Having been on the other side of the business, as a business owner and partner, it helps me, when relatable, look at solving problems from a perspective that not many creatives have. And it helps connect with clients throughout the entire cycle of a relationship. 3 years as owner and working partner of a SoCal retail brand; 7 years running my own virtual creative agency; and several other smaller stints as partner, contributor, or board member – has given me an understanding of most all the facets of launching, operating, marketing, and selling a business.
For 15+ years I've led and collaborated with designers, developers, strategists, marketers, and copywriters across multiple disciplines on a variety of projects both for agencies and on the client-side. I've developed strategies and oversaw implementation on a variety of projects from brand launches to complex web-based apps, marketing plans to large, ever-changing websites. Being able to effectively communicate and present layered digital problems and solutions to clients is a strength of mine. So to is being an experienced bridge between the creative and digital teams, ensuring the strategy is consistent on all sides of production and even pushing the envelope on what is produced by pulling from my own design and development experience.
I’ve developed brand strategies for new startups looking to carve out their niche and build brand awareness to 50-year old companies needing a refresh to infuse new energy and excitement into their brand and reposition themselves. This includes both working on my own and directing a team, through initial brand discovery, industry research, and competitive analysis, before developing a strategy around who they are, what they do, what their position in the market is, and then how to communicate that through their sales presentations, internal messaging and communication, marketing, advertising, and the web.
From writing brand stories, to brochure copy, to billboard and ads, to pages of website copy, I've wrote creative copy for a variety of mediums and audiences.
It has been debated that my first word was ‘pencil’. Whether that’s true or not, I have been using a pencil for doodling, drawing, and sketching for at least as far back as I can remember. In the 90s, when my family bought the first iMac, I learned Illustrator and Photoshop. In high school I designed tshirts and in college majored in fine arts, with an emphasis in graphic design. For most logo work I start with pencil and present the sketches before moving to the computer, and even design some logos by hand. Like many designers, for every print piece in my portfolio there are probably a dozen or so pieces that didn’t make the cut. When designing for the web, being able to program as well, helps me design effective and more creative web experiences.
Over the years I have mentored and spoke to design students about being a professional and to startups/entrepreneurs about branding and marketing. For a number of months I was even a guest on a small business/financial radio show with my own segment about branding. I am active in both the startup and freelance communities and seek out opportunities to help young entrepreneurs starting their own business and young creatives trying to figure out their professional path. I love teaching and using my abilities to read people and be in-tune with their feelings – which can help keep in-office morale and energy positive.
A big difference between most creatives and me is that I've got 13+ years experience developing business for myself and agencies. It started back in 2005 as a freelancer, continued through building business and cultivating relationships for my own agency, and most recently evolved into me taking on the role of account director for a Kansas City marketing agency. I've also been involved in various supporting biz dev roles for other agencies, supplementing their own resources and providing digital direction and writing proposal language on web opportunities. This experience extends to client-side sales as well.
Doing well managing expectations, taking the time to learn about a client's business and industry, and being able to intelligently speak about every aspect of marketing has led to a long history of being able to maintain a positive and consistent relationship with clients. Of course like anyone, I've had a few bad client experiences mixed in over the years as well. Being good at asking thoughtful questions, listening, being patient, and making a point to be more available than most to talk are some markings of my account management style.