Working with individuals and businesses who are looking to make their mark and stand out in their community is what I love to do. But recently, I had the opportunity to work with a team in the Ukraine who are doing something vastly more important than just standing out. They’re, quite literally, saving people’s lives. Every now and then you come across a customer who needs your help, and recently I was honoured to have been contacted by a humanitarian team in the Ukraine who are just embarking on their own independent, self-governing, self-funding journey.
Initially working under the banner of humanitarian group arche noVa; a non-profit- and non-governmental organisation working primarily on the field of humanitarian aid, development cooperation and education and based in the Ukraine, the team were ready to continue on their own, and were in need of a new brand that represented their mission with the political sensitivity and humanitarian independence they strived for.
With their main focus being on water provision, sanitation and hygiene, since the outbreak of the crisis in the area, more than 1.6 million people fled from the embattled areas in the East of the country with over 40,000 people seeking refuge – and that number is estimated to increase in the next few months. The crisis is real, and this local NGO wants to make a difference.
“The ongoing war has destroyed much of the infrastructure. Schools and hospitals have been targets of attacks or cannot be maintained due to the dangerous security situation. The water and sanitation systems are no longer reliable, and in some places no water comes out of the pipes. arche noVa has been in operation in eastern Ukraine since 2016 and is helping people to rebuild.” – arch noVa
And as the team now get ready to set themselves up as a local NGO, the team needed to rebrand themselves with a focus, and a vision that embodied their mission.
The team already had a new business name, and were clear on what outcome they were after, but required someone with marketing know-how to sensitively approach the project to find an objective middle-ground for a new brand under which they can develop their own footprint in the region.
Fresh Brew Marketing worked in partnership with the team in Ukraine to build an identity that would allow them to build their own independent voice and brand.
Due to the sensitive nature of what was trying to be achieved, ensuring a mutual compatibility and understanding of expectation was critical to ensuring a successful outcome. Sufficient time was taken before hand to understand critical value points and messages that the new brand identity had to carry, while at the same time, understanding any potential areas of conflict to avoid.
Several colour palettes were tested until one was decided upon by the team that worked, and represented a lovely correlation between water and earth, while the logo icon, signified by two overlapping hands that signified a collaborative approach to making life on the front line better, carried the critical organisational ethos that organisational entity wanted to impart.
Working completely remotely, with regular conversations both via Skype as well as email, Fresh Brew Marketing ensured that all relevant insights were captured and acted upon, providing timely feedback and thought throughout the entire process. Building a relationship with the team upfront was important to being able to speak confidently and transparently throughout the process.
– Дмитрий Дрижд (Dima), New Way, Ukraine
A new brand look and feel was delivered with a clarified marketing approach to help the team build their own independence and develop their own voice within the sensitive market in which they work. The NEW WAY team is very happy with the results of this collaborative effort and Fresh Brew Marketing’s approach to helping them find a new, exciting direction that truly changes lives. The brand is now being rolled out in accordance with their own timeline and Fresh Brew Marketing wishes Dima, and the team, all the very best as they continue the mammoth task of providing humanitarian aid and welfare in a very sensitive and troubled area.
The past few weeks have been pretty bumpy – for a number of reasons which I won’t necessarily go into in this blog. A mixture of personal challenges have meant that I’ve had to keep my head down and weather the storm a little more than usual. So please excuse the introspection for a second, but I’m hoping that my glimpse into these lessons learnt may just serve as solace for another someone who may be stuck in the middle (with me).
The story is this: When you hire Fresh Brew Marketing, you hire me. Katy. An individual and an independent – but an individual and independent that comes with over 10 years’ marketing experience, a world traveller, an empathetic and sympathetic person who seeks to understand what drives you first before just doing something I think you need, and overall – just a nice person.
And while my day-to-day may be void of the banter of an office environment, there’s value that keeps popping up in being in the rather isolating world of freelance working that has taught me 3 critical lessons about keeping on keeping-on.
From friendships that have slowly become disappointments through to clients who do not grasp the value of the ability to deliver over the cost of the bottom-line, what being independent has taught me over the past 3 years of life-after-corporate is that building any kind of relationship (be it personal, romantic, professional) is, and always should be, a symbiotic one; one where actions result only as a result of working together.
I cast my mind to my year 8 biology class where were were learning about relationships in the natural world and how varying results were achieved dependent on how much, or how little, they worked together, and instinctively I start to list relationships (professional and otherwise) where one or the other occurred. Many of which, I am thankful to add, still continue to grow to this day. But I look at the ones that died along the way – and I start to think (objectively and without emotion) about the real reasons they did.
I realise that the core of the relationships that died were formed on a single point of reference: a lack of understanding of value. That lack of value appeared either in the form of unrealistic expectation, value with anterior motives, value based on a different visionary outcome than agreed or value based on a complete lack of understanding.
And it’s only when I think back, objectively, on what value means (especially now as an independent contractor), that I realise the relevance it bears on my current working life and how I run my business, and in fact, my life.
Yep. I said ‘big’. Ludicrous, right? I say, ‘nope’.
