Richard Reed on sustaining a company ethos at Innocent Drinks [Video]

Innocent's co-founder talks about the changes in the business' culture

Healthy fruit juice brand Innocent Drinks is one of the UK’s biggest business success stories and Innocent co-founder Richard Reed says that although the company has scaled rapidly, it has always been important that the smoothie business maintains its company ethos.

Speaking at Innocent’s headquarters Fruit Towers in 2011, Reed explains how Innocent’s business culture “doesn’t feel in the slightest bit different” to when they started in 2001. Recognising that this makes him “sound ridiculous because [Innocent’s] gone from zero to £100m turnover in 10 years”, Reeds says that the company ethos feels “in terms of the way that we act or behave, very very similar”.

Discussing how Innocent’s business values “have never changed and have never been up for negotiation”, entrepreneur Reed says that the Innocent team still cares about “keeping things natural and healthy, having an entrepreneurial vibe about the company, being generous where we can, being commercial because we’re a business but also being responsible in terms of the way that we do things”.

In fact, Reed actually believes that growth has enabled Innocent to adhere more closely to its values and that by “being allowed to do things slightly better”, they’ve “got a bit more time and a bit more resource and a bit more experience”.

Explaining how Innocent’s business success has allowed it to develop its company ethos, Reed adds: “now we’ve got a certain amount of cache in the market and, more importantly, dollar to spend, it means you have a better conversation” in contrast to when the founding team were seen as “just some idiots no one had ever heard of”.

Sustaining its company ethos as Innocent has scaled has meant that Reed and the Innocent founders can “afford a team of agronomists, sustainability experts, food quality experts to go into the field and work with the farmers teaching a better way of growing”.

Success has also allowed Innocent to expand its reach to other countries and fund non-government organisations overseas to “teach people how you don’t need to use that artificial fertiliser, you can use the banana skins and lime as a natural way of increasing your crop yield”.

Outlining how other businesses should sustain their company ethos, Reed comments:

“There’s all these incredible, simple things that you can do to become even more innocent and that comes with growth and achieving business success because then you have more resource to focus on the things that you care about.”

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