- great stuff by smart students -


Be Cheeky!

Posted on May 17, 2016

 I've often heard that it's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.  This is not entirely true…or even optional in certain industries. I’ll have people appr ...

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Big trends in little Northants


Posted by Ben on Jul 31, 2015


When I think of fashion, I conjur up an image of a Christy Turlington or Kate Moss figures boshing down the Milan catwalk wearing an outfit resembling a road kill wrapped in a curtain. I wouldn't be seen dead in half the clothes I see in these environments and as such I feel pretty disenfranchised by the sector and have had no interest in it what so ever. 

Yet despite this separation between the fashion sector and my sad middle aged existence, the more experience I get in marketing and business, the more I realise that fashion cycles invade every area of business in every sector. Obviously not necessarily in relation to clothing, but the cycle of cultural selection and trends is absolutely vital to anyone wanting their service or product to be the next big thing.

So how does it work? There are some who have claimed that trends and fashions are like a virus, spreading throughout cultures like organisms, but that theory is pretty problematic as it assumes that all hosts and infectors are equal and increase popularity equally. The other suggestion is that cultural selection is a purposefully planned act by marketers. Through the engineering of TV, movies, music videos and celebrity activity, it shapes our behaviour and these opinion leaders and hot property stars act as proof of social acceptance of a trend even just by association. Try saying that twice!

So how does this work on a local level then? Should the local jewellers pay for the mayor to wear a new diamond necklace whilst out and about? Or maybe the local coffee shop can get the Herald and Post to take a picture of the police and crime commissioner having a Latte! Maybe, the high sheriffs wife could trial a new dog grooming service? 

Can you see that it can still work but it isn't going to viral like a trend. It seems like these massive brands get massive because of one thing- money. So can it be achieved on a local level with low budgets?

I appreciate I'm playing devils advocate here, but actually some of the cleverest brands suffered the same problem, so they created their own opinion leaders and endorsers. If you've ever checked out "Will it blend" or The Dollar Shave Club's "Our blades are f***ing great" on Youtube, you'll know what I mean.

If you are brave and fearsome and have desire to turn your brand into a trend then remember the following-

  1. We are more likely to do things if we see people we like or aspire to be doing them, even locally. Just dont expect a huge return.
  2. Provide your customers with evidence of its awesomeness from the mouth of an opinion leader, innovator or celebrity...even if you create your own.
  3. Consider how you take the attributes from a group, person, or trend and facilitate an association with your brand in people's minds.
  4. Do think locally before nationally, unless your budget says otherwise.


Would you like to help businesses and develop key skills?

Posted on Jun 23, 2017

Summer is here and we are looking for new talent to join our passionate team of student consultants!

An innovative and unique service, Raptor Student Consultancy provides students opportunities to work on projects and help businesses, charities and community organisations.

Students work in teams to address a business problem or deliver a particular service for a client organisation. Whatever your career plans you can benefit from taking part. Raptor will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Contribute to the local community and gain solid work experience
  • Tackle strategic problems by offering assistance in areas such as market researchdigitalmarketing and other business services
  •  Boost key employability skills such as team working, self-management, problem solving and communication
  • Gain an awareness of the commercial, behavioural and social contexts of professional environments
  • Earn money!

If you are a current student or a recent graduate looking to gain some experience, earn money and succeed, then this platform is for you.


To apply please register and email CV’s to raptor@northampton.ac.uk

FREE Marketing Review for the Month of July

Posted on Jun 23, 2017

We like to help you as much as possible, here at Raptor, and for the month of July, we are offering FREE insight into your business marketing needs. The Raptor Marketing Review consists of a face-to-face consultation where we take you through a specially designed questionnaire to gain a thorough understanding of your business and its marketing needs. We look at everything you are currently doing on your chosen marketing channels and review it! Following the consultation, we prepare a report covering:

  • Company goals

  • Current marketing activity overview and results

  • Target market/audience

  • Current marketing activity assessment

  • Recommended changes

  • Website

  • healthcheck

If you would like to take advantage of our free reviews GET IN TOUCH

Students use their consultancy skills to shake up a local business

Posted on Nov 07, 2016

During the last term Raptor Consultancy was involved in a number of projects, our student teams were engaged in supporting businesses throughout Northamptonshire and beyond. One of the standout innovative projects involved delivering a Democracy Audit for the first time.

What is a “democracy audit” and why should it matter?

“Well, a democracy audit is an assessment of an organisation's internal democracy, and it should matter only to people with an interest in democracy”.

So said Martin Strube, a partner at Co-operative Solutions, a Northampton based co-operative partnership.

“Co-operators, community groups, voluntary organisations, trade unions, working men's clubs, charitable trusts.  All of these should have an interest in the quality of the democracy they are experiencing and how that quality might compare to similar groups and organisations.” 

Last term this audit formed the basis of a work experience module for students at the University of Northampton.  Four business studies students were engaged in running an audit at a locally based cooperative organisation. Guided by Martin and the Raptor Student Consultancy scheme, the students observed meetings, looked through archives, interviewed members, and generated reports. 

Meeting for the first time at the Library Café, Martin and the students quickly developed a rapport.  Martin introduced the concept and explained what he was trying to achieve:

“We are trialling a tool for comparing democracies and the efficiencies of those democracies.  We're looking at ways of making the comparisons empirical/numerical as well as anecdotal.”

Over a period of several weeks, Martin and the students observed meetings, interviewed staff, and ploughed through documentation. 

Arising out of this experience, they commented:

“It was great to be a part of building this new process and implementing in a real scenario. We were able to achieve the goal of measuring democracy within a commercial co-operative setting and providing fresh insights.”

Alex Fuentes added that “Thinking deeper about business processes and speaking with people at all levels are key aspects that I will look to apply during my career.”

Thu Nguyen stated “Raptor has been great for teamwork and working with organisations to learn some professional skills.”

The host organisation commented: “The whole team were amazing and we have truly benefitted from the whole experience. The results of the audit provided us with some insightful recommendations and we feel like we’re in a much more informed position moving forward. Thank you for all the hard work.” 


To hear more about the Democracy Audit, interested parties are invited to attend a regional co-operative conference and seminar being hosted by Northampton University on November the 9th.  Contact 01604 893570 for more details.