Getting to Know You: Erica Wolfe-Murray

Erica Wolfe-Murray

Erica Wolfe-Murray tells us what she would do differently if she could have her time over again.

What do you currently do at Lola Media?

I help develop new products, services, revenues and audiences using what my clients already own.

I spend my days unpacking what a business is about, unearthing assets that can be repurposed or re-imagined, such as interesting data, knowledge, behaviours, patterns or archive. Then I get to grips with creating products and services from what I find – which is totally original for every business. So I’m on the front line every day.

Sometimes a tiny business will own some small overlooked idea that you can spin out to a whole new company. It was just waiting for its time in the sun. Or you can impact the supply chain in an inventive way that saves the team time and money.

No-one else does what I do, so I can be taking a call from a games company one minute, then an international dance school or major retailer the next. I mostly work across the creative, cultural and tech sector, which is full of amazing people doing fascinating things. Yet they are gob-smacked at what I find to use as the building blocks for new revenue streams.

I work on a combination of client projects and business growth coaching – it’s important to me that I empower teams and management with the ability to keep an innovation methodology going when I’ve left the building.

In the course of my working week I must ask hundreds and hundreds of questions, poke around in corners of factories, taste, smell, sense what is going on both within the business and its marketplaces. Being enormously curious is a real advantage, and I keep my radar switched on constantly to sense a trend or opportunity. I read, watch, listen here, there and everywhere to spot how value changes.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I’d been both a creative head and an FD for companies in a career spanning advertising, graphic/product design, p.r., advertising, licensing, tv production as well as launching my own range of home furnishing/garden accessories handmade with natural materials found in the UK. My past client base had also been really diverse.

When I was looking for my next step, I realised how totally unique my background was, how each type of creative sector operated in its own silo, never learning revenue models or valuable insight from the other. I called is knowledge my ‘intellectual assets’ and in a real ‘lightning’ moment realised how I could help companies grow value from there intellectual and actual assets too. Things simply took off from there. And it’s been a joyous ride ever since to watch companies grow revenues, become more resilient and better able to face the future.

Who do you admire?

I admire people who show real talent in what they do. In the process, the output and the explanation of it to others. Whether a carer, a developer or a designer. It is a thing of beauty and often overlooked and under-valued.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?

As my experience and career has got me to here now, I will definitely say ‘no’. But I wish I’d realised earlier on how profoundly creative I was and studied design. Being asked to leave home at 16 means you have to support yourself in whatever way you can so I did what I needed to. I was incredibly fortunate to land in a creative company in my second job, recognise my hunger and find people who believed in me.

What defines your way of doing business?

Curiosity, imagination linked to vision and risk aversion. And collaboration.

I have to really go hunting for assets in companies, with no knowledge of what I might find. When I find these nuggets, or behaviours or information, I have to be able to see what needs these could fulfil, value they could potentially deliver for the company within a dynamic marketplace to a potential audience. I am not in the business of taking a company to a cliff face and asking them to jump. Everything I do, they are there working with me thoroughly assessing the potential.

What advice would you give to someone starting out?

Very few people starting out realise their journey to that very point is unique. No-one else in the history of the universe, before or after you, will have the same set of experiences. Understand and map this individual (or team) path to see how it can help you build a completely unique business – and use this knowledge as it will give you a strong differentiation from your competitors.