Do you have mega bucks to burn?

I have just received a quote via a client for design work for £23k – granted it will deliver the logo, packaging design, artwork and a basic website but can it be done more cheaply and just as efficiently for a similar price? Another client is paying £1200 a month for PR which is £14k per year – at a net profit of 5% for the company that PR would need to generate incremental £280k to cover its costs.

So how do we avoid burning cash when researching new products, designing our brands or promoting them? Well here’s my top 5 suggestions for saving money:

  1. Size of market assessment for category reviews

Did you know that the British library holds thousands of reports that you can access for free such as Mintel which covers most food markets and has a myriad of data on the size of market, who is the consumer, competitors etc. You do have to physically go to the library which is next to St Pancras station but do the maths – pay £3500 for a report or buy an off peak train ticket and go do your own!

Here’s the link –

  1. Do your own market testing

Last year, I was asked by a major UK produce company to write a category strategy for Tesco Czech and Slovakia. They were not happy with the research they had already commissioned so we did it ourselves. Wrote the brief, set up the camera and recorded our own focus groups! And it worked really well. I have also done at fixture research asking customers what they thought of products – you do need to get permission from the retailer to do this though!

If you have a bit more money to spare, Tessa Stuart ( will do it for you so worth checking her out. Or for testing prices, brand concepts or consumer reactions with over 30000 UK consumers, VYPR is a great method. They have tied up with Grocery accelerator to offer a great deal on research – hop over to the website – or give me a ring and I can explain more how it works

  1. Reasonably price design work

I have a client who used 99 designs ( who did all her design and artwork for £700. It does need a decent design brief to ensure you get what you need – I have a template if you need one so just email me!

I also did my current website for £350 – I have to be honest it did take a lot of time investment from me and a very clear vision on what I wanted but I am really pleased with the result – I found my web designer on

  1. Cost efficient PR

There are a few ways to get to save money on PR. I have signed up to which is free for the basic package. You specify the areas you are interested in and then you get emails when a journalist is looking for info on your specific product or topic. You can also try out Smoothie PR from Charlotte Moore who focuses on reactive PR and sends out a list everyday of food specific journo requests and is very proactive in supporting her Smoothies – She charges £49 a month but worth trying it out and seeing if it works for you

  1. Get help for free or at least subsidised

I often joke if you are looking for help with technical stuff – get a young person! Well at risk of being ageist (ok I was and not all students are young!), many unis are looking for companies to take on their students either for a year’s placement or during the summer. I did it at ichiban and we had Otis for two years and he was amazing, doing all our admin, running social media and helping with exhibitions etc.   Some of the summer interns come for free, are subsidised or you pay the living wage. Its well worth approaching your local uni and seeing what they have to offer.

If they offer food science, they can also help with research, innovation etc

Which leads me to the BONUS point

  1. R&D tax credits

If you have worked on innovation or new product development, you may be entitled to claim all that cash back against tax. Have a look at the government website –

This is a complex area and worth finding someone to make the claim for you – most companies do it on a “no win, no fee” basis so doesn’t cost you money up front

So there you have it, some of my top tips for ensuring you don’t spend mega bucks on launching your product, promoting it or doing your category reviews!!


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