It’s a Barbie World:

A few weeks ago the long-awaited Barbie movie hit the big screen. 

With an estimated budget of $100 million, we would be amazed if you haven’t seen at least one form of the brand’s bubble-gum pink marketing collateral that has been appearing absolutely everywhere.

Within their marketing strategy, Barbie has collaborated with a plethora of well-known brands, from NYX (cosmetics), Gap (clothing) and Aldo (shoes), to Airbnb (holiday properties), Xbox (computer gaming) and Ruggable (rugs). 

These collaborations have helped the Barbie brand reach new audiences, increase brand awareness and boost sales.

Many of these collaborations have also sparked major talking points within the media and the general public.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to win a trip to Barbie’s REAL Dreamhouse courtesy of Airbnb?

It would appear Barbie collaborated with a brand from every major sector under the sun.

But what if you don’t have a marketing budget in the millions?


The Power Of Partnerships – Barbie Edition


If you have kept up with our latest newsletters you will be aware that at Twenty One Twelve, we are passionate about harnessing the power of partnerships. 

So we wanted to take this opportunity to shed on the best ways to create mutually beneficial brand/business partnerships – even if you don’t have a ridiculous budget. 


  • Having Complementary Services 


Partnering with businesses in different industries that share the same target market can be highly effective.

For example, wealth managers, solicitors and accountants can be great strategic partners.

Just as less obvious partnerships can be highly effective, such as our collaboration between FOMO Mortgages and!

A bit like how Barbie has collaborated with NYX and OPI, both are from different industries (cosmetics rather than toys), but both share a young, female demographic. 


  • Having Different Target Markets 


Collaborating with businesses that offer the same service but target different markets can create a reciprocal non-financial relationship that benefits both parties.

For example, SME corporate lawyers can collaborate with big business corporate lawyers, generating referrals and expanding their clientele.

Despite not collaborating with any direct competitors (toy brands), Barbie’s partnerships with lifestyle such as Ruggable, have targeted an older and more professional demographic.


  • Being Non-Competitors 


Partnering with businesses in the same industry but with specialised and non-competitive services can open up a plethora of new opportunities.

For instance, connecting an international HR expert with UK-only HR experts can enhance the value proposition and provide comprehensive solutions for clients.

For Barbie, Airbnb is a perfect example of this. With completely different target markets and products/services, this unique campaign was effective at increasing brand awareness for both parties.

Want to harness the power of collaborations for your business, but with less pink plastic? Then feel free to contact us



The Three Types of Collaboration and How they Can Elevate your Business

That’s because they’re always a flexible arrangement, custom designed to provide both partners with the greatest possible benefit.

However, we still wanted to give a quick rundown of the three main types of collaborations – and of the benefits they can bring to your business.


Value Exchange Collaborations


The classic win/win scenario: two businesses work together, without any money changing hands, to mutually boost each other’s offering.

This takes two main forms:

Co-creating content


The latter are based on an exchange of expertise, which enables one (or both) parties to provide their clients with a better, more holistic service.

For example, an IFA hosts a CPD session for a merry band of accountants, a setup which provides both groups with a range of opportunities:

✔️ By helping the accountants hit their ICAEW-mandated CPD goals, the IFA is front of mind when it comes to referrals

✔️The IFA is positioned as an accessible and personable expert in their field, meaning that they can easily be approached when the accountants have a problem

✔️ The accountants can offer a more far-reaching service to their clients

In the end, both parties leave happy, paving the way to more collaborations in the future.


Sponsored Collaborations


Sometimes, you have to pay to play – especially with the big boys…

In these kinds of collaborations, one company pays to leverage the assets of another (typically larger and more established) business.

For instance, we brokered a deal between FOMO Mortgages and

By pairing their name with the more well-known brand, FOMO were able to build a trusting relationship with their audience from the start.

This meant that the fledgling brand could generate 10,000 subscribers only a month after its launch.


Incentivised Collaborations

With these collaborations you don’t pay upfront, but as commission once a lead has been converted.

For example, we helped Maxim Financial Services set up formal introducer partnerships with a number of complementary businesses.

Now, their top two partners pass Maxim over 30 leads a month apiece – in only one month, generating £18,000 in written business between them.


