The ‘Secret Sauce’ series: Island Beers

Market Gravity look for something different in the people they recruit. They look for an ability to inject an entrepreneurial spirit into the innovation projects and propositions they’re working on. We call it the ‘secret sauce’ – it’s what makes our approach and the way we help our clients deliver projects that makes us different to other consultancies.


But how do we know if someone can inject an entrepreneurial spirit into a big company? Well. A lot of the team at Market Gravity are entrepreneurs in their own right. They’ve started their own businesses outside of Market Gravity – something the company advocates and actively looks for. They know the work it takes to get something off the ground. They are passionate about ideas in the same way as our clients are passionate about theirs. They're able to draw on their experiences in client projects.

Because we love to share, celebrate and support our team's entrepreneurial passions, we're creating a series of blogs about them. First up we chatted to Dan Avery who's one one of our Senior Consultants, about his business – Island Beers.

Tell us a little bit about Island Beers

"Island Beers is a craft beer business, creating beers brewed with interesting spices that complement the beer style. The result is a subtly unique and great tasting product (I am biased here obviously). We sell to a range of customers, most of which are passionate restaurateurs who like the interesting flavours we produce."


Dan and the Island Beers team


Where did the idea come from?

"We wanted to create a beer that complemented great food, in a way that not many current beers do. There are plenty of very good hoppy craft beer companies around, but not so many crafting delicate flavours to accompany meals and specific dishes."

What did you find most rewarding about the experience?

"Starting with nothing but an idea is a daunting place to be. With work and commitment, you gradually build this into something you are proud of that is beautiful (to you at least… and to others if you’ve done your homework) and when you see this on shelves or being drunk by diners (that actually chose to purchase your product) it is a very rewarding experience. But the best bit has to be ordering and drinking your own beer at a bar/restaurant."

What lessons would you give others?

"Be prepared to commit plenty of your energy, time and resources but commit them very wisely. Never commit to anything big until it is needed, until there is a definite demand or pull for it. E.g. create the smallest batch you can get away with, make the most basic visuals needed and so forth. You’ll find you can do less and achieve more with it. Premature scaling of any sort is an easy way to kill a good product company and it is the easiest way to kill a good product idea."


"With work and commitment, you gradually build (an idea) into something you are proud of that is beautiful (to you at least… and to others if you’ve done your homework)."
Daniel Avery: "With work and commitment, you gradually build this (an idea) into something you are proud of that is beautiful (to you at least… and to others- if you’ve done your homework)."


What was most challenging?

"There are some big moments where you find yourself far from your goal despite having travelled so far on your start-up journey. This feels demoralising and it is certainly demotivating. It is a little like rowing across a sea (stick with the metaphor here)- there is a point in the middle where you are miles from the shore you left and miles from the shore you’re headed to and things feel bleak. For Island Beers, this was when our first batch failed and we had to tip 3.5k bottles down the drain. This is where you must dig deep for your determination and commitment in order to drive things forward until that shore comes into view, complete with swaying palms and a beach bar."

Funniest anecdote?

"Lots of these… usually at our own expense! It always puts a smile on my face thinking about one of our batches that went a little bit wrong. A small flaw in the process led to around one in six of our beers being far too fizzy, to the point where it became quite comical. Every sales pitch, sample and drink after a long day was transformed into a game of Russian Roulette. If you won, you’d enjoy a smooth pitch or drink. If you were unlucky, you or those unsuspecting around you would receive a frothy deluge of delicately spiced craft beer. Whoops. Thankfully this little issue has been solved now!"

How has the experience helped you at Market Gravity?

"There are many things that can distract you when developing and launching something new. I think one of the most valuable things is to understand, or have an appreciation of, is the value of knowing what to focus on and what is a distraction e.g. Do you want to design for all those customer segments now? Do you really need to launch across all channels? Is there really a need for branded mugs? China??... But we’ve not even cracked the UK!"

If you’d like to talk about ideas you have to launch a new proposition or how to overcome some challenges you’re facing- get in touch.

Find Dan on LinkedIn

And take a look at - you can order online!


Contactless is killing savings

It’s time to introduce some pain into payments

The best new business propositions we develop hang off an unresolved tension between opposing needs or desires.  “I want a girlfriend but I can’t be bothered to leave my sofa” – hello Tinder.

In banking, customers have a pressing need to save money, but are constantly presented with easier ways to spend it. UK contactless transactions per month trebled in 2015. Yet customers tell us that contactless makes them feel out of control. They miss the time they had to hand over hard cash. But what’s the difference? It’s all money isn’t it?

