Tag Archives: marketing

What does FOXY Lady mean?

foxy_lady.mugWhen my husband Paul and I decided to set up a motoring club for women we struggled to find a name we were both happy with.

Me, being a marketer, wanted a business name I really liked. My husband, being a man, thought we needed a name that said what the business would do.

I didn’t much like his plain ideas including ‘Motoring services for women,’ ‘A female car club,’ and one that linked lipstick and dipstick too close for comfort I thought.

After countless variations and lots of wasted time this became a big problem for me. Until, in a bloke-like stroke of brilliance, he suggested we add a female-ey adjective to lighten his combinations. I can’t remember how long it took to get to the foxy lady combo but once heard it hit the spot.

Over the years FOXY Lady has become a female motoring brand that’s memorable for women and the motor trade alike. Firstly it tells the trade that FOXY Lady Drivers are ‘shrewd, canny and discerning’ (so don’t mess with us) and secondly it tells women drivers that the FOXY Lady Approved standard means garages and car dealers that are genuinely female friendly and likely better than most others.

And so FOXY Lady Drivers Club was born.

Back in 2004, before social media had been invented, few of us were all that sophisticated when it came to searching at Google. Nor was Google I’d say or they surely wouldn’t have parked us out in the dark ages, somewhere totally unfindable for starters haha…

As a result, those interested females who’d heard me speak in the early days and remembered the FOXY Lady bit of our name (but not the precise website name) quickly found themselves in deep, murky and often deeply offensive territory – the sort of sites that women we wanted to sell to wouldn’t dream of visiting…

On the other hand, we were probably a good excuse for some men to say ‘Sorry dear, I was simply looking for that motoring website you liked…’

And I’ve often wondered how a fledgling Richard Branson would have fared if he’d launched his Virgin brand online in those bygone days. We did lose some potential customers I’m sad to say, through sheer shock…but we’ve now climbed the Google rankings and most women know to add a motoring phrase anyway…

I also remember phoning the Jeremy Vine’s Radio 2 programme from a motorway service station in our early days. I’m not sure about the precise topic but it was something that rubbished women drivers and I wanted to have my say.

My son and husband headed for the Burger bar whilst I braved the phone with the sound of motorway traffic ringing in my ears. ‘We’ll call you back in ten minutes’ they said and did. Whilst I was waiting to be put through I heard Jeremy announce ‘We now have Steph Savill from the Sexy Lady Drivers Club’ on the phone. This broke the ice, we both laughed and I had the opportunity to say our proper business name, to explain what it has come to mean (as in shrewd and discerning) and even get this repeated back. Priceless PR for FOXY as it happened!

I also think that our business name helped me get on Mary Portas’ Secret Shopper when she tried to makeover a car dealership in Aylesbury and ended up nailing a FOXY Lady Approved certificate on the wall at the end of the programme.

Thank you Mary. From one FOXY Lady to another.


Bentley heads off the motoring track, into global boardrooms

Bentley_Continental_GTC_011I was always taught that the last resort strategy was diversification, especially when there was sales scope to sell more of your core product. Unless of course you can sell a new product to your existing customers, in which case it’s a bit less risky.

So I was fascinated to read where Bentley is taking its brand in 2014 – from its stunningly beautiful luxury cars into luxury home and executive furniture.

So for others with a love of curious strategic plans, including MBA students of course, here is a classic case study for you to chew over.

Where Bentley is at in 2013

Bentley Motors’ headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s three model lines, Continental, Flying Spur and Mulsanne.

The combination of fine craftsmanship, engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands, not just Bentley.

However Bentley is a great example of high-value British manufacturing at its best, employing around 3,700 people at Crewe. In 2013 one in every four luxury cars delivered to customers worldwide was a Bentley representing 10,120 cars and an impressive 19% growth over 2012.

The Americas remain Bentley’s most successful sales region, followed by China and then Europe.

We’re talking about a mind boggling global operation servicing 200 dealerships in 54 countries.

Where Bentley is heading in 2014

BE Minster Sofa

In addition to its core automotive business Bentley Motors is now diversifying into luxury home and executive furniture after a trial collection was successful in 2013. This has now been extended, designed and manufactured in collaboration with Luxury Living Group, one of Europe’s leading furniture makers based in Italy.

Subtle, functional, comfortable and luxurious furniture we’re told it oozes sensual quality. If so, this paragraph from their recent Press Release may not do this sufficient justice in my opinion.

