Gillian Horan CEO and a Business Woman that means Business. After spending the morning on NEWSTALK Gillian took time out of her busy schedule to talk to IIBN.
In your own words what does your business The Pudding do?
The Pudding is a hybrid between a brand consultancy and design studio. We work with companies to build, re-position and grow game-changing corporate and employer brands. With The Pudding, comes the proof. Our whole focus is to work with CEO’s to build brands that have a business impact. Some of our clients include Smyths Toys, Norbook Pharmaceuticals, Renatus, Nursing Homes Ireland, Sheraton US, Carton House, Conrad Dublin, PREM Group, InterContinental and the Irish Hospitality Institute. Most recently The Pudding signed Colgate and has worked with them repositioning Colgate Ireland’s employer brand.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
My role has always been to create a branding agency that builds amazing brands that truly make an impact. Over the last few years with the team I have set the tone, vision, and the culture of The Pudding. This vision has led to us having an amazing team, world class partners, two offices, international clients, and a very profitable business.
What are your biggest challenges?
For any CEO right now, talent is the biggest challenge and I feel no different. We have exciting growth plans for the company for 2020 and beyond and for us to achieve them we need to continue to grow our amazing team.
How do you keep your team/staff motivated?
We have a really open culture where all team members are involved in the progression of the company. Collaboration is one of our core values and something we work on each and every day. It is actually driven by the team more so than me and is something that has allowed us to achieve our greatest successes to date. One of my key focuses for team motivation and progression is training and development and so regularly we all look to learn and upskill whenever is possible.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
For years ‘brand’ has not been valued as a core business driver however this is changing. For anyone in the arena of branding it is such an exciting time. Branding has never been taken more seriously than it is right now. In The Pudding we are absolute crusaders when it comes to getting brand on the board agenda and we are beginning to see this happen. The financial impact of brand is no longer a myth and we regularly work with investors, equity houses and brand valuation firms who are all focused on proving its worth. Watch this space for brand to become one of the hottest topics in the board room.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
Even though the connection between brand and financial impact is starting to emerge, we still find that Irish companies are slower to invest into building strong brands. Branding is not a logo. It is not a project. It is an ongoing process that allows you gain loyal customers who not only continue to buy with you, they tell all their friends why they should also purchase your brand. And it doesn’t stop with your customerss, it is about all stakeholders. It is about building a reputation to be the best company to do business with and more importantly it is about attracting amazing talent. 33% of Irish CEOs are missing growth targets due to the lack of availability of key skills .st? People are your greatest asset. The bottom-line impact is real. Employer Branding saves time and money. A strong talent brand reduces cost per hire by up to 50% and lowers turnover rates by 28%. ‘Employer Branding is not just about recruitment marketing, the short term. Having a strong brand means your company is seen as the best place to work.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
Hire early. I have left it too late in the past and have felt the pain of it. My advice is if you come across someone who is has the right attitude, who fits your company culture and will be a significant player in the team – don’t hesitate, hire them.
Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
We would like to see greater export sales and therefore we are looking to expand more internationally. We have partners in the UK and the US both of which are target territories for us. We also have some interesting partnerships in the pipeline, so watch this space.