We have some incredible business coaching clients on our books, doing all kinds of great things – we swear we learn more from them than they do from us at times! We work with clients at all levels in all industries, clients who are rocking their field, clients who are making their mark on NZ and some making their mark on the world. To inspire you we have decided to share some of their stories in a regular Q&A.
This time we talked to Mary Ellen Davy, owner of Ellen & Company which works on branding for companies. Their clients include QBE Insurance, Government House, Bachcare (their branding work drive 35% growth three years running) and movie company, Vista Entertainment Solutions – Ellen & Company’s branding supported Vista’s growth into more than 60 countries and an amazing 38% global market share, processing more than 1b tickets annually. Over the years the team at Ellen & Company have won a host of design awards, including 35 Best Design awards. We spoke to owner and creative director, Mary.
Q. Tell us about your business…
A. We create brands that pull people to your product or service.
Q. Why did you start it and what was your aim with it?
A. The challenge of creating successful brands gives me purpose, and I need purpose. I love the negotiation we have with research and strategy to realise a brand story that is meaningful and resonates internally and externally with all audiences We do not create design for design sake – our aim is to create brands that deliver a return on investment.
Q. Who is a leader that you learnt something incredibly valuable from and what were the lessons you learnt from them?
A. Keith Yamashita of SY Partners, New York and San Francisco. To me he is the Dalai Lama of branding. He teaches empathy and the ability to see things from many perspectives. This is invaluable when building brands, working with clients and your people.
Q. Think about the worst boss you’ve ever had – what did you learn from their style of leadership?
A. Never bully, never micro manage, respect others.
Q. What lesson in business do you try to pass on to others and why is that?
A. Employ the right people, have good systems and processes and money in the bank. This gives you time to concentrate on developing the business and money gives you options.
Q. What is a mantra you live by and why?
A. Never settle for second best. Challenge yourself or you stand still.
Q. What has been your biggest learning in business to date and why? How has it affected you going forward?
A. Understand and deliver results for your clients, then you have clients for life. It is better to hold onto a client than to find a new one.
Q. If you were 21 years old again and could do any career you wanted, what would you be and why?
A. There are just too many choices – by the time I make up my mind the career landscape will have changed.
ZAC’S QUESTIONS FOR YOU (thanks for sharing your thinking Mary):
1 – Does your brand pull people to you and your products? How could it better do this?
2 – Are you still finding purpose in what you do day to day, year to year in your business (or role)? How could you find more “purpose” in what you do?
3 – Do you personally have any of the 3 leadership traits that Mary’s worst boss had? If so, what do you need to change to not do them?
4 – Where are your processes and systems letting you down?
5 – You need the right people in your business and team to be super successful – what people change or improvement is needed in your business?
6 – Where are you settling for 2nd best? What will you do about it?
7 – Where can you better understand your customers? And through this better understanding deliver better for your customers?
Hope you enjoyed the questions that Mary provoked! If you like these sorts of questions, you will love www.accme.co which is where Zac asks regular business thinking questions.