The Brand Collective is a marketing company that specialises in creative, out-the-box thinking that’s aimed at setting brands apart from their competition through high quality website design, SEO, brand strategy, graphic design, social media, and copywriting. This says a lot about what we do but not very much about who we are and what we stand for. The best way to learn about who we are and what we stand for is through an introduction to our lovely founder and Creative Director, Natalie Weeden.
Natalie Weeden wears many different hats – a leader and mother among them. But how did The Brand Collective come to be and where are we headed?
In celebration of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED), Natalie has shared some insight into why she started The Brand Collective and how her company has grown since its inception.
TBC Team: What led you to start your own agency?
Nats: I had always dreamt of having my own business. My career started out in a corporate marketing environment, and I quickly realised that the things I believed were important were a lot harder to experience in a large corporate environment.
I’ve always wanted a balanced life – one where I could excel in my career but also be available for my family. I suddenly found myself at a crossroads, shortly after the birth of my first child. It was at this point that I took a leap of faith and The Brand Collective was created, with support from my husband and family – I felt that if I didn’t do it now, I never would. The Brand Collective’s hypothetical doors opened for business in 2014 – from my dining room table!
TBC Team: Who was there in the beginning?
Nats: TBC started where most agencies do, with one client that I had previously worked with, but I didn’t start The Brand Collective to serve a single client. I made a list of potential clients in the area and set out to contact them, offering some services pro bono so that I could start to put together a portfolio of work, build relationships, and get my name out there. My client list grew rapidly, and I am proud to say that one of my original clients – CC&A Insurance Brokers, is still with me to this day!
TBC Team: What unique challenges did you face during the height of the global pandemic?
Nats: As with everyone, this was an incredibly stressful time as we watched our clients struggle across various industries. We all know about the negatives of COVID on business – but there were some great things that came out of it as well.
We were privileged to be a part of some wonderful and strategic thinking during this time. This is when our client HOMEWOOD had to start thinking out of the “wooden box” and, after some debate around setting up production of coffins, we decided to take the opportunity of the time we had been given and together we conceived the Amanzi Conscious Collection.
On top of this, our team rallied together and worked harder than ever to support our struggling clients and make sure that we delivered everything that they needed to make it through the tough times – even when out retainers were on hold.
TBC Team: What was your biggest take-away of the pandemic as a business owner?
Nats: There were countless lessons throughout this pandemic but the ones that have stood out the most for us would firstly be, how important a unified team is! TBC has pulled through because of the wonderful team that we have. We all learnt so much about the resilient nature of our industry with remote work as well as the increased need for social platforms as the world socially distanced. But working with your team, side by side, is irreplaceable. We must be flexible, and often take 2 steps backward, as hard as that may be, for wonderful rewards to materialise in future.
The importance of having an ongoing marketing strategy in place, no matter how small, is vital. No matter the urgency, business owners need to take a step back, breathe, and really think past the immediate situation – about why they’re doing what they’re doing. Knee jerk marketing is expensive and often won’t yield the results you’re looking for. But taking the time to plan and strategise around even a short-term strategy will.
TBC Team: How has the global pandemic changed your vision for The Brand Collective?
Nats: It has shown me that the importance of having clients from various industries is vital – when some industries are thriving others can be suffering – but not having all our eggs in one basket means we can support those through the hard times while still being able to carry on business as normal on our side.
It has also shown me the importance of being agile and nurturing relationships, both internally and in response to clients – a core value we’ve always had that was reaffirmed and cemented during 2020/2021.
We are so much more resilient than we ever thought we could be! We have produced some of our best work during the pandemic and our team has grown from strength to strength. We have some exciting new clients joining us this year too and we can’t wait to share our projects.
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