Updated: Aug 18, 2021
The Journey of Shelley Mayer (Growth Marketing Series)
Do you know what it takes to build a successful brand? Perhaps you're looking for some practical solutions, or maybe you're in the process of building a brand but have met roadblocks. However, if you're not actively thinking about building your brand, then it's time to start. In addition to meeting your sales goals, there's so much more you can do if you have a clear idea of your brand's identity.
Remember: your branding and marketing strategy evolves along with your financial strategy. Brand impact metrics help you forecast your revenue growth and make business decisions without making uneducated guesses. Your company’s brand reflects what you and your business believe in. Through it, you can strengthen your relationship with your customers, inspire and recruit talent, work with people whose vision is aligned with yours, and separate yourself from your competition.
In this episode, Shelley Mayer discusses the importance of building your brand as a foundation to reaching your company’s full potential. She talks about the value of understanding the core purpose of your organization. Adhering to this can promote growth in your business. Additionally, Shelley discusses the importance of a partnership strategy. Organizations with the same core values and objectives can elevate each other in a mutually beneficial partnership. If done well, a partnership strategy helps promote awareness and growth.
If you want more valuable tips on successful branding and partnership strategy, this episode is for you.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
Explore the fundamental strategies in building a successful brand and partnership strategy.
Discover how Shelley developed her company, Ramp, to elevate the field of brand marketing.
Learn more about Shelley’s partnership strategy and why business leaders need to consider acquiring one.
Visit Christina Sjahli’s website for more stories on entrepreneurial journeys to success on the Her CEO Journey podcast.
Chat with Christina about your company's strategic finance by setting up a time here!
Download this Action Guide to help you understand the value of building your brand and working with partners for growth.
Purpose to Prosperity Club on Clubhouse
Connect with Shelley: LinkedIn
[07:18] Shelley’s Journey: Building Ramp
At an early age, Shelley developed an interest in starting a business. Her father owned a land surveying firm, while her mother ran a bookkeeping business.
Shelley’s first job out of university was in a tech startup.
Later, she shifted to a corporate environment. While at Toyota, she worked in several strategic and marketing roles.
While pregnant with her third child, Shelley began to seek more flexibility. This period is where she started to launch Ramp.
Ramp focuses on purpose- and value-driven branding. Tune in to learn more about Ramp’s unique branding perspective.
[11:10] Definition and Misconceptions on Branding
Shelley defines branding as communicating your values.
“Branding is about communicating to the world, what your organization stands for what you believe in, what you represent and who you are as an organization.”
Branding doesn’t end with having a brand logo and brand colours.
“This idea that your brand is about your logo, your colour scheme, and what you look like, of course, that's an important piece of bringing your brand to life. But that's not the starting point.”
You need to understand the underlying values that drive your organization.
A brand also isn’t a project that you need to finish.
Shelley explains that your brand is a living, organic thing. You need to improve on brand continuously.
“A brand is a living, organic thing. It's something that you have to keep your eye on constantly, and go forward. Just because you're successful, it doesn't mean your brand doesn't need work.”
[13:42] Challenges in Building Ramp
While creating her brand, Shelley struggled to build clarity around the company.
She shares that they just started working without really thinking about the company’s values.
After realizing that she wasn’t happy with the company’s progress, Shelley took a step back.
She reflected on what a successful company needs.
[15:43] Ramp’s B Corp Certification
Shelley learned about B Corp certification in 2013 as she was researching ways to make a company great.
She was inspired by the idea of profit with purpose. This notion led to the mindset of how to run her company.
B Corp has a framework that lets you measure and manage how you’re going to run your company with the values you set.
“What I found really valuable about what B Corp brought to the table was an actual framework to let me measure and manage. If I'm going to run my business with these values at the core, how can I do that effectively?”
Ramp got certified in 2016. For several years, Ramp has won Best for the World: Workers.
[18:48] Being Successful Without a Strong Brand
For Shelley, it depends on how you measure success. Some businesses earn significant revenue without a strong brand.
