Ebou Consulting Branding with owl brand device


These are the two questions
every business leader needs to
know the answers to......

‘Where is all our new growth
and profitability going to
come from?’
‘What have we got to be better
at and do differently, in order
to achieve it?’

I’m David Barker from
Ebou. Supplying the
answers to those
questions is what I do.

It’s what one might call
‘finding the future’

Finding the future

Doing the homework.
Reaping the benefits.
Understanding where future new growth and profitability are going to come from is not guesswork. There are three critical stages each dependent on the other. They take rigour, imagination and impartiality. These form the basis of what I do to bring about success.
Firstly, identifying and understanding where the profitable, unrequited or badly served, market needs and opportunities lie.
This can be difficult for companies to do themselves. The closer you are to a market the more difficult it is to challenge the assumptions that shape the understanding and behaviour in that market and all breakthroughs come from challenging assumptions.
Secondly, gaining an objective, shared understanding of what skills and resources the company truly has.
The key word here is objective. Discovering just how many relevant skills and resources are already within a company that will help deliver the future is important learning. Knowing which need to be developed or supplemented is a valuable part of building future competitive advantage.
Thirdly, helping utilise or develop the company’s skills in order to produce imaginative products or services to meet those needs, brilliantly.
After validating the opportunities comes implementation. This is the stage where the enhanced future starts. The planning and execution of a better, more attractive and more desirable product or service to meet the identified need. This is a key stage of focussed co-operation and co-ordination across the team.
Realising the future 1
Why too many reports end up buried in a drawer

I work as an individual. I work with management as the missing piece of the team jigsaw to ensure that all the team are a part of finding and implementing the future. Involvement and enlightenment are a vital part of getting the whole company to buy into what needs to be done.

This is very different from using a company that may consult with the team, but who work at arms length before returning, somehow magically, with a solution.

The job I do is about aligning the company strengths and skills to the most important needs that drive their market. It is a balance of interrogation, investigation, researching the options, setting intentions, challenge, creativity and innovation. And working closely with all the key players.

From this comes new knowledge and certainty that in turn gives the whole company a true sense of purpose to then confidently deliver the future.

Realising the future 2
Bringing it vividly to life

Finding the future for many of my clients is just the beginning. I am often the bridge to executing that future.

It helps that I have been the creative head and owner of several top twenty advertising agencies and a founder of one of the UK’s most influential behavioural and marketing science consultancies.

This allows me to act as a coach, advisor, an innovations source or help for companies to find specialist resources to answer questions like...

How can we quantify the bottom line effect of this new direction?

How do we reach and influence our end user?

What influences should we take account of in developing our product?

How can we make the company as well as the products more appealing?

What role can design play in communicating who we are and what we do?

What should the website be saying, what is its role, what should it look like?

How do we utilise digital and social media?

How should we measure success?

Finding the future is satisfying but delivering that future by bringing it to life for both customers and employees alike is for me an important part of creating a successful, sustainable future.

How do I know this works?

Over a five year timespan I worked on both strategy and execution that saw Maximuscle go from an £8m purchase by Piper Private Equity to an £85m sale to Darwin Private Equity and then on to a £186m sale to GSK.

The creation and launch of Upbeat for Volac, one of Europe’s fastest growing international dairy nutrition businesses, not only saw them successfully move into consumer products, but also won them the European Dairy Launch of the Year.

I currently work in the prestige travel market as part of the team that has seen Vancouver based Fresh Tracks Canada enjoy a doubling of sales and profit over the last three years.

Trade sales are often a profitable exit. The success of my strategic and executional work for Lee Cooper, the jeans and clothing company, for the Devon based Gro Company, makers of baby products and more recently Fabris Lane are good examples of that.

For Fabris Lane, the UK’s leading sunglasses company, that meant developing their existing product portfolio, putting in place research to help them become category champion and creating a spectrum of innovative new products designed to use the company’s existing skills to take them into a growing, higher margin market sector.
These easily implemented, innovative developments, fully quantitatively researched, proved to be highly attractive to new US owners, FGX. The purchase will be a cost and time effective way for FGX to move into areas of the market, across their international network, that they have hitherto not had the skills or the knowledge to enter.

I also worked for ten years with the management of Ernest & Julio Gallo wines in California to help them expand both their US and international brand portfolio and was a founder and consultant with Mountainview a company specialising in training companies in the neurosciences. Clients include companies like Ford, First National Bank, Mars and Tesco.


