hour you see orderly queues forming to board trains, of course on board there are screens giving updates and journey reports, plus ads.....workable on the British rail network ? 

Day 4

Running out of steam a bit on the wandering around and being amazed at everything. Had heavier trousers today, but felt five degrees hotter, really steamy. Still too uptight to wear short shorts around town, standards of decorum and all that. Trains and streets buzzy as it was the weekend... premium brand zone Amote Sando was the lunch stop, like Regent Street, just with a Dyson shop !

 All too global for us, though there was a side street thing going on that could have been fun, offering vegan organic beer.  Joel not keen on experimenting with pot luck authentic resto experiences, so we had KFC, but interestingly he pondered the health equation of the food, that tasted nice, but was very fatty. Big bone of contention was chicken on a carcass, no boneless filets here, in fact just one leg, three breasts and two necks, which were better than they sound despite needing to pick through bones. 

Day 5

Joel was great as we hooked up with some aspiring MBA locals Yuto and Mariko for a bit first in Starbucks in Shibuya and later down the road. We had seen some cool stuff in a large and high brand-less Muji store, yes we have it at home, but this had lifestyle stuff and touristy bits for the kids. 

Colleague Donna would have been chuffed as i finally read the detail on the pink women only stickers in some of the train carriages. It seems there are train carriages that are not for men before 0930. Not an issue for us, we don't get up early enough. I was however wondering if this is not sexist ? BA tried to have segregation, called family seating, back in the day in Saudi, but was challenged legally. No outdoor smoking, silent mobiles on trains, no rushing for trains, women only carriages.....umm. 

Joel likes the mall experience, he finds the department store less exciting. We did find some interesting crafty bits though in one. I have blisters from walking. Finally we can navigate the trains without a detailed script of change stations and lines. He has bought numerous tacky tourist trinkets, I remember wondering why my folks rarely did. I got six postcards and a prayer motive for my office. I am thinking of writing "hard working students" as my prayer. 

Downer of the day was a poor attempted purchase at the only real Apple shop. Took forever, and then they added a third to the price because the one shown was with contract. Made little saving on the home price it was not worth buying. No six coming home. Not sure the Apple church works as a sales location, lots of flapping around, waiting, waiting. Unimpressed. Bad Apple. 

Day ended with final visit to our local Olympic supermarket, Pokki sticks and a six pack of the tomato beer, not sure anyone will like it, but it is a novelty item I will inflict with fun. Pokki for chums, beer for mere acquaintances ? Do you think it might sell on ebay back home, alcohol rules not withstanding ? Bidders reserve your tin now ? 

Day 6

Silly 0410 start to catch first and surprisingly full train of day to Haneda, amazing new international terminal that was stunning.  Film strategy may be tricky, as strategically I picked my top three movies outbound, but likely to sleep well due lots of short nights. I found jumbo box sets of Japanese special Kit Kats, hard to find in regular shops... Wasabi, pink sakura and green tea for fun ?

Hopefully a cracking holiday experience for Joel, I have enjoyed the creative stimulation from coming out to one of the most different places in the world and to have my first grown up city tour with Joel. 

Ginza, Imperial Palace, bullet train Shin Kansen, Kyoto, Fuji-san all left undone, perhaps for a return visit when Jonah can come too ? 


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Summer of changes on RoHo campus....

The big building project has started & without a digger in sight (graduation next week means hi viz jackets & high fencing are being kept out for just a little longer) the changes have already started. 

The Olympic, Golden post box has sprouted legs and moved.  A bit like that lovely snow man in the John Lewis Christmas ads - each time you look the static resembling column has moved. me needed to post a letter and found a square concrete plinth, where a post box used to be.  An ex-post box, not a dead parrot.    

Lucky for me its now got a higher profile position not just off the path by the ex-shop (which has temporarily (2017) been relocated to a spot overlooking the hub) but properly between Windsor and Founders.  Ideal for a picturesque zen meditation snap, can't wait to see Linda (Managements new digital marketing exec) try to beat my two selfies with a palms and soles together pose.

Some will surely love the new location, #goldencolumn no doubt will reverberate with excited alumni chatter, however some, including long in the tooth and short in the hair department staff like me might continue to remember the older version with affection. 

I wonder if during rag week the fresh undergrads might take to 'relocating' it, like so many of those orange cones & the 'this is not a bus stop' sign that is now chained to the bus shelter by the tennis courts.  I suspect some of our globally dispersed alumni might even chip in with photo shopped versions of the post box appearing in totally unlikely positions.  

