Having pivoted to delivering digital content since the pandemic in March 2020, B4 has seen the opportunity to expand a national digital network clearly come in to focus in the last six months, explains CEO, Richard Rosser.
“We always wanted to expand B4 beyond Oxfordshire, but with the magazine and live events as key parts of our offering historically, launching in another area would have required significant resources.”Richard Rosser, CEO at B4
The potential to expand digitally is attractive because we can build a digital network more efficiently and, we believe, more effectively than a traditional network comprising regular events. There is already a skeleton B4 national network of B4 Oxfordshire members with presence throughout the UK and that will form our foundation. We are now building on this with introductions from existing members and then, if we have capacity, opportunities for new members to join.”
B4’s quick adaptation to a new world was widely recognised by B4 members and the wider business community. Blenheim Palace’s CEO, Dominic Hare, was just one of the B4 members who heaped praise. “B4’s pivot to a digital platform has been nothing short of remarkable and should be a Harvard Business School case study. We’re proud to be part of B4 and fully supportive of the exciting national expansion.”
The national network, which soft launched in January, will see B4 build membership in 34 towns and cities across the UK. One key point about the membership is that it will be limited to just 100 members in each area, with a focus on attracting leading companies and experts from a wide range of sectors, as B4 have done in Oxfordshire. Rosser added, “We want to gradually build a network of B4 communities which reflect the expertise and diversity in each area. With a capped membership, the message is to get in touch as soon as possible if you want to secure your presence.”
Early supporters of the new national drive are long-standing B4 members Freeths Solicitors and Grant Thornton. Leon Arnold, National Head of Corporate at Freeths commented, “Bringing businesses together to connect plays an integral part in forging strong business relationships that ultimately lead to new work opportunities. Which is why we’ve always derived huge benefit from our association with B4 in Oxford and we’re excited to see Richard and the team set their sights on a national network. It was without hesitation that we agreed to bring all of our other thirteen locations into B4 and we’re looking forward to showcasing our colleagues’ specialisms from across the UK.”
“Bringing businesses together to connect plays an integral part in forging strong business relationships that ultimately lead to new work opportunities.”Leon Arnold, National Head of Corporate at Freeths
Grant Thornton’s Thames Valley Practice Leader, Jim Rogers, added. “We’re delighted to be supporting B4’s national expansion. For us in the Thames Valley, B4 are the ‘go to’ when we have news to distribute. Quick, professional and effective – what more can you ask for?”Jim Rogers, Thames Valley Practice Leader at Grant Thornton
New members will enjoy an extended membership of 18 months to allow for the network to grow and members to gain maximum benefit. The early signs are good with B4 members Oxford Innovation, Arlington and Ashmolean Museum also supportive of the move.
Elaine McKechnie, Business Development Director at Oxford Innovation said, “The team at B4 seem to know everyone in Oxfordshire! They never fail to put you in contact with someone useful. But, it is the individual service that really makes the difference to building our local network. We’re right behind the expansion.”
“The team at B4 seem to know everyone in Oxfordshire! They never fail to put you in contact with someone useful.”Elaine McKechnie, Business Development Director at Oxford Innovation
Dan Williams, Development Director at Oxford Business Park (Arlington), added, “B4 have been a huge support for Oxford Business Park with editorial, video and engagement with the wider business community in Oxfordshire. We’re excited to be partnering with B4 as they grow to new territories so that our other locations can enjoy the benefits of the growing B4 community.”
“We’re excited to be partnering with B4 as they grow to new territories so that our other locations can enjoy the benefits of the growing B4 community.”Dan Williams, Development Director at Oxford Business Park (Arlington)
Wendy Ball, Head of Events, Catering & Corporate Relations at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford commented.
“B4 have always sought to nurture a spirit of collaboration among its members. The national expansion plan means a wider and more diverse community to collaborate with!”Wendy Ball, Head of Events, Catering & Corporate Relations at the Ashmolean Museum
In addition to providing members with the platforms to showcase news, articles and video content across the B4 digital and social platforms, not to mention third party platforms such as Google and Apple News, a key part of B4’s new offering will be B4TV which will build up its delivery of regular programmes until its formal launch on June 29th, B4’s official 15th Anniversary. B4 members will be able to promote their expertise in short profile pieces and regular B4 Brunches where B4 Members will meet (virtually initially) to discuss key topics in the world, not just in business. B4TV will also be broadcasting content sourced from its new communities, starting with a focus on Cambridge in May.
The philosophy underpinning B4’s approach is minimum input for maximum output, as Rosser concludes. “We recognise that everyone is incredibly busy, especially now with so many other challenges running a business. B4 is designed to take the hassle out of promoting news by taking our members’ content, repackaging it and promoting it to our growing digital audiences. The value of B4 publishing content is clearly valued by existing B4 members and the fact that we’re getting more eyeballs on that content for our members is key.”
If you would like to find out more about B4’s expansion, please get in touch via the details below. Or download the guide here
For more information, comment or images, please contact: Lorna Waterfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01865 742211.
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We are one of Oxfordshire’s leading B2B networks with over 300 members in our network enjoying a wide range of benefits on line including connections, learning, inspirational speakers and profile. We are a trusted business community which believes in the value of long-term relationships and which works hard to help business and personal development. B4 is now national with communities launched in 34 towns and cities across the UK.