Platinum Business Magazine - issue 117

Page 20


MDHUB member Flare Audio is a disruptor in the sound technology sector. Millie Green talks to co-founder and co-CEO Davies Roberts about his work, and an exciting new product launch scheduled for 2024

FLARE AUDIO ON A SOUND FOOTING Davies Roberts is an inventor. Naturally, this meant he turned up an hour late to his interview. Full of apologies, he blamed sound technology company Flare’s latest project for his forgetfulness. Later on, he’d tell me he’d put this new device in his ears for the first time the day before, and had “had trouble concentrating since” because he was so excited by what he had heard. Flare began life 13 years ago as a high-end speaker designer and manufacturer working with artists like Skrillex, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, and Mark Ronson. Since then, the company has evolved, producing commercial earbuds for a time before “the big switch” in 2019 brought about by their in-ear device Calmer. These

❛❛ We’re just

21 people in Lancing, and we’re going to need all the support we can get from MDHUB ❜❜

little buds, originally designed to improve the listening experience for music fans, had an unexpected benefit. During R&D, Davies discovered that they significantly reduce stress responses to annoying noises. All these changes have meant Flare’s tone of voice has evolved too as they learned to communicate with a new-found, noise-sensitive audience. Flare’s position as a sound company makes communication even more important for Davies. As he put it: “If, as a sound company, you’re not listening to what people are saying, and aren’t being sensitive to what people are saying, you’re not going to develop sound technology that’s meaningful to them.”

The challenge of marketing sound technology is well met by Flare, which employs incredibly successful influence-led marketing to sell its products. Unlike other companies, however, Flare doesn’t pay people to make content. Instead, it seeks out genuine reviews and pays to use this content on its own socials. Flare wants to “encourage meaningful engagement whilst supporting the influencer community. Integrity and honesty is of huge importance to us.” This tactic has led to a single advert reaching over 100,000 likes and tens of thousands of comments, all related to how Calmer has helped real people to live less stressfully. Flare is a case study for doing marketing right, all by generating a community around its products. All this success has led to growth, including changes in Davies’ role as co-CEO and co-founder with his wife Naomi. Their careful teamwork, focussing in on the skills they are best at, has led the team to become what it is today. Davies defined this allocation of skills in a simple phrase: “if you don’t ace it, don’t own it.” Focus on what you’re good at, and hire people to fill in the gaps. As part of this growth, Flare has had to expand its team, but this experience wasn’t easy. Davies tracked the company’s growth with a slight grimace on his face, because it went “from three in a garage to 40 overnight, then down to 20 through redundancy. You’ve got to be really mindful about how all those relationships work

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