Identify the untapped potential sitting between the current state of your business and where it could be in the future. How can having a strong brand help with this?
[19:25] Signs of Untapped Potential
One of the most common signs of untapped potentials involves the relationship with your customers. Can they recommend your brand?
Another sign is how inspired your team is. In this case, you should look into recruitment and retention of talent.
Finally, look at how you look compared to your competitors.
Are you differentiated from them? If not, then you can look into connecting with customers differently.
[21:22] Benefits of Partnership Marketing
A partnership strategy helps you build your brand and expand your audience.
As you identify your values and the community that buys into them, working with a partner with the same value can benefit both parties.
By tapping into the audience, you may gain revenue, generate opportunities, and raise awareness.
[23:08] Steps to Building a Successful Partnership Strategy
For Shelley, you need consistent values. Make sure that both organizations are operating for the same reasons.
“I think the biggest one [step to build a successful partnership strategy], having consistent values that underpin your work moving forward. That’s it’s part of having a common ‘why.’”
You also need clarity around the roles each organization fulfills in the agreement.
For examples of successful partnership marketing strategies, tune in to the full episode.
[30:05] Why a Partnership Strategy Might Not Work
When things don’t work, there may be a problem in communication.
Furthermore, the rules of engagement may not have been clarified beforehand.
Alternatively, the objectives of each partner may be different.
[31:02] Financial Journey of Building Ramp
Shelley shared how bootstrapping her business contributed to safe but slow growth.
Because there was zero upfront investment, profits went back into the business.
Another financial challenge is diversifying their clients.
What Shelley thinks she did right is keeping a regular account of their numbers.
[34:16] Ramp Looking Forward
Shelley shares that her business is mainly human resource-based. They spend the most on staff.
So they construct a detailed staffing budget for the growth they envision and the roles they want to create annually.
Ramp also looks into the projected costs, fixed costs, and admin-related costs.
And then, they also work backwards, focusing on revenue targets.
Shelley Mayer is the founder and president of Ramp. Her company focuses on guiding entrepreneurs into brand and partnership strategy. Ramp is also a Certified B Corp and Certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE).
Since 2011, Shelley has worked for more than 70 social profit organizations. She also helped national and international organizations tell their stories. Shelley helps them integrate their advocacy into their products and services. Through this, they’re better able to engage their audience.
Shelly graduated with a degree in business from Wilfrid Laurier University. After graduating, she worked for a tech startup. Shelley also spent nearly years at Toyota Canada. Here, she specialized in business innovation and strategic planning. Shelley also assumed roles in human resources, advertising, and marketing, where she worked to build inspiring advertisements which promote care for the environment.
Today, Shelley focuses on providing effective branding, marketing, and partnership strategy. She is also a sought-after expert and speaker on cause marketing and social impact marketing.
If you want to know more about Shelley, connect with her on LinkedIn.
“That idea of not just branding strictly about product features and benefits, but actually building into your integrated brand message, the essence of who you are as an organization, what you represent what you stand for, and creating a marketing strategy based on purpose.”
“Successful brands, it starts from within. If you think if the people inside aren't inspired by it, then it's almost impossible to get people outside of your organization inspired by it.”
“If your approach to marketing, or the way that you're coming to the table with your brand looks very much the same as the way your competitors are coming to the table, that is a sign that there's some opportunity in that brand to be connecting with customers differently.”
“Having clarity around roles is really important and understanding what each partner brings to the partnership, and then how is what each partner brings to the partnership creating that success that you both want to see.”
“Usually when things don't work, a lot of times communication is at the core of that. Where there may be underlying values, but maybe the communication isn't set up effectively, or maybe the rules of engagement aren't documented clearly or set forth from the beginning the way they should be.”
Enjoy this Podcast?
You can reach your company’s full potential by building a strong brand. Through this, you identify your values and differentiate yourself from your competitors. And, as Shelley explains, having a partnership strategy also helps.
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