To start things off, can you introduce yourself to the reader, please?
I’m Josh Bunce, founder and CEO of the iuf Group, a company that prides itself on capturing and keeping audience attention globally through creative AV solutions. A born entrepreneur, I want to create a new retail world using innovative and sustainable technology that is practical and delivers real results.
Tell us about your job. What is a typical day for you?
Depending on what is happening in the business at the time, an average day involves a 7.30 AM arrival at the office to organise my calendar and prepare for the day. We have a 9 AM sales stand-up meeting where everyone takes 2 minutes to stand and run through the challenges we need to tackle that day. It’s a very quick and productive meeting. After this, I’ll look at strategy and projects before moving on to client communications and proposals.
When there are big pitches coming up, I’ll prepare ideas and get creative with new technology, getting involved in the launches of these. A chunk of my time is also taken up with analysing our businesses and brands to keep them cutting-edge and efficient, and staying in touch with management.
What’s so great about what you do?
Working as part of the iuf Group is rewarding as it enables me to provide a visual solution and to work with so many amazing brands – big global organisations put their trust in us to deliver the best retail solution, whether experiential or visual. We get to see each project through from concept to reality, and that never stops being inspiring.
On a more personal level, as CEO I enjoy working with these big brands and watching them evolve and develop as a result of their adoption of innovative technology.
What are the toughest parts of your job?
There are many challenges to running a successful business. The bigger your team, the more people-related issues can arise, including personal issues being brought into the office and work challenges in terms of promotions and staff well being matters.
There is also the pressure of keeping growth at an exponential speed and ensuring we meet the high expectations of the big brands we work with. It’s also tough trying to separate work and home life and finding the right balance.
What are your career highlights to date?
I would say, launching and expanding in the US with our brand Xi, as we had wanted to do this for a long time and are excited to see just where this leads. Also, growth is a highlight as in pre-Covid we employed nine people – now, only two years later, we have more than 40 employees.
What was your career path into this job?
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of advertising and how technology can be used to enable brands to make the most of this. In particular, the idea to sell ad space to a promoter brand and to buy a product in the place it’s advertised in, such as promoting a beer in a pub where you can buy it there and then, always appealed.
It all started when I was in Australia and saw a screen on a pub wall which made me wonder about the potential to use these screens to sell advertising space to businesses that could be controlled remotely, back home in the UK.
From this idea grew the iuf Group – and the technology that today enables retail businesses and brands to not only sell advertising on the screens but to promote their products in-store and create whole digital experiences for consumers.
What changes in the industry have you noticed in recent years?
Brands nowadays are really investing in their spaces and embracing technology to ensure they make the most of their in-store space. On day one, companies would want to try the technology in one store but now they want to try it in 200 stores, as they are starting to view it as a normal part of retail business.
Tell us about your background, upbringing and education, and how they’ve impacted your career?
I would say my background has motivated me to succeed as I’ve needed to overcome obstacles and challenges which have all pushed me onwards and upwards.
Today, I’m the CEO and founder of the iuf Group – but my journey getting here wasn’t easy. I struggled at school and left at 16 with only two GCSEs before getting a job as an estate agent. After working for two years, I left to launch my own business. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, I just didn’t know what sector I wanted to be in, so I went travelling to find ideas, funding it by selling local products on sites like eBay. As well as find inspiration, I had to overcome my dyslexia during this time and find my way into the world of business.
In 2008, I created inurface media, a digital signage company, and during the next year transformed it into the iuf Group which incorporates inurface media as well as Xi UK and US, Merson Digital, Bauer Digital, ADT and Hubit.
You’re able to message your 16-year-old self – what do you say?
I’d say, things seem worse at the time and nothing is really that bad. No matter how bad your worst day is, you’ll get through it, and you won’t think about it in five years’ time even if it feels massive today.
What advice do you have for young people interested in your field?
My advice would be to go for it – do it and do it early. The older you are, the more responsibilities you have and the bigger risk you take in taking the leap. Choose something you love so you love what you do, follow your passion and be guided by your gut instinct if you want to succeed.