Well, no. Contactless removes a ‘decision point’, where the customer has to stop and think about whether this is money they should save or spend. So how can you insert more ‘decision points’ in retail banking to help the customer save, without affecting convenience?  You could give customer electric shocks each time they’re faced with the temptation to spend money – that’s what first direct’s savezap does.

Well it was a good April Fool’s gag…

But here are a few ways you might really approach it:

Split up big sums of money into smaller lumps which consumers can relate to. Or partitioning, in behavioural economics. This Wired article describes how, when people are obliged to open several smaller packets of crackers rather than eat from one large bag, they generally eat fewer crackers. They have to stop and think before they open each new bag. In banking, seeing the split of spend by category follows the same principle: tell someone they’ve spent all of the salary this month and they’ll most likely shrug. Tell them they have spent 25% of it improving their castle defences in Clash of Clans, and they are more likely to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror.

Make small sums seem as important as big sums. Yes, the old adage of ‘look after the pennies’ is very true. Fact is few people do it. Behavioural economics tells us we are less likely to save small amounts like a £10 scratchcard winning than bigger ticket items like a 10% end of year bonus. But that £10 is money which can be saved – the customer needs help to understand that. Like tracking daily progress towards a pre-established savings goal. That £10 might make all the difference to a daily goal.

Minimise the mental separation between purchase and payment. Credit cards separate the joy of a new purchase from the pain of having to remove money from your bank account – often causing horrors at the end of the month. The new move towards ‘predictive’ banking (as touted by Atom) is starting to tackle exactly that problem: showing you how spending behaviour today will affect your future balance (like the amount of interest you’ll earn).

Give customers a chance to think twice. Pension reform now gives customers the freedom to spend a proportion of their pension early. ‘Cooling-off periods’ are proven to reduce projection bias (the thing which convinces you ‘my future self will want this Ferrari just as much as I do now’). One of our clients, Standard Life, has introduced a 2-step process, whereby there is a week’s gap between the first call and completion of the withdrawal. In the interim, Standard Life can provide information on all of the implications of withdrawing, such as the impact on future income.

Try it. A little pain can sometimes be a good thing.

Market Gravity can help you turn an idea into a breakthrough proposition.

Get in touch with Andrew to find out how.


Being an Intern in Market Gravity

Two words come to mind when I think about my experience in Market Gravity: time and creativity.

I came into Market Gravity for work experience as a video editor-in-training, which around a month later I was offered an internship. I'm still doing that internship. If I thought time was precious in the beginning of my experience, that feeling was emphasised once my internship began.

Time management became the most important thing in staying on top of things. And being on top of things needs discipline and creativity. This also gave me valuable insight to how the team works.

People underestimate the use of creativity. Whether you are a consultant, in finance or in design, creativity is applicable everywhere. It could be thinking up a better and faster way to meet a deadline (which Market Gravity are amazing at) or forming a unique solution for a new project. Market Gravity being a hybrid between a business consultancy and UX design, creativity has an even bigger role.

Being creative goes beyond the creative industry. And that's what I appreciate the most about Market Gravity. They have talented people working for them that come from all walks of life and I think that's what makes Market Gravity thrive.

I've had the opportunity to get involved in projects that allowed me to go beyond just video editing, which seems to me a good way to get good at something. You need to be familiar with the stuff around it, and the stuff around those, like a never-ending learning process.

Being in the middle of changing industries—which is very challenging—Market Gravity gave me a chance to do that. They are helping me head in the direction I want to go, at the same time picking up skills and lessons, which can only make me better at what I want to do.

With the increasing speed, technological advancements, and diversification, one cannot remain 2-dimensional about their career path. And I thank Market Gravity for giving me the opportunity to begin and change mine.

Building a new joint proposition with the Bank of Ireland and Post Office

We recently worked with the Bank of Ireland and Post Office to build a new joint proposition, taking them through our Discover, Design and Deliver methodology.

In this short video, Richard Exton, Head of Transactional Banking for Bank of Ireland and John Willcock, Head of Financial Services for Post Office reflect on why they chose to work with Market Gravity and how they found the experience.

What did the project entail?

We worked together over a period of six months, taking their identified opportunity through each of our three stages of proposition development. In Discover, we built customer and market insight around the opportunity and used this to generate ideas and concepts. In Design, we developed the concepts further into the proposition, customer experience and a lo-fidelity prototype. In Deliver, we further tested and built out the proposition in more detail, developing the operating model and go-to-market plan, ready for the Build phase to begin.

To find out how Market Gravity can help you, get in touch with David Cowser -