For close to 16 years, I worked in global advertising and brand identity in New York City.
My clients ranged from M&M/MARS to Pfizer, AT&T, HP and Intel. A lot of my job involved writing creative briefs, creating production schedules and staffing projects in order to get a campaign to market and to be successful.
Sometimes the campaigns would be successful, other times they ranged from mediocre to complete crap. Much of this was based on the client’s misunderstanding of the brand they were working for or our misunderstanding of the overall scope of the brand. It was sometimes a little schizophrenic.
My last job in New York before going back to school to become an Ayurvedic practitioner was in branding. I was hired to run a group of about 30 project managers to help bring branding projects to completion on time and on budget. Although I oversaw most of the business, my main client was Thompson Reuters.
When I first heard about Thompson purchasing Reuters, my eyebrows raised. Thompson was a pretty conservative American company and Reuters was the more edgy English company—I thought it was an odd marriage.
Nevertheless, I was on the team to help the two cultures come together and help forging a new Thompson Reuters.
In the beginning it was a little awkward, but as our team was defining their new mission statement and brand mission, something clicked. Both parties started to realize that they weren’t any different from each other at all—there were many commonalities between each other, and cohesion started to take place.
It was in this process that I realized that I had been part of an amazing journey. I was able to help two huge companies to become one—and realize that, although there was apprehension in the beginning, the merger was mutually beneficial for each other.
I also realized that I helped to bring a new brand online and to help educate the new company of its mission and values. If only I was able to have that opportunity with some of my clients on the advertising side!
When I started my company in 2011, I wanted to incorporate the lessons I’d learned in helping to forge the TR brand by really defining what we were and what we weren’t. I think that many brands out there try to be all things to all people, but you simply can’t.
The tips below are some of the guiding principles we used and still use to build and guide our company—I feel that these are a great starting point to any entrepreneur out there who is building a conscious business.
1. Proclaim your rarity, something my father-in-law told me when I was starting my business. There may be hundreds of other companies who are offering something similar to you, but know what makes you different from them and embody it.
2. Create your mission statement from your heart but be realistic. Gently tweak your mission statement, but stay focused and grounded in your triple bottom line.
3. Be flexible as you grow and don’t be afraid of a little evolution of your business, but don’t, I repeat do not deviate from your original mission statement.
4. Identify challenges and opportunities in your market vertical, and be a business who offers solutions—don’t be one of those companies who simply highlights the problems and takes no action.
5. Don’t be afraid of taking educated risks, but avoid taking ‘regular risks.’
6. Listen to people when they tell you that what you are doing is impossible. Nothing is impossible; it’s just that most industries have protocols and processes dialed in. If you are offering something different in the marketplace, your protocols and processes will have to be different and perhaps even bespoke.
7. Use the power of choice wisely—whether you are hiring employees or managing partnerships, remember that they are both an extension of your business and your mission, and therefore yourself.
8. Always go the extra mile. Self-explanatory.
9. Set challenging but attainable goals for your business—most business fail when there isn’t a clearly defined road map.
10. Never, never, never give up.
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Assistant Ed: Terri Tremblett/Ed: Bryonie Wise