Rest assured dear reader, your dedicated roving reporter will keep you fully abreast of all campus build developments.  I am hoping that Kevin McCloud (of C4 Grand Designs fame) will be coming to film a special programme on designing ultra modern, contemporary in the shadow of Grade 1 listed Victorian heritage.  I'm first on the list for a celebrity interview, with a shirt like that Kevin will not be able to refuse !

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Think, for a minute.....? The value of a good break

"Think, for a minute, Stop for a minute" 
Toilets as art
Stellenbosch Uni botanical garden
If you are of a certain age this lyric from Housemartins will perhaps have you humming along ?  Our recent family holiday to Cape Town in South Africa reminded me how important it is to, once in a while, take some time out and p-a-u-s-e.  We were re-visiting one of our top five tourist destinations, after a 15 year absence, a trip that enabled us to introduce the African continent to our children for the first time.  

Some of use find in our uber busy lives one of the few moments that afford the chance of personal reflection are visits to the smallest room.  Sitting on the proverbial pot can be a rare and much needed disconnected moment for pondering and pontification.  My undergraduate students will smile seeing this photo, as we have shared a memorable loo lecture experience, focussed on inducing a market segmentation for an unlikely product.  Toilets as practical art is a new one I had overlooked, I will now be adding this to our analysis, with a very personal touch.  In the last year I have added a constitutional walk or swim to my routine, I find it can be very productive thinking space and I no longer consider it a purely leisure activity.    

On our Easter holidays, with some less great weather, we needed to find activities that appealed to all the family, as lounging around the pool was just a little too cool.  South Africa often has amazing weather, even out of the peak season, so I was disappointed, but I need not have been.  A friendly masters student serving us in a restaurant explained their long break, oddly in June and July, the southern hemisphere cold patch was like "an English summer, when the sun shines it warms up."  Of course the most desirable aspect down south is to be north facing - more challenging upside down thinking for you.  

So we entered a craft village, recommended by a local 9 year old and met this happy snail sign.  It was more than worth it to taste a sublime country bread toasted sandwich with bacon, banana and peanut butter, dubbed an Elvis Presley because it was favoured by the King.  Breath deep, chill out - we were in for a relaxing experience.  I do not do heights easily but my older son was very keen to try out the 5m high wires, with zip lines and obstacles suspended in the pine trees up the hill. We have in the past used the same activity (Go Ape in Bracknell) as part of the MBA induction, to challenge and excite whilst bringing out leadership and fast tracking some team building.  I got to eat my own challenge, with the peer pressure coming from my sons.  It was ok, after a while.  

We had some amazing food. I do not much care for social media that posts images of the food you are eating/ate/about to eat.  Ostrich steak, seasoned and cooked slightly crispy on a wood fired oven was sublime. A meat heavy ploughmans platter.  Beautifully hung steaks.  Italian ice creams.  But I broke my own rule so I never forgot this baked bean pizza, eaten at the top of Table Mountain.  What other pizza toppings are yet to be popularised ?

David's unite to challenge global Goliath's ?
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I am very interested in beer. Two reasons, one it is an innovative water selling business that relies heavily on marketing to create consumer preference and to drive a price premium and second because it offers a story of consumer lead rebellion against global giant brands.  So this unifying 'support local' sign had a strong appeal.  Help your local economy, buy local.  

Of course, I also encourage you to drop your email in the white envelope on the right hand side of the screen if you are using a mac or PC - somewhere buried in the menu bar if you are on a mobile device.  

Elephant in the room ?

Yes ! there is an elephant in the room.  And one of the most exciting things we 
did in Knysna was to walk with elephants.  

Clearly bonkers and a little bit scary, the rules around health and safety are likely to mean that this kind of up close and personal approach to natures gentle tanks is something you will not be able to do in Europe any time soon.  

And as you see from the photo on the right, I got to touch the elephants skin.  When you get this close you realise that elephants are pretty hairy, thick sparse strands stick out all over their body.   Learning insights from getting out there and experiencing first hand.  

Cape Point baboon
not eating ice cream
If you want reasonably dangerous animals to stop bothering tourists, stop selling ice creams and sweets on site.  Sounds pretty straight forwards, but this is what I learned.  Pre-kids we had visited this stunning peninsula and friend Sarah dropped her ice cream whilst being confronted by a local baboon.  The ape proceeded to chomp the sugar rich food on the top of our hire car and we were blessed with a dollop of goop that resembled a giant bird poop for the rest of our trip.  In sharing this image with the original touring party on social media we just so happened to connect up with Andrew who is currently based in Hong Kong, holidaying with his children, our god son Ben and trainee teacher Izzie.  

