Claire Harper
Keynote speaker: BIRA High Street Conference - Creating a Stronger Future Together

I was delighted to be a keynote speaker at the bira High Street Conference in May 2016. The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is a world class trade association that exceeds its members’ expectations, represents good value and which makes such a difference to its members’ businesses that membership is essential.

The British Independent Retailers Association (bira) is the voice of independent retailers. They are the leading trade association for independent retailers in the UK with the aim to provide first class support, business services and specialist representation to their members. Representing thousands of members across the UK from single retail outlets to small chains, dealers, suppliers, manufacturers and distributors they are strongly committed to championing the independents.

The key theme of the conference was to 'Create a Stronger Future Together' and we all know brands have to continually evolve and change in response to the challenging retail world. In a highly competitive market, independent retailers have to stay one step ahead.

Drawing on my own multi-channel retail experience I shared my own story on why customer service should be at the very heart of any organisation. I have worked for some of the the UK's leading retail brands, including Argos, Ocado, Sainsbury's and Mamas & Papas. Through my inspirational journey from corporate marketer to running my own independent business I was able to share my learnings gleaned from implementing innovation and cultural change in influential and progressive brands. I'm hugely committed and passionate about sharing my expertise with organisations such as bira, whether it's best practice in retail, change management, branding, customer service, coaching or leadership.

The response and feedback from the audience on the day and post conference was extremely positive and some of my key messages such as 'keep it simple', 'customer service is the heartbeat of your brand,' 'create a positive culture,' 'be passionate about what you do' and 'deliver best-in-class service' have been personally communicated back to me via social media on Twitter @claire_harper1 and Linked In. This proves that we all need to embrace social media and be socially engaging. A successful customer experience must be reflected through every touch point of a brand.

In summary we concluded that today's customers are demanding and savvy; not only do they demand an instant response, they expect that interaction needs to be exceptional if their loyalty is to be retained or developed. Using social platforms that can help your businesses build trusted relationships between customers and the brand, is key to retaining competitive advantage.

The conference was a fantastic platform to network, meet like minded individuals and I certainly left feeling motivated and inspired. A very exciting and valuable event for all hard working independent retailers and suppliers. I'm confident by meeting many retailers, suppliers and other guest speakers everyone is fired up to 'Create a Stronger Future Together'.

Thank you to bira for inviting me to be part of your High Street Conference 2016.

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The BRC Retail Symposium 2016

17th May 2016 • CLAIRE HARPER

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I was delighted to be invited by the British Retail Consortium to be a keynote speaker and a member of a leading panel discussion at The Retail Symposium at The Brewery in London on the 11 May 2016. This event is firmly established within the retail calendar as the place to hear from retail's leading names sharing expertise and invaluable advice. There was a powerful programme of inspirational speakers who really made you feel energised to explore the future shape of our dynamic and exciting retail industry. The retail landscape is constantly changing. Recent research from KPMG and Nunwood suggests we are in a new era of experience branding and competing in tomorrow's world means embracing best practices today. My own keynote focused on change management and leadership. I am very passionate to articulate why leading from the front, embracing change, developing talent and empowering colleagues is a good and proven recipe for achieving success with a highly motivated, positive and energetic team. I always draw on my own skills and personal experiences running a business but also in my former roles for Mamas & Papas, Sainsburys, Ocado and Argos. After my keynote speech I was delighted to be joined by Fiona Lambert, Former Vice President - Brand Design and Development, ASDA and Hash Ladha, Chief Operating Officer, OASIS & WAREHOUSE. The panel was chaired by Eric Musgrave, Fashion Industry Consultant. We spoke openly and honestly about developing tomorrow's retail leaders and developing the skillsets for future retail employment. The debate and conversation was engaging, positive and generated some great Q&A's from the audience. A hugely valuable day of learning and listening and spending time with dynamic and inspirational retail leaders.

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© 2022 Claire Harper