Chris Curry
Piper Private Equity
"David has worked with us on two of our portfolio businesses. He was able to help us assess the brands we had bought and set a very clear framework upfront for their positioning, both functionally and emotionally. This was critical in setting the strategy for the businesses and determining how best they communicated with their customers."
Ivor Harrison, CEO
William Ransom plc

"I've worked with David three times now. Once as MD of Maximuscle ltd with great success, as Marketing advisor to Volac ltd and then as CEO of William Ransom & Son plc where he was brought in to develop the core positioning for the company’s umbrella brand. As always the insight he has into consumer thinking and the science of brands is second to none.

He has helped us define issues, research options thoroughly and cost effectively and always developed a differentiated positioning that that will stand the test of time. It is a pleasure to work with David."

Paul Hick
"Building shareholder value starts before anything else in defining an emotional territory for the brand - the single emotional idea you will own uniquely in the minds of your consumers - and then brilliantly executing it. David does that better than anyone else. Period.

Evidence? 20 years of working together when I was Marketing Director of Pernod (1989) and Teachers (1993), as Managing Director of Lee Cooper (1998), Chairman of Racing Green (2005), and Maximuscle (2004-2008) and most recently working for Fresh Tracks Canada. Brilliant work and everlasting legacies for the brands, companies and shareholders.

He has great insight, an extraordinary understanding of brands and consumers, is a world class creative director and is great to work with too. Grab him!"
Rob Holmes - Owner and Founder
Gro-Group International Ltd
"In my humble opinion, David Barker is a genius! When David came into the business in early 2008, we were suffering from a lack of direction and lack of clarity with our brands. David quickly identified our strengths and weaknesses and set about devising a clear strategic plan to address the negatives and enhance the positives.

When you run your own business, you are so close to it that you are in danger of becoming blind to the obvious. One of David's many skills is to be able to provide that outsider’s perspective, backed up by decades of successful marketing and brand building expertise. The results have been staggering. From feeling that we had reached a cul-de-sac with our brand hierarchy, by coming up with the Gro Company umbrella brand, David has opened up a 6 lane super-highway and the future is certainly vivid! He has effectively removed our glass ceiling and lifted the lid on our company's future. Even during a recession, our outlook is now very exciting and we can't thank David enough for his help and friendship. We look forward to keeping in contact with him over the coming months and years."
Nick Herbert - Brand Director
SRG (2005-2008)
"The thing that set David apart was that in undertaking two substantial pieces of strategic consultancy, he was not only able to define new, commercially sound visions and brand criteria for two of the Group's major retail brands, but also really bring the consumer experience to life by becoming an integral part of the creative realisation of each, working with our store architects and visual communicators."
Rod Lane
Fabris Lane
We are a specialist eyewear business, selling around 5 million pairs of sunglasses annually to a wide range of retailers and opticians groups. We invited David to look at our suite of house brands, which had taken a battering during recession and had become lacklustre with the potential for delisting.

Right at the start of the relationship, David put my management team through a really challenging process before doing the same for each of our brands.  Through this and other processes David found the essence of each brand and with his immense experience, insight into consumer behaviour and the ability to find the key emotional messages, create for each of them a desirable proposition. We were then able to relaunch our brands swiftly in the certain knowledge that they would secure for us, future growth.  Job done!

Whilst doing this David found fertile ground for an innovative new brand launch that surprised all of us.  Brilliant thinking combined with rigorous research is what David is all about.  Nothing is done on a whim.  It all has to be proved first.  He is challenging and insightful and a delight to work with as long as you want to embrace change for the right reasons.”
John Parker - CEO
Fresh Tracks, Canada
More than a year ago I decided to refresh our brand to improve our communication and to get a clearer idea of where we are going - and I still bear the scars! For business people like myself who are not experts in branding, the world of branding firms and consultants is a veritable minefield. If you are not very careful you can spend a lot of money and get not very good advice - as I found out to my cost.

When I finally met David, I was pretty much at the end of my rope on the project - and he was like a breath of fresh air. At last I had found that rare breed - a very accomplished creative person who is also down-to-earth and practical. We immediately had a rapport - and as I later found out that is a critical component. Understanding who you are and listening to you is what every branding firm says they do - but in fact they don't. Too often they have their own ideas of what you should be or what they imagine you to be - and they completely miss the point.

David went back to basics. His research was incredibly thorough. And because of that and his wisdom from a lifetime doing this, he was able to help us establish a new brand position and show us how we might implement it.

He gave us a new vision of our future - and the power of that has been incredible. It has crystallized all our efforts around one big idea and I feel a huge weight off my shoulders.

In short, I cannot recommend David highly enough - except to my direct competitors, for whom he is wholly unsuitable!"
Getting in contact
As I work with many of my clients at their premises my order of preference is:
e-mail: david@ebou.co.uk
mobile: 0044 (0)7831 327 757
Every breakthrough comes from challenging assumptions.
Ebou Consulting Branding with owl brand device