“The combinations exalt the use of tactile leather and sensuous textiles. Hints of male attire, pinstripe or houndstooth, are introduced into sophisticated velvets and the lightest of cashmeres, crafted with three-dimensional patterns. Utilised in the upholstery, they are also woven as novel and precious carpets – hand-knotted, made of fine wools, silk or pashmina – as well as refined blankets hemmed in mink. Finely crafted leather upholstery – with its signature quilted diamond pattern or elegant padded texture – further enhances the collection’s pieces.”

Clearly this is a bold strategic move as Kevin Rose, Bentley’s Sales & Marketing Director explains…

“The Home Collection embodies Bentley’s emergence as a modern high luxury brand. It combines sophisticated materials with contemporary design and the ultimate in bespoke craftsmanship. This is an exciting development which captures the shared values of Bentley and Luxury Living, with unrivalled attention to detail and a stunning translation of the timeless style of the brand into home and executive suite interiors.”

Bentley’s luxury furniture range

The range is now on display at the Maison & Objet Fair in Paris and comprises the following pieces, described by Bentley not me.

Harmonious shapes and flowing lines are highlighted through the subtle proportions of the arms with their unique curve. Available in leather or fabric, the body and seat come in distinguished purple-red velvet matched with burgundy velvet piping along the edges.

BE Butterfly Armchair front

Butterfly, the new system made up of sofa and armchair, masterfully interprets Bentley’s style values. The deep, plush seat is encased in a shell quilted with Bentley’s iconic diamond pattern. The geometry of its side neatly reaches outward, providing a contemporary touch that reflects is cosy yet dynamic form. The sofa is in distinguished ivory leather and the armchair in pinstriped fabric, quilted in fine, grey wool.

The Richmond bed exemplifies the supple elements and stylistic principles characteristic of the line. Unrivalled comfort is created by its roomy design in which the masterfully crafted materials play a prime role. The unique and elegant double shell – covered in quilted leather or precious briar root – encompasses the headboard lined with iridescent sand-coloured satin wool. The finish is enhanced by the finely embroidered Bentley logo.

The Ambassador sideboard is shaped in line with modern architectural themes in a majestic design highlighting its elegance and originality. The supple expressiveness of its steel gun-metal structure, matches perfectly the fullness of the container module covered with lava-coloured leather, briar root or Ebony Macassar veneering.

Harlow is the reinterpretation of the iconic film director’s chair, with a sophisticated and firm structure. The linear steel gun-metal base upholds the seating, made of cognac-coloured leather with a tufted manufacturing process in the internal part. The metal buckles with leather bands applied on the armrests references typical masculine style points.

Clearly the early test collection was successful, Bentley employs expert craftsmen in this area and this range is a masculine one so not marketed at women or those who can’t afford to buy a Bentley like me. So I’m a bit baffled by this sideline if I’m honest. But to reflect its ‘to die for’ automotive brand values I’d have expected Bentley to employ more inspirational photography, at least, as part of their marketing campaign to make me want to own a piece one day…

As is, their latest Press Release doesn’t shout Bentley elegance to me but as I’m not a furniture marketer I’ll watch their progress with interest during 2014.


PS: How I’d love to see the research confirming the price these Bentley branded pieces of furniture will command in (male) Boardroom suites in China and the Middle East.

Heidi reaches a new high in Skoda

Skoda's Heidi Cartledge gets Head of Marketing jobHeidi Cartledge has been promoted to head of marketing at Škoda UK after a competitive recruitment process involving strong external candidates. Having held the role of national communications manager for the brand in 2010 no wonder she was so well placed to take on all Škoda brand and product marketing communications including media planning and buying, advertising, digital, retailer support, events and sponsorship.

Heidi started her marketing career with Royal Mail, moving on to an advertising agency and then to Volkswagen in 2003 as marketing communications manager before her move to Skoda.

She was responsible for overseeing Škoda UK’s biggest-ever marketing campaign; to produce the new version of the famous ‘Cake’ TV ad to launch the new Fabia vRS.

Škoda has committed to major growth plans in the UK during the next three years involving significant investment in marketing and brand communications. Robert Hazelwood, Škoda UK director, said: “We will be spending more to promote the Škoda brand in 2011 than any previous year in Škoda UK’s history.”

It’s encouraging to see a manufacturer leading others with such confidence in these difficult economic times. And to promote a female who has obvously got the drive to get to the top. Heidi you are a great role model for other female marketers to emulate and a likely force to be reckoned on when it comes to marketing to women.


Find out here which FOXY Choice approved female friendly garages and dealerships employ Female Business Ambassadors in customer facing roles.