If you would like to learn more about how collaborations can elevate your business, please contact

Collaboration: a Powerful Tool for Reaching Your Target Audience

You’ve got a strong product, or a service people really need. You’ve ironed out (most of) the kinks in your business model. You’re ready to take your company to the next level.

The problem?

Getting your brand in front of the right audience.

You may have tried all the classic techniques – ads on google, or social media platforms, or even in your local paper – but, while these strategies can form part of a successful outreach campaign, they don’t work in a silo.

But there’s another, even more powerful, route to your target audience:



How does it work?


It’s simple.

You establish a mutually beneficial relationship with a company that has access to your target market, but that cannot provide the same services that you do.

For instance, a real estate agent pairs well with a mortgage broker, or a solicitor with an IFA.

Then, when their clients come looking for a particular service, they can refer them to you – and possibly earn a little bit of commission for their trouble.

The benefits of the relationship are easy to see: you enhance their services, they feed you a steady stream of clients – everybody wins!


Here’s an example:


Over the last three years, 2112 has worked with Maxim Financial Services to reach out to a variety of complementary businesses.

We helped them construct an attractive introducer agreement, and wrote up case studies based on previous introducer relationships, which we then used to outreach to decision makers at potential strategic partnership businesses.

Since then, they’ve formed formal introducer agreements with nine estate agencies and three IFAs.

These partners deliver a constant stream of leads into the business, with the top two partners providing, on average, over 30 leads apiece per month.


If you would like to learn more about how collaborations can help your business reach its target audience, please contact

How to win bigger clients (free guide & webinar)

We’re excited to announce that our brand new whitepaper is now available! This one was a labour of love…

Across 30 pages you can expect no-nonsense, proven formulas for filling your pipeline without the need for big advertising budgets, technical knowledge or AI wizardry.

By reading the guide, you will discover the tactics we use to consistently generate enterprise level leads, and learn how we secured a fledgling mortgage broker 15,000 new subscribers and a healthy pipeline three months from launch.

This guide will be an indispensable aid to any B2B or professional services companies that are looking to level up their marketing.

Download it here.


Too long, can’t be bothered to read?

Fair enough, not everyone’s an avid reader.

For those that don’t enjoy settling in to read the wise, wise words of Twenty One Twelve, but still need to improve their marketing plan, you might enjoy our forthcoming webinar.

Taking place on the 8th of June, you can join Twenty One Twelve’s founder, Henry McIntosh, to discover how you can win bigger clients and generate more business for your company.

Sign up here!

Does your business have to be purpose-driven?

It might be controversial but our purpose at Twenty One Twelve is to help our clients grow and make more profit. In the process, we intend to create a profitable business ourselves. 

Why’s that controversial?

Because people are increasingly concerned with the sustainability and provenance surrounding what they buy and who they buy it from. That’s supposedly more true for younger consumers,  which makes complete sense. As consumers ourselves, the team here at Twenty One Twelve is careful in their choices.


“Consumers between the ages of 17 – 38 are almost twice as likely to consider ESG issues when making purchasing decisions than consumers over 38 years old.” (PWC)


This trend isn’t just important within the B2C space, increasingly B2B brands need to prove their ESG credentials:


    1. According to a 2020 study by Gartner, 75% of organisations are planning to include ESG criteria in their procurement process by 2024, up from less than 25% in 2020. 
    2. A 2021 survey by EY found that 98% of institutional investors consider non-financial performance, including ESG factors, when evaluating investment opportunities in B2B companies. 
    3. A 2019 global survey conducted by ING revealed that 61% of businesses said they would lose competitive advantage if they didn’t adopt sustainable practices, including ESG-related initiatives.


But let’s not confuse being a purpose-driven brand, like Patagonia, with being a good brand which follows solid and ethical practices and principles. The two aren’t the same.

And the idea that every business needs to be purpose-driven doesn’t quite sit right with us. Simply jumping on a bandwagon to make yourselves look virtuous doesn’t make sense. It feels disingenuous. 

We’re big believers that if we’re profitable, it makes it easier for us to deliver wins for our clients, partners, suppliers, the Twenty One Twelve team and the charities we support.

