Meet Anne Candido an author who also co-founded the Forthright People, an On-Demand Marketing Agency for Small and Mid-Size Businesses. The well established marketer says her mission is to assist the small and mid-size businesses and individuals within them realize their Brand-Love potential.
“Until the world is run by robots, there will always be a person on the other side of the sale. This means a brand’s ability to transform lives to create an authentic relationship that they alone and will continue to be paramount for growth. That’s Brand-Love,” she said. Candido has more than years in marketing, a decorated career that included working for Procter & Gamble.
She has authored a must-read book for everyone from start-ups to Fortune 500 brand marketers, The Super Highway of Relevancy: Getting More People To Choose Your Brand, More Often, Indefinitely which is now available on Amazon.
GLAMOUR’s Luthando Vikilahle caught up with the veteran and had a chat about her illustrious career and what she wishes to impart to the next generation of marketers across the globe.
GLAMOUR: What do you love most about your work?
Anne Candido (AC): Marketing and branding is like a black-box for so many entrepreneurs and business owners. I love helping businesses open this box, uncover hidden potential and put it into action. But what gives me the most satisfaction is watching them realise the ensuing success they didn't even think was possible.
GLAMOUR: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your business and how have you managed to stay afloat?
AC: We have been blessed that our business actually increased. It is interesting that when you aren't doing, you have time to think. And many businesses took this downtime to do just that...revisiting their marketing and branding strategies, evaluating their impact and asking us to help them make adjustments as they re-engage in this new world. Brand-Love connections are going to look very different as traditional engagement channels have been compromised. If you haven't yet spent time on what this looks like for your business, you need to immediately.
GLAMOUR: What does the future of online businesses - let’s say in the next 5 years - look like?
AC: I believe on-line businesses will increase out of necessity (reduce over-head of brick-and-mortar stores/offices) and convenience (be where your consumer is). One specific channel to keep an eye on is social-feed ad shopping. Interestingly, many of the retailers who are winning consumers' attention are unknown, making some question if a brand is really needed to win?
During this early-adopter phase (accentuated by the pandemic), I will admit it isn't as important IF the business has the right assortment of product offerings, availability, shipping time-frames/cost and customer service. This is because competition is still fairly limited, which means businesses can still win by competing on price and with limited ad dollars invested into retargeting.
But hear me when I say - this commodity mindset will not last. As this shopping behavior becomes more mainstream and businesses become more comfortable with establishing a presence here, it will become more crowded. This means there will be more competition for consumer attention as well as ad dollars. In this environment, the only way to win is to elevate to a brand and compete on tangible value which allows you to command higher prices, attract more customers, scale more quickly and create more impact.
GLAMOUR: What’s been the most revealing thing about the businesses you’ve assisted, and how have you responded? Please give examples.
AC: How jaded they are from poor experiences with consultants and agencies. This becomes an exercise of taking back control by getting educated. The first thing I teach my clients is how to write a comprehensive, clear and specific brief that serves as a way to gauge competency and capability in those they may hire. It also serves as an agreement for the deliverables, budget, timing and most importantly, what success looks like.
I encourage them to make sure the agency has experience working with businesses like them. The big agencies are generally set-up to deal with big clients and may not have the infrastructure to give priority attention to smaller clients. I also educate them how to evaluate work for fit and quality. In essence, I want my clients to be marketing sommeliers Just like these wine experts, they should be able to appreciate a good product and pair it for the right purpose to get the greatest impact. I go into a lot more detail on this topic (agencies and consultants not wine) in my book.
GLAMOUR: Give us 5 things that most people don't know about you?
AC: I used to be a certified personal trainer.
I wrote a country song. I have a demo if anyone is interested!
I am a HUGE Dallas Cowboys and University of Dayton Flyers fan.
I know how to do almost all needlework (knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, needlepoint, etc.), and I sew.
I am not a fan of movies with talking animals (excluding animation), but I am fine with sci-fi characters even if based on animals...as long as they aren't gnomes or trolls, which I don't like in any format.
GLAMOUR: 3 things you like the most?
AC: Put-In-Bay, OH
Margaritas on the rocks no salt
Big-Hair '80's bands and pop country. Pour Some Sugar on Me is my jam and One Margarita is my song of the summer (for obvious reasons).
GLAMOUR: What are 3 business secrets you live by?
AC: 90% of decisions are emotionally led. Businesses who embrace it, invest in it and live by it enjoy long-term success.
Have a compelling Brand-Story that answers: 1) Who am I?, 2) Why am I different?, 3) Why do you (the customer) want me? This will serve as the foundation and guide for your marketing strategy and execution.
If you try to be all things to everybody, you will be nothing to nobody. Focus on a target consumer. Be able to describe them like they are your best friend.... because they are.
GLAMOUR: And lastly, how do you keep yourself mentally stable during this unpredictable period?
AC: I focus on what I can control. The reality is, these are unprecedented times for many of us. Which means, we are figuring it out as we go. So, I try not to get too caught up in the hype because we really don't know what tomorrow will look like. Instead, I focus on the reality of today and plan as best I can for what tomorrow may bring.
The goal is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. In this way, the uncertainty doesn't become an excuse or a barrier. Just an inflection point to pivot. I also can control taking care of my mind, body and spiritual health. This includes seeing a therapist and a career coach monthly regardless if I feel like I need to or not, daily physical activity preferably in nature, connecting with good friends and family to lift the spirits, spending lots of time in my "happy places" and yes, wine or cocktails to take off the edge.