Posted: Wed 25th Jan 2023
The new Brand Builder programme is a partnership between Enterprise Nation and Adobe Express, launched to help small and medium-sized businesses take their design skills to the next level.
The Brand Builder hub is for small business owners like you to learn how to craft interactive designs for your marketing. With access to a range of content – including e-learning, blog posts and success stories of other businesses – you'll quickly find out how to drive engagement and sales through your visual marketing.
To inspire you, we're catching up with some of the business owners who took part in the previous Adobe programme, Small Business Goes Big, to find out how using Adobe Express for marketing, branding and design has benefited them so far.
Here, we talk to Rushina Shah (founder of Insane Grain) and Matt Dyson (co-founder of Rockit). The pair share their key lessons from the campaign and discuss why small businesses should incorporate Adobe Express into their own design work.
Rushina's business Insane Grain was born after she saw her aunt popping a super grain called sorghum in the kitchen. She'd known about it from childhood but didn't realise how nutritionally amazing it was, or that it could be made into a snack.
She'd already recognised that there was a huge obesity crisis in the UK, driven by people not always having access to healthy options. So in her kitchen, Rushina produced a batch of snacks made from sorghum, sent them for nutritional testing and found they had far better micro-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and gut-health benefits than any other snacks on the market.
Insane Grain is now stocked in over 2,000 stocking points, including Co-op and Ocado, and has several other retailers going live over the next few months.
Matt's business Rockit originated from an invention by his co-founder Nick Webb. Nick's three-month-old daughter Abby wouldn't sleep in her pushchair. One evening, he had a lightbulb moment and took an old printer apart, salvaged the motor and soldered together a bunch of components.
The resulting prototype worked, and the very next day Abby remained asleep, even when the pushchair stopped moving. From there, Matt set about working on the design, branding and prototyping to help turn the idea into a commercial product.
They launched the business with their first product, a portable baby rocker that fits any pram or stroller and gently rocks to soothe babies to sleep. Since then, the pair have gone on to help well over 300,000 babies worldwide to sleep.
Starting a new business is incredibly challenging, and new business owners don't always possess all the skills they need to oversee every aspect of the venture.
Rushina required particular support with sourcing a manufacturer who not only could produce their range at scale but believed in them as a challenger brand. She also needed to secure funding so she'd have the capital to launch the business.
As she points out, raising investment as a female founder can be a struggle, as shown by the Alison Rose Review – only 2.3% of all venture capital-led funding goes towards female entrepreneurs. But, Rushina emphasises, if women had a level playing field and if the gender gap was closed, it would generate £250 billion more for the UK economy!
With Rockit, Matt had no previous experience in bringing a product to market so sought support in all aspects, from finding manufacturers, copyrighting their product, and preparing for export, marketing and sales.
He and his team managed to secure a place on the Design Council Spark accelerator programme, which specialised in supporting start-ups with physical rather than digital products. They received plenty of mentoring along the way and went on to win the Design Council Spark Award, which meant they could fund patents and tooling for their first production run.
Having learned of Adobe's Small Business Goes Big campaign through an Enterprise Nation newsletter, Rushina says she applied in order to find smart ways to drive mass awareness of her brand that wouldn't cost too much.
The programme allowed Rushina and her team to get in front of lots of people via the public billboards. It also put them on a level playing field with corporates that have big budgets to spend on similar out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns.
Matt calls the Small Business Goes Big competition a fantastic opportunity to see his product on digital screens up and down the UK, and says the billboards created a great buzz around the Rockit brand.
Once she'd decided to apply to the competition, Rushina was keen to give Adobe Express a try. In her mind, it looked really intuitive and meant she could take the lead rather than relying on someone else to do it.
As a business founder, she's extremely busy, so anything that allows her to save time is vital. She found Adobe Express really easy to use, and was shocked that she'd managed to put a creative ad together that would later be shown on billboards around the country!
Since that first attempt at design, Rushina has used Adobe Express to put together magazine ads, online banner ads and lots more.
Matt learned of the Small Business Goes Big the same way, via an email from Enterprise Nation. However, with the competition deadline looming, he was worried he wouldn't have time to prepare artwork on that particular day.
Undeterred, he downloaded a trial version of Adobe Express and was surprised that he'd been able to put an advert together in just 20 minutes. The app, he says, was incredibly straightforward to use with well-designed templates that he could easily adapt to meet Rockit's brand guidelines.
Entering and winning the competition – and being featured on billboards across the UK – has helped Rushina and Insane Grain drive awareness of the brand. The company's marketing budget is small, making out-of-home (OOH) advertising campaigns unaffordable.
The programme has allowed Rushina to test OOH to see if it's the right marketing platform for the business. She tagged her billboards to mention "now available at Co-op", which meant their buyer could see how much support the business was putting behind its launch. By coincidence, Insane Grain launched on the exact same day as the billboards went live.
Matt too found that the campaign was great for building brand awareness. Rockit received lots of PR off the back of it, including coverage on BBC radio and features in blogs and articles. As he focuses most of the company's marketing budget on social media, it was a great way to test OOH, and Matt is keen to try it again with future promotions.
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