Bonnie Leverette

Brand and Banter Inc.

Tell us about your background

Operationally strong, grew into marketing in corporate setting, incorporated my agency just over a year ago

Elevator pitch: What is your agency about?

Brand and Banter was founded with the ideology that relationship building for a brand is absolutely essential for the long term sustainability of a business. We believe that branding, marketing, and sales don't have to be boring. Rather, people want to have light-hearted and fun conversations and connect on a real level with the businesses they engage with. We work with clients that share our commitment to delivering value over the long haul. Our philosophy pairs well with companies that sell high-end products or services and close their sales through human interactions. We love helping our clients achieve their goals by leveraging paid digital marketing strategies. We work on broader scope projects from time to time, helping our clients develop their brand, website, marketing strategy, CRM set up and business processes. We work our best when we are a strategic partner to our clients over the growth of their business. And we like to have fun while we're at it!

Where did the idea come from?

Basically, I got sick of working for companies that didn't really care about doing the right thing for their customers beyond the sales interaction. They weren't interested in relationship-building with their customers up front, and certainly fell short in creating raving fans after their sale. Having worked at the front lines in sales interactions, I knew there were a lot of consumers craving a special experience that made them feel like a VIP, not just another number. I wanted to work with businesses who were excited about building long term relationships with their customers and delivering the best products and services in their segment. I set out to build an agency to work with businesses committed to delivering this kind of experience for their clients, and not just out to simply extract a profit.

What were some early challenges you faced?

The most difficult transition for me has been learning to have strong boundaries with both staff and clients. I needed to be strong about my high standard of excellence with my own team, and create systems to help them become amazing at their work without expecting them to be "entrepreneurial" and figure it out on their own. With clients, I needed to learn how to push back when they had a limiting belief about their own business - they wouldn't be seeking our expertise if they knew their marketing strategy inside and out! I had to learn how to get them to trust that we're helping them make great decisions, rather than let them tell us how to do our jobs as marketers.

How has your business changed from it’s inception to now?

We've gone from small freelancer, working on all kinds of projects, to understanding which clients we're best able to help and love working with the most. We're growing our dream team and excited to see our agency vision coming to life.

Tell us about your biggest failure

I should have asked for help and found a supportive community long before I did. Would have saved me months of messing around, learning the hard way. There's always someone who's farther down the road than you, and there's no shame asking for help!

What is the best indicator for you that your business is working?

First, are you excited to wake up and get to work? That's a big indication. But, I think it is looking at are your clients happy and getting results? Are your staff happy and growing? Those are big markers. Financial problems are easy to solve if the culture is on point.

What is the biggest challenge you face with your business daily?

Creating systems (and the time to do it) for other people to work through so I can continue to delegate and grow others' abilities. I have a hard time teaching and creating systems around activities that are very intuitive to me or that I have a natural talent in.

What’s something you wish clients understood better about your business?

That having a compartment for marketing isn't so great. Marketing efforts are often stifled when they aren't working well with sales and branding - which is why we like to offer strategic insights into those areas of our clients' businesses. When you look at a business holistically, you can make sure everyone is rowing together, that the customer experience has continuity.

Are there any areas you’d like to expand in over the next few years?

I'd love to work more with women lead businesses that are geared to help other women succeed, particularly young women.

Are there any technology trends that you’re particularly excited about using in your work?

I believe that people are really looking for a human connection in the world given that we have so much access to technology. What excites me is technology that frees me up so that I can spend more in person time with my clients and team.

What advice would you give someone who is considering launching their own agency?

Reach out to people who've blazed a path before you - you don't have to learn everything the hard way.

Can you give us your best tip for making customers happy?

Give a shit - do your best - be honest.

Can you recommend a great book that everyone must read?

All the books

Finally, what are you most excited about for the future of your business?

I am excited to help my team grow and have unique freedoms, opportunities and personal growth experiences. It's like raising a business child - you want it to grow up strong and smart, and poised to make a difference in the world.

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