Soaking up the market - Sponge maker utilises innovation for growth

Ramer offers innovative sponges and hopes to expand into biomedical, aerospace and professional trades. 

It’s not often a company can call themselves a world leading manufacturer, but it’s certainly the case for Ramer Limited. The company developed the first synthetic sponge in 1946 and is currently the only UK manufacturer of PVA foam sponges. Having created sponge products for so long, the company knows a thing or two about bringing innovative products to market.

The company has big plans; whilst still looking for substantial growth in its sales of personal care sponges for washing, bathing, and health and beauty, it also wants to develop innovative applications for its Ramerfoam® technology in new markets, including biomedical, aerospace and professional trades. 

To help in this expansion, Ramer approached Business West through their innovate2succeed (i2s) programme.

Yvette Coles, Project Manager for i2s, met with Paul Lloyd-Smith, Ramer’s owner and MD, during which it was very clear that the company would gain greatly from support under the i2s programme. Specific areas identified included an Intellectual Property (IP) review; Innovation in Digital Marketing; and Innovation in Selling & Marketing.

Matt Young, i2s Digital Marketing Specialist, was appointed to advise on developing a cost-effective and targeted social media and digital marketing strategy to increase B2B sales in selected sectors, and also support consumer retail sales.

Med-Tech Specialist, Patrick Finnemore, provided expert guidance on the market structure and growth opportunities in the supply of products for conversion for the medical industry. Patrick’s guidance was instrumental in facilitating contact with medical products converters and manufacturers, enabling Ramer to focus its research and development activity for applicable medical grade products

Steve Cooper, Business Support for Ramer, said:

“The innovate2succeed programme has really helped us to fast-track our new product development and launch programmes, allowing us to progress our innovative new lines under the expert guidance of market specialists. We now know where to find the appropriate expertise, and have the confidence that our development focus is appropriately targeted and informed.

“It has delivered everything that the team promised and we would thoroughly recommend innovate2succeed to other businesses that could benefit from its focus and expertise.”

Ramer Sponged Logo

The programme has had a clear impact on Ramer. The company has now re-assessed its IP and implemented the protection measures appropriate to its business strategy. It is finalising digital campaigns to convert sponge agnostics and introduce new consumers to the recently-re-launched Ramer-branded Body and Baby sponge ranges, including the new Ramer® Invigorating Body Sponge, which is finding a great following in the untapped male grooming market.

With Matt’s help, Ramer now has an excellent platform to extend the product portfolio into selected professional trades applications. Lastly, Patrick has helped the company to target intermediaries in the medical products industry, introducing suitable contacts for development of strategic partnerships.

Innovation features highly in Ramer’s future. It's capability to engineer its unique Ramerfoam® technology to create bespoke sponge properties - including pore size, absorption rates, water-holding capacity, capillary action, water release rates, compressive strength, and colour - make Ramerfoam® applicable for a wide variety of innovative uses.

Innovation should be considered a key component of any business growth strategy, which is why the innovate2succeed programme has been designed to help embrace innovative business practices and increase chances of success. 

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