photograph 'The Kings Speech' - Will King at latest alumni branch event


In a fantastic start to the 2012 Convocation Weekend, the North East Alumni Branch of the Business School were delighted to welcome international entrepreneur Will King to the Business School on June 14th.

Over the course of the evening, Will took us through the establishment of the King of Shaves brand, which started when he discovered that using his girlfriend’s bath oil eliminated irritation from shaving. If it worked for him, surely it would work for others, too? What started as a kitchen business soon broke into Harrods, and despite making a significant loss in year one, has gone on to become a multi-million pound internationally recognised brand, taking on the big players in a very competitive market.

Throughout the evening, King stressed the importance of great customer care: being a tangible, ‘real’ and responsive brand that ‘gets’ their customer base. The brand’s use of viral marketing, sponsorship of athletes, marketing deals with major footballers, and adoption of social media, have kept the brand directly in the line of site of their customers, developing a strong image of a brand that’s moving with the times and dramatically enhancing the male grooming industry.

By being a likeable and personable brand, King of Shaves were given preferential positioning on store shelves. When competitors paid to take those positions, customers complained that their favoured products had been relocated. The personal service behind the product has achieved great support from both the retailers and the end users – quite a feat!

Will also championed maintaining a ‘healthy sense of paranoia’ as, in business, anything can happen, both good and bad. In the eye of the market storm it can be a little easier to control what’s going on around you, but if you slip slightly outside that position of comfort, you can very quickly find yourself blown up. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and any potential imminent threats.

Since first being established, the King of Shaves brand has continued to innovate and expand its offerings in response to the market, establishing itself as a key global competitor, during a time when confidence in international markets is not at its strongest. The brand promises to continue to go from strength to strength with more great new products on the horizon.

After Will’s presentation there were further opportunities for attendees to network with classmates, other alumni, and members of the local business community.

Thanks to Liz Hardy, BA (Hons) Business Management 2010 graduate and North East Alumni branch committee member for this event report.

The branch's next event will be in October so watch out for promotional material coming soon, and don't miss out on your chance to attend. Also, as usual, December will be the month that we hold our annual wine tasting event. If you haven't attended before, where have you been?! We had over 80 attendees last year, it is big and a growing annual event!


Photos of the Will King event>

Video of the Will King event > (coming soon)

The Will King event was part of this year's Convocation Weekend, an annual event to welcome back Newcastle University graduates from all over the world. Join in next year if you couldn't make this years fantastic celebrations. CW13>

Take a look at the global alumni programme of the Business School and how to get involved>

published on: 11th July 2012