Universal sockets  for global travellers 

Lastly in this off-centre look at our family holiday in South Africa we noted a jolly good idea that really should have been popularised more widely, universal sockets.  You do not need to get everyone to adopt a single standard - like driving on the left, or the same QWERTY key board layout.  But if, particularly where your customers are international, you installed these universal sockets the problem of compatibility goes away.   Too clever for words,  one of those small points of difference that gives you an amazing feeling of attention to detail and a quality experience.  Why have I only just learned about them ?

South African standard socket

Friday, 3 July 2015

Brewing up a Windsor wives tale: RoHo MBA study visit

"Help yourselves...really, just help yourselves" urged our hosts at Windsor and Eton brewery, Paddy and Penny, whilst encouraging the stalwart members of our study visit for masters students to stay on a while and try out the full range of distinctively flavoured beers available in the sample room.  

They did not take much persuading, I can assure you.

The most popular choice was Magna Carta, a new addition to the WEBrew portfolio (two bottles pictured below) a beer that was developed to offer a novel drinking experience using historically researched ingredients and drawing on the interest in the 800 year celebrations of the signing of the Great Charter at the nearby Thames side meadow in Runnymede.

Head brewer Paddy, the story teller, had successfully cast his spell, providing a tour of the production facilities that was also laced with rich business insights that only one of the four founding partners of the business could provide from this highly successful 2011 start up.  One happy student summarised their highly positive experience thus: 

"It's got everything, entrepreneurship, operations, marketing, HR, strategy, finance... It was a perfect venue for an MBA field trip."

Story Teller Paddy, Head Brewer at Windsor and Eton

Paddy regaled students with the unexpected impact the founders wives had had in innovatively using picture heavy updates in Facebook. Fb link They tracked the brewery's fast start up, over just six short weeks to the beginning of the real ale season (St George's day), crucial marketing activity that is recognised by the initially rather dubious entreprenurial men folk for the launch weekend sell out of their first 23 cask production run.  This digital PR engagement helped firmly establish a strong consumer pull demand for their early heraldic sounding beers, dubbed evocatively Conquerer, Knight of the Garter and Guardsman. Start up story link.  

Since then the brewery has not shied away from leveraging social media to develop a local community following, critical given the tiny advertising funds available in their organically funded business.  Jokingly, but with a serious intent, Paddy actively encourages tour visitors to post on TripAdvisor, keen to give "the woman up the hill" competition for the highest rated tourist destination in Windsor.  TripAdvisor link  You will see from the screen shot below that they are doing rather well !

What was new since last year ?  Last visit

The Windsor and Eton brewery has offered relevant and highly enjoyable experiential study visits for Royal Holloway students since 2013 and are also the feature organisation in an upcoming case study publication by MBADirector Justin O'Brien.  So what innovations had taken place since the last visit a year ago ?

Windsor Tot pump rings

Windsor Tot, a cask offering with a limited edition of 500 numbered bottles, was developed to mark the birth of royal baby Charlotte Diana.  Older brother George had had a shorter bottle production run named 'Windsor Tot' of just 300 which sold out in short order.    The kissing swan design that a heart shaped outline is encircled by a "Windsor knotted" golden tie, a clever visual pun on the colloquial English expression 'tying the knot' meaning getting married. Pictured to the right above, with blue bottle labels, is the Royal Wedding inspired Windsor Knot forerunner.  

Did you know that in UK mute swans are not only a species in danger from lead fishing weight poisoning, but also owned by the queen, having been once prized as a tasty source of food.  Link here for more.

Treason, a west coast IPA, is the first new beer from the Uprising brewery sub-brand inspired by the younger members of the brew team.  It is bottle conditioned, (has yeast in the bottle that needs to settle out), and is recommended to be served cold.  The WEBrew brand is traditional and very much targeted at the more mature beer drinker, the radical sounding breakaway brew derivative offers the opportunity to experiment with more contemporary styles and ingredients.  Like the Czech inspired craft lager 'Republika' Uprising uses non-traditional, anti-monarchy republican associations, a clever marketing inversion that seeks to develop a portfolio offering with appeal to both traditional and fresh style beer drinkers.  

Corker was being primed for release during the Ashes.  The name plays on the expression "phew what a corker !" signifying a great day or performance and probably the Australian stereotype head gear, a hat with corks on strings to deter bugs.

The George Inn in Eton, is the first of an aspirational chain of two or three pubs for the immediate catchment area.  Windsor and Eton brewery have taken over the tenancy, currently a food pub with rooms, that will gradually be redeveloped into a "proper beer pub",  popular for its affordable food and great beer.  It is part of a strategic blocking manoeuvre,  with 1,500 breweries in a market place that can perhaps sustain 800, WEBrew are keen to stamp their brand on the Windsor area to ensure that new entrants give their locale a wider birth.