SheBuildsBrands is the authoritative voice of female branding headed by entrepreneur Kubi Springer. With over 20 years brand marketing experience Kubi helps companies to connect with female consumers, assist firms to empower female leaders and also support female founders to build brands worldwide. We talk to Kubi about what gives her ultimate career satisfaction, the SheBuildsBrands journey and the motive behind it.
What is a normal day for you like?
There is no such thing as a normal day in the world of SheBuildsBrands! There are days when I am working with my PA from my home office, usually those days are for proposal writing, answering press questions and delivering client reports. There are days when I am jumping on planes heading to international speaking engagements and there are days when I am in our London office with the team. The joy of my job is that no day is the same. However, generally I tend to wake up at 5.55am to grab an hour of ‘quite time’ before my husband and 5 year old daughter wake up. During this hour I mediate, write in my journal and often use it to work out in my in-house gym. By 7am the house is awake, the au-pair helps with the school run; by 9.07am I am on the train to London. I try to use the one and a half hours of travel time to check emails, identify my to-do-list and review the staff’s previous days time sheets. I am in the office by 10.30am and on any given day I have 3-7 meetings with clients, prospective clients, sponsors and project teams. I try and catch a call with my daughter before she heads to sleep at 7pm and sing her a good night lullaby. Normally, the day in London ends with a late evening meeting at Blooms, London’s First Female-Focused Private Members Club before heading home on the 10pm train.
When did you launch SheBuildsBrands and what was the motive behind it?
SheBuildsBrands was a very organic process, I started working 21 years ago, in brand marketing, as an intern, my career then moved to being a freelancer, then a contractor, followed by consulting. By 2009 I simply had too many clients and had to build a core team, as it grew we naturally turned into an agency. Even the name She Builds Brands came about in a very organic way; as a consultant, I would be introduced at speaking engagements as ‘Meet Kubi Springer, She Builds Brands’. After a while my name became synonymous with those three words.
The motivation behind SheBuildsBrands was to put the ‘SHE’ into brand marketing. We wanted to enable companies to connect with female consumers. Currently women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, from autos to healthcare, the newest emerging market is female. We, as women control over $20 Trillion in world-wide spending. But yet 86.5% of all senior marketing positions are held by men. That’s where we come in. We are her, and she is us. We understand her pains and we speak her language. We help disruptive thinkers connect with female consumers and believe us when we say dressing it in pink, won’t be enough! So the motivation was, and still is, to ensure her voice is heard, her money is not wasted and her purchasing power is not taken for granted. We are her, and she is us. And together we help businesses and women maximise their investment.
What has the journey been like for so far?
It has been a real roller coaster of highs and lows, but its been extremely fulfilling. There have been many times when I have wanted to give up but my support teams have reminded me that the mission is bigger than me.
My entire career has been dedicated to helping people to build their brands, whether personal or business, successful brand building enables dreams to become commercial realities. That in and of itself makes the hard times bearable. The journey has taught me that whilst strategy is important, being as flexible as water is paramount for success. All the trials and tribulations, they are learning opportunities to be and do better at each step of the road. As a woman in business I am determined to make sure that my journey leaves a legacy that – it can be done.
Seminal moment so far?
I have had two; the first was working in New York at Puff Daddy’s marketing agency, Blue Flame. Whilst there, as a young 20 year old, I learned first hand the power of ‘I don’t think outside of the box, because there is no box’. The idea that there are no limits, unless I place them, set me free to see only the possibilities that a global career could give me. The second was working in Malaysia with Female Founders, helping them launch their brands into the UK and USA market. This experience taught me just how similar we are as women globally. Whilst we may be culturally different, we really do experience the same challenges pertaining to starting and launching business. It was through working within these emerging markets that I saw just how powerful female consumers are and how, if brands understand how to effectively connect with them, they could be onto a real commercial winner.
Best campaign or brand to have worked with?
I have had the privilege of working with some amazing brands from Nike, to L’Oreal, Blackberry to MTV, but one of my favourites was our most recent campaign with Rolls Royce Motor Cars London. We did a partnership deal with them to create their London Fashion Week Campaign and Party. As part of the showcasing of some of their cars we had live models photoshoot during the event, with high-end models and Vogue photographers shooting the cars, whilst party on-goers watched the shoot whilst dancing and having fun. It was a brilliant brand activation project and as such, attracted a huge amount of celebrity attendees and press coverage.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
The team – seeing them grow and develop gives me so much satisfaction. I have quite a young team, in that I enjoy working with young professionals. I think they bring an energy to the agency and a real zest for life. I enjoy SheBuildsBrands being a vehicle where they can test their ideas and explore new opportunities. I relish off of giving them a chance and being the foundations to their careers. After all, someone once gave me a chance, so I enjoy paying it forward with my team. As long as we are delivering results for clients, we are all happy.
What does success look like to you?
Freedom. Success to me is having the freedom to do what I love doing. To travel wherever I want, and to work on things that make me happy. Money for me is just a tool to enable freedom to be achieved. Success is also seeing my daughter have the opportunities to live out her dreams. Lastly, leaving a legacy; a woman who at least tried to use her talents to break down barriers and help others. If I accomplish that, then I would class myself as being successful.
What is on the horizon for 2018?
2018 is an exciting year for us as an agency. We are working with even more international clients, currently we have a roaster of clients from London, California, New York, Malaysia and Mauritius. Plus we have just pre-launched our Online Members Hub. It provides Members with weekly e-learning tools (such as videos, e-courses and worksheets) to enable them to build their brands at their own time and in their own pace. We recognise there are some Female Founders who can’t afford an agency but still need the knowledge, expertise and help, so we have created the Online Hub for them. It’s designed for budding entrepreneurs and start-ups, wherever they are around the world. To make it affordable the subscription starts at just £20 per month and the official launch is on International Women’s Day – March 2018.
Lastly, can you give us a 5 step guide to brand building for start-ups?
1. Branding is an emotional connection with your target audience – remember that people buy from their hearts, not their heads, so always stay connected with emotions.
2. Branding is a business driver, not an ego boost – with every brand marketing activity there should be a clear ROI; sales, awareness, engagement, repeat business, leads etc. If it’s not giving you a clear ROI, ask yourself, why exactly am I doing it?
3. Be specific with your target audience – the more you can be specific, the more you can understand the group that you are serving. Effective brand marketing is about listening to the needs and delivering on those needs. But you can’t listen to everyone, so choose and be specific in your desired audience group.
4. Branding starts from the inside out – your first customer is your team. If your team does not believe in the brand vision, brand mission, brand promise, then how can you expect them to communicate it to your external customers?
5. Partnerships, partnerships, partnerships – its imperative in today’s market to engage with effective partnerships. Not only do they help to leverage on your ad spend but they also help with reducing the resources needed and the understanding of new trends. Partnerships are one of the most effective ways to connect your brand to new consumers whether in your domestic or international markets.
Lastly and most importantly…if you need help….contact us at SheBuildsBrands.com
Instagram: @kubispringer @shebuildsbrands