What are the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise?<br />The Queen's Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards that any UK business can win. The categories are are Innovation, International Trade and Sustainable Development. <br />The awards are made annually by HM The Queen, and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category. They are judged to a demanding level and winners receive a number of benefits and worldwide recognition. Previous corporate winners have come from a diverse selection of business sectors and have included large and small businesses. Recipients of the individual award have been from varied social and professional backgrounds.<br />
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise – Innovation 2001<br />The Queen's Awards for Enterprise – Innovation was awarded to Debenhams Plc in 2001 in recognition for its transformation of the Wedding Service business through its innovative use of e-commerce technology, thereby enhancing customer service and producing incremental sales.<br />The offering was recognised as leading edge at the time, as Debenhams was the first UK retailer to launch a fully integrated & transactional Weddings e-commerce and multi-channel proposition for its customers.<br />PR:<br />
This was a team effort which I am immensely proud of.<br />In 1997, when I was implementing electronic trading with suppliers on behalf of Debenhams & Arcadia groups (formerly the Burton Group), a Debenhams Board Director approached me at Head Office to become the Business Analyst for their Wedding Service. The compelling reason? Debenhams Wedding Service were being ‘featured’ for the wrong reasons in BBC Watchdog, thus creating negative PR. Something had to be done – effectively and fast!<br />What part did I play in this?<br />
I accepted and carried out a study of what was going on operationally in stores and at Head Office. I then presented my findings and proposals for improvement to the Board. A series of systems enhancements were implemented which vastly improved the performance of Debenhams Wedding Service.<br />My responsibilities were increased through promotions, including heading up the multi-channel call centres, as Business Manager, and representing Debenhams at the IMRG (Interactive Retail in Media Group) – Please see a recommendation from James Roper, CEO at the IMRG, in my LinkedIn profile<br />In 1999, I was appointed to head the customer service and multi channel aspect of a 30 strong e-Commerce division. Through sheer hard work, dedication and innovative thought leadership, we transformed not only how Debenhams operated its Wedding Service, we also became UK market leaders and had THE transactional and multi-channel website www.debenhams.comwhich our competitors could only aspire to.<br />What we implemented was considered so innovative that Debenhams were awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise – Innovation in 2001. We also became Retail Week’s Retailer of the Year.<br />What part did I play in this?<br />
…and today?<br />As a Social Media and Networking Professional today, I’m a firm believer that competition is healthy and it’s what keeps all of us on our toes. So my point here is: When you choose a Social Media or Networking ‘Expert’, ask them a series of questions. To help, some may be…<br />What are their credentials and what have they achieved for their customers? <br />Check if they practice what they preach. (There’s a lot of ‘preaching’ out there! The fantastic thing about social media is that it’s incredibly transparent!<br /><ul><li>So, if they say they use LinkedIn, for example…What’s their profile like?
What recommendations do they have? Are they ‘bunched together?’ (If they are, that’s a strong indication they were asked for, not necessarily earned!)
Are they active? – i.e: What have they contributed to show value add for their fellow networkers?
Are they considered thought leaders in what they do? Check out some of the groups they are part of – or even lead. Are they active, or simply passive? The point here is: If they can’t even help themselves, how on earth do they think they are going to help you?! ;-)
What were they doing before that relates to social media today?
What training have they completed and with whom?
Were they ‘vetted’ when they decided to embark on a social media or networking profession? If so, by whom and how?</li></li></ul><li>At a recent business networking event , someone asked me a direct and great question: “John, what makes you stand out from the rest of the social media specialists?” I simply replied – “Try to find a social media ‘expert’ in my industry who has an award winning e-commerce background.“Did I mention the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise? Sure I did! <br />In business it’s incredibly important to have some Unique Selling Points. (Or even Unique Buying Points, from the customer’s perspective). This is one of mine.<br />I’m a firm believer of ‘earning my stripes’, that’s how I was brought up and that’s what motivates me. How else can I effectively gain anyone’s confidence? These things don’t come by luck and to assure anyone who may be interested in what I have to offer, I have a consistent record of achievements resulting in a number of other awardsboth as a customer and as a supplier. (Please see my LinkedIn profile to discover what they are: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/networkerplusRather than hide them, I use them to provide my prospective customers that they are making a right choice in engaging me.<br />Why John Coupland?<br />
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Feel free to get in touch if I may help you in any way. <br />As a gesture of my appreciation, please visit my Facebook Page and help yourself to some complimentary social media & networking tips: www.facebook.com/networkerplus<br />Please also feel free to request a connection on Facebook, LinkedIn&Twittertoo! ;-) <br />Have a very successful 2011.<br />Thank you<br />