Big stuff happens – that’s life. Sometimes more to some than others. And yes, we’re reminded to not get consumed by the smaller, less significant hurdles that cross our paths, daily, but inevitably the big stuff arrives at our door and we crumble to a blubbering mess.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trivialising crisis – not in the least. I’ve experienced my fair share, and I’ve seen people who have experienced far worse; worse than I could ever imagine. But where we’ve been inclined to completely fall apart, losing all hope of any silver lining, Plan B or remedy, we drop to the only way we know how to handle crisis, dependent on where we are emotionally, and that’s quite often where things go from bad to seriously bad.
And when you’re faced with the big stuff, and it’s staring you in the face with its menacing red eyes and salivating yellow mouth holding a raised hand above your head in a stage of near-victory, that’s when you truly need to know how to get your focus back – in whatever way you can, and regain control (even if you don’t quite know what that control is, and how you’ll do that).
For me, regaining control usually involves starting to list (in no particular order), every single little thing thing that I’m thankful for. It looks something like this;
And then, yes, I go onto the bigger things, friends, family etc etc. But sometimes I need to start ultra simply to get my head focussed, and geared to the realisation that I do, actually, have more than I feel at the moment. (Yes, sometimes admittedly a Gin may help, or an entire slab of Whole Nut Dairy Milk).
And although it doesn’t make the big stuff disappear, it simply gives me room to breathe, space to think, and an ability to ask for help, when I need it most – something that is critical, when the only way out is despair and destruction.
Communicating value to someone who doesn’t understand it, is probably one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn to master as an independent consultant.
The biggest lesson of ‘going-it-alone’, to me, has been identifying the rate of value you place on your knowledge, insight, and the ability to deliver results. I’ve been lucky – the clients I’ve had the fortune to work with have developed into symbiotic relationship that saw true, tangible benefits throughout the relationship but for many others, the road may not always have been as easy.
That’s not to say that mine was easy – there were many an occasion where I’ve completely under-valued my ability to deliver – and then find myself stuck with a need to re-negotiate, re-discuss or review; a lesson which I’m still learning.
I salute independent workers the world-over. Whether you’re earning the big bucks, or whether you’re just churning the wheels to keep going, day-after-day; the world is filled with stereotypes and expectations that make us judge ourselves against expectation – and removes the incredible fact that in 2018, 99.3% of *all* private business was made up of small businesses – people doing their own thing, underpinning a massive economy, and simply trying to make their own mark on their world, in the best way they can. Some succeed, some don’t, but there’ll always be someone new who just wants to ‘give it a go’.
If you’ve landed on this page, then you’re probably interested in hearing more about how I can contribute to your Marketing mission by providing content for your blog that is relevant, compelling and (most importantly of all) gets people interested in what you’re doing as a business.
Here’s how I help
I’ve created content for businesses for a number of years now. After a lengthy corporate career, I now work for myself, providing a range of Marketing services to teams throughout the UK. Whether strategic or tactical – I can do both, and am available to be as involved in your team, as you need me to be (or not be).
List of businesses that I’ve written for (and many that I continue to write for still):
Talmix: A platform that enables users to connect to business talent for project, interim and permanent roles from a global network of 40000 high-end executives, consultants and professionals. Click here
CFPro: A business services team that provides critical growth services to high-growth organisations through IPO support, Fundraising, Accounts Conversion and more. Click here
CFPro Ventures: A consulting business that focussed on bridging the gap between businesses who are ready to grow, and the investment community. Click here
The Ollerod Hotel & Restaurant: A award-winning restaurant with rooms, owned by former Michelin-chef Chris Staines and his partner Silvana Bandini, set in a a 13th Century County House in Dorset. Click here
ChipsAway: A division of Franchise Brands plc that provides vehicle bodywork repair throughout the UK. Click here
Ovenclean: A division of Franchise Brands plc that provides Oven-cleaning services throughout the UK. Click here
Maistro plc: A tech platform that enables procurement professionals to find the business services they need, from anywhere in the world. Click here
Content generation services that I can help you with today.
I work at the pace that my client needs from me. Whether they drop a few topics into my inbox, with the associated required deadlines, or they ask me to deliver a content plan with suggestions for articles, it’s completely dependent on what they need.
The drop and deliver: Simply send me an email and let me know the topic that you need me to cover, and the deadline by when you’d like the article to be ready by. Where necessary, I’ll suggest my angle – with the necessary call to action that would be fitting to the topic. Once you’re happy, I’ll get cracking.
The leave-it-to-me: Give me a broad idea of what you’re trying to achieve, what you’re trying to say and who you’re trying to say it to, and then let me come up with a content plan that includes regular blog contributions befitting of your strategy. Where necessary, I’ll make sure that I’m running in line with your business development strategy and the critical messages you want to broadcast. Once you’re happy, I’ll get cracking.
The One Hit Wonder: Need a one-off document, like a white paper? I can do those too. Simply tell me what you’re aiming to achieve, what access to data I may have within your organisation (to keep the paper original and relevant), and what you want the paper to achieve, and I’ll come up with a draft on what that could look like. Once you’re happy, I’ll get cracking.
I’m flexible. I can offer one-off charges per article, or I can work on a retainer basis which means you can control your costs, and you get a regular contribution of content at a fixed price – giving you the ongoing flexibility to change direction when you need to with me involved as an extended part of your team.
There’s no hassle. Get what you need, when you need it. Give me a whirl today.