The Need to Pivot: The Royal Mint Case: Chris Howard


Tags – Royal Mint


In 2015, I was appointed Executive Director at the Royal Mint to run the precious metals investment business.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was also to be part of a small team to completely change the direction of the company.


The Pivot at Royal Mint

The Royal Mint’s purpose is to make coins for the UK.

That’s what it’s done for 1,000 years. But with a move to cashless, things were changing fast. So, the business needed to pivot in order to survive. Things felt grim as nobody seemed to be using cash anymore. As a result, over 1200 jobs were at stake.

We set up a ‘transformation team’ and worked round the clock on how we could pivot our activities into new sectors, ensuring continued employment and profitability. 

With our efforts, within 18 months, we had developed several new business streams completely outside our established channels. Some did quite well. Others failed. 

But, we kept going – supporting the new rising stars and re-inventing the business.


The Heightened Need to Pivot

Whether a small SME or a larger corporate, the need to pivot a business is greater as a result of Covid than ever.

Suppliers to restaurants are pivoting and going direct to consumers. Everywhere, businesses large and small are having to adapt and change – fast.

At the Royal Mint we had 18 months. Most businesses now only have weeks to think and act.


The Take-Aways

What take-outs can I give from my experience?

  • Be bold in your thinking – no idea is too crazy to consider
  • Identify your ‘non-customers’ and how to attract them
  • Don’t just try to compete with your competitors. Find new space
  • Act fast.
  • Stay true to your brand and its underlying values
  • Give every support to new ideas that seem to have real potential
  • Check and challenge the idea and do it again. 
  • Fail but fail fast. Too many businesses hold on too long to failing projects


This feature originally appeared in the 4th edition of the Volta Blue Magazine, and was written by Chris Howard of Globaleap


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