Alex Haddon and Suzanne Bolinder tell us how they met through the Chamber and how they still collaborate 10 years later.
Suzanne Bolinder joined the Chamber with her business Consido in 1999, offering specialist relocation services to foreigners looking for residential property in London’s top postcodes. Alex Haddon joined slightly earlier in 1998, on the recommendation of her father, having just set up IC Design – a branding and design agency.
“I knew I needed to build lasting business relationships rather than focus on temporary ones. That’s where the Chamber came in. It was natural for me to join the network since it’s here that Swedish and British businesses meet and connect,” comments Suzanne. Alex didn’t know much about the organisation at the time but quickly realised that it was an ideal place to meet new clients, partners and suppliers.
Connecting through a common acquaintance Alex and Suzanne met just over ten years ago and were introduced to each other at one of the Chamber’s networking events by a common acquaintance. Both were also getting involved on the Council and Committees at this stage which provided additional opportunities to connect and talk about their businesses. Alex thinks this is a real added benefit of long term membership: “It is very useful to me to have a network where you get to know people over a longer period of time as it provides informal business support and advice that you can easily tap into”.
The first project
Their first collaboration came about when Suzanne asked Alex if she could do an audit of the current Consido website. This developed into a repositioning of the Consido brand as
Alex guided Suzanne through a process of capitalising on the values and benefits of
the brand. “I can still remember when Alex brought her mood boards and showed me
a whole new way of looking at the Consido brand, it really opened my eyes to the possibilities,” says Suzanne.
“Having someone like Alex come from outside and take the time to really understand my
business was invaluable. It almost felt like Alex knew more about my business than I did
at the time and she helped me realise what it could become.”
Alex spotted the missed opportunities with Suzanne’s brand. “I get really excited when
you can transform someone’s brand and it makes such a big difference instantly like we
did for Consido”, she says. “Getting to know Suzanne was the first step. The second was
taking a more in-depth look at the client profile to guide where the positioning of Consido should sit. After that, we began to create the marketing collateral and moved Consido forward.”
Since then, Consido has undergone another brand refresh in 2018 and they continue to work together as Alex advises on all aspects of Consido’s brand communication.This has also built trust and a genuine friendship over the years. “When I arrive at an event, I often scan the room for Suzanne as we have such fun catching up – and not always talking business!”
They both agree that the trust that is built up over time between people who network and collaborate is key to mutually successful business relationships. “I can call Alex with ideas about my brand, and very quickly, Alex would have a suggestion on how to move forward. I think I’ve implemented every suggestion she has made,” Suzanne says. This working relationship means there is a great amount of support for each other in the network too “Because I know exactly how Suzanne works and her client profile, I can easily identify people who may need Consido’s help with relocation and make an introduction to Suzanne”, says Alex.
Advice to members
According to them both, finding the right connections is the first step to building successful
business relationships. “You need to get out there and meet people in your network. The
Chamber has been a great forum for me to do that. The spectrum of people you can meet is enormous,” Suzanne says. The second step is to nurture those connections. “My advice is to be open, generous and kind to people in your network. Share your own network with new people that you meet. Since the UK market is competitive, building trust takes time and effort, but it is worth it,” Alex says. “The Swedish Chamber is a high-quality organisation, perfect for building those kinds of relationships.”