News & Views

In the Hot Seat with new Partner Phil Gripton: Waypoint’s Northern Star

by Jenna Offerdahl
2nd July 2018
In the Hot Seat with new Partner Phil Gripton: Waypoint’s Northern Star, post image

This week we welcome Phil Gripton, our new Partner who will look after clients across the north of England and Scotland.

Phil joins us with 26 years’ experience, having led and optimised multiple businesses; both agency and client side. This is an exciting opportunity for Waypoint Partners as Phil brings a unique wealth of expertise and perspective from being operator, provider and buyer of a wide range of creative, tech and digital services.

1) Welcome to the team Phil! It is great to have you join us, thank you for joining me in the ‘Waypoint Hot Seat’ this month… You have had a very interesting career. What excites you within your work and what are you most excited by being Waypoint’s newest Partner?

I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in some really exciting and interesting challenges through my career completing a number of turnarounds, quite a few realignments and thankfully some explosive growth opportunities too.

All of those have involved working with some amazing people, both colleagues and customers, and I think it’s the people interaction that makes the work most enjoyable. I’ve worked with and led many successful teams over the years and I am very proud of the things we achieved together.

I’ve been part of and developed some fantastic teams of people who have taken on the challenges we faced and applied creativity and ingenuity to resolve them in a way that worked well for them and their customers. What really excites me is when I’m working with a team who have difficult problems to overcome, in challenging market conditions and need to do them in short timescales in an authentic and challenging way. That sort of environment brings out the best in me and the teams, bringing bold and brave optimised solutions to the table that challenge the industry norms. I love finding the angle that no other team has thought of and making it a reality.

At Waypoint, I’m most excited about having the opportunity to share my experiences from my career thus far with my clients, helping them overcome their difficult challenges and making their businesses more successful.

2) One of your specialties is optimizing businesses both agency and client side. What are the most common challenges clients face and what are your top 3 tips to drive business profitability/ productivity?

For me there are some key fundamentals to being successful: you have to be able to sell your products or services, then deliver them with great customer experience and of course make some profit from doing so. In my experience, it’s harder than most people think to do all three really well and hence too many rely on having a great product and hope that it will sell itself and people will keep it because they love it. That doesn’t tend to happen too often.

My top three tips to drive business productivity and profitability are:

  • Focus on putting great value-based selling as part of the backbone of your organisation. Be an expert.
  • When you think it’s all going really well – go and look at the business again from another angle and work to find the inefficiencies and wastage. Look up and downstream and find the things that are costing you or losing you money. Optimise them and improve your customer experience alongside your profitability. Be creative and be daring.
  • Be authentic. People like people who tell the truth, do good things, stand up for what they represent and work hard to deliver great things to them. It’s hard work but it pays back in the long run.

3) In your 26 years working in the business, what do you think have been the biggest changes and have these changes affected the work you do?

Clearly, technology and the internet have developed at an eye-watering pace across my time working from the early 1990s. That’s fundamentally changed everything we do.

For me, technology has been an enabler, allowing us to move faster, be more productive and bring insights to allow us to make better, stronger more confident decisions. Mobile communication has created an ‘always-on’ way of living. This has made customers more informed, more demanding and much less passive, which has created an opportunity for ingenious people who can think about problems from a different perspective and conceive great ideas which allow them to punch above their weight. There’s nothing I love better than setting the pace and eating the lunch of the big guy who hasn’t embraced the new world and can’t do what we do.

4) What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years and what should companies be thinking about?

Customers will be more empowered and educated to make informed choices. Small specialist digital providers will take market share from huge traditional businesses at an increasing pace, and authentic brands and cultures will be more successful as consumers demand more personality and ethics from the companies they engage with.

If you can shape your business to do some good, do it well and do it in a way that is good for the people who work with you then I think having those things as guiding principles will help you prosper.

5) Lastly, you look after the North. What areas are you covering and what types of businesses are you looking to speak with?

The North for Waypoint means you draw a line from North Wales to Hull and then everything up from there is our focus.

I will spend time in the major cities where there are exciting developments in the tech space (software, SAAS, digital platforms, ad/ed/fin tech) creative and digital agencies and digital retailers. There is a great deal of momentum in the North and I’m looking forward to assisting those businesses here to more success in the future.

Follow Phil on Linkedin

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