For example, our team likes to get involved in a myriad of charity initiatives. From raising money by running half marathons to being a core part of the team behind Henley Lockdown Fest – a virtual festival during lockdown which raised over £25,000 for the NHS and the Henley-on-Thames based-charity, The Riverside Counselling Trust.

We also advise our clients in this regard. From a selfish point of view, it gives them the edge over their competitors – would you choose the brand that donates to charity or the one that pockets all the profits? It also makes our clients feel good about themselves but they don’t consider themselves purpose-driven.

Consumers don’t want purpose constantly shoved in their face. Too much virtue signalling, bandwagon jumping or high horsing, makes you look disingenuous. People mainly want to know the brand is well and sustainably operated and, if it gives back then that’s a bonus.

For Twenty One Twelve client FOMO mortgages, we added a philanthropic element to the brand to mirror the values of its founder and to endear it to consumers. If you remortgage through FOMO for example, a donation will be made to Ecologi to help offset your carbon footprint.

At this point, the ESG agenda and greenwashing are too well known to fool an informed audience. But, if you can be more authentic in your approach to your company’s purpose, a focus on ESG goals can still be a powerful tool. 

Of course, the success of this tactic depends on your audience, which is worth considering when you’re thinking about designing a purpose around your brand.

If you do go down this route, stick to it rigidly and be prepared – this point of difference will cost you money.


“A true brand purpose doesn’t boost profit, it sacrifices it” – Mark Ritson


And that’s the truth of the matter, if you’re not prepared to sacrifice profit by staying true to your purpose, it’s not a purpose at all.

Get in touch with us if you’re scoping out your brand strategy.

How to find a name for your fledgling business

A lot of people would suggest it’s not overly important. But I would argue you still need to consider:

  1. What first springs to mind when you hear it?
  2. How easy is it to say and remember?
  3. What does it actually mean?
  4. Can you build brand consistency around it?
  5. Is it unique within your space?

It’s also important to be aware of any negative connotations it may hold.

Like when Coors Beer translated it’s slogan ‘turn it loose’ into Spanish, where it’s a colloquial term for diarrhoea. 

Or when Mercedes-Benz entered the Chinese market under the brand name “Bensi,” which means “rush to die.”

Now you may not be planning global domination but a new brand’s name is worth considering.

Creating a new brand

Our own name, Twenty One Twelve, is long and hard to remember. 

But it’s got a good story behind it, so we like it.

It’s a name that still bemuses people, is it inspired by a Canadian rock band from the seventies or the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta? Find out in this blog…

Would we choose it again? Probably, because meaningful names are few and far between.

For example, when considering a brand name for one of our client’s new ventures recently we went through it all:

  • Latin terms
  • Greek Mythology
  • Foreign language terms
  • Fusing serendipitous words to create new meanings

We then had to check that:

  • The domains were available (yes .com is important)
  • It wasn’t too similar to a competitor’s name
  • There were no negative connotations or meanings we had missed
  • It sounded good and was a little bit clever too

But don’t settle.

A brand needs a voice. The worst thing it can be is vanilla. 

Your name can be leveraged across your entire brand messaging.

Take our client FOMO Mortgages for example. FOMO or fear of missing out, is a name that we play on constantly with the company’s messaging –


Don’t miss out on the best mortgage deal

Don’t regret not protecting your family


These are rudimentary examples but they go to show that there’s a lot in a name, choose wisely.

And if you need help – reach out to us by emailing

8 Highly Effective Marketing Strategy Ideas

At Twenty One Twelve we design marketing strategies capable of taking your ideal target market from having no knowledge of your brand into being warm sales qualified leads. When we first encounter a new brand, we go through a series of simple steps to create the most efficient strategy possible. The below questions form part of this process, they help to cut out the noise and simplify the complex, empowering you to reach your goals without unnecessarily wasting time and money.


1. Start With The End In Mind

Forget vanity metrics and intangible tactics. Start by asking:

“What does my marketing need to deliver for me to achieve my aims?”

If you need 10 clients a month to hit your targets and your conversion rate is 1 in 5, you need 50 quality leads a month to hit your goals.

It sounds simple and in most cases it is. You’ve just created a marketing goal which you can base your whole strategy around.


2. “Only We”

The hard part is working out the most efficient way to acquire those 50 leads.

An often overlooked place to start is redefining what makes you different.

Finish the sentence:

“Only we can deliver this service in under 24 hours within this region”

You may not have a global unique selling point, but you don’t need to.

Examine what makes you different from your immediate competitors.


Ask your customers why they use you.


3. Identify your ‘A’ Clients

When I ask for client’s target markets, I often find they’re far too generic.

They only need to acquire 100 or so customers each year and yet they give us 6 or 7 different target markets, none of which are well defined.

Unless you’re stacking them high and selling ’em cheap. you need to get very specific here.

You need to get granular about who it is you love working with:

❓ Who are your best clients?

❓ Why are they your best clients?

❓ How did you acquire them as clients?

❓ What position does the decision maker hold?

❓ Why do they buy from you?

It goes back to your USP.

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to your ‘A’ clients and ask them why they use you.

Trust me, they will tell you.

You’re going to leverage that information to find more clients like them.


4. Structure A Budget

How much would you pay to acquire a new client?

Start by looking at the average lifetime value of your customers i.e. the amount they are worth to your business over the course of your entire relationship.

Now work backwards to figure out your budget…

Let’s say your ‘A’ clients spend £12,000 a year with you.

And based on your margins, you’re happy to spend £1000 acquiring them.

You convert 1 in 5 leads.

So now you know you need to be generating quality leads at £200 each.

You also know you need 5 customers a month.

So you need 25 leads each month and you’re happy to spend £5000 to acquire them.

£5000 is your max budget.

You now know you need to find tactics which will deliver 25 leads at £5000 per month or less.

Over time, as your marketing becomes more efficient you can monitor and attempt to push down your client acquisition costs.


5. Review Past Results/Competitor Analysis

What’s worked for your business so far?

Delve into the data and examine where your clients have come from. 

Perhaps the majority of your leads come through your website.

But how good are those leads?

What is the lifetime value of the conversions from your website?

In this section, we want to know where your best clients come from and create a strategy which doubles down in those areas.

If your best clients come from referrals consider the following:

  • How well do you educate your network on referring you?
  • How well do you incentivise referrals?
  • Who refers to you the most?
  • Can you create more relationships like that?
  • If so, how?

Now analyse your competitors, where are they active?


6. Quick Wins

There are always quick wins. Here are a couple of examples to get you started:

9 x ROI for an Ed-Tech Startup

“We want to scale faster” was the brief we were given.

The first thing we did was explore how they communicated with the tens of thousands of  people in their database.

Turns out they didn’t…

By sending a fortnightly newsletter, packed full of valuable information, we generated 50 leads per week on average.

Not too bad for a very simple, low cost marketing tactic.

Other good examples include rejigging the user journey on your website to convert more traffic or remarketing to a warm audience using online advertising. You can discover more in our guide How to Win Bigger Clients.


7. Sustainable Wins

Sustainable wins are the forms of lead generation which keep on giving. Here’s another real life example:

A mortgage broker we work with gets the majority of their referrals from an estate agency. This is the perfect example of a strategic partnership. 

They reward the estate agent with 30% of any closed business they generate for them. 

Rather than spending big going after the consumer, we focused our client’s lead generation on acquiring more strategic partners. 

The strategy has paid off, every estate agent we sign passes them multiple leads each week.

Good sustainable tactics include:

1. Setting up strategic partnerships 

2. Cross-marketing with brands who share your target market


8. Now scale it

The above tactics are great but they are difficult to scale. 

At some point, you need a predictable way to acquire new clients. 

Here’s where it’s important to really do your research. 

You have a lot of options from PPC and telemarketing to cold email and SEO – I would recommend talking to an expert before embarking on any single strategy. 

These wins are the hardest to come by, they have the lowest conversion rate and they are the most expensive form of lead generation.

But they make your business super scalable. 

And guess what?

These clients eventually become quick wins as they start referring you and you upsell them through your brilliant communications strategy.


Want to know more? Email us on to set up a call. Our team is based across Henley-on-Thames, Marlow and London, if you prefer a face to face meeting!