Tamara Von DohrenBusiness, Brand and Partnerships Strategist

The connected world is full of opportunities for today's businesses, are you taking full advantage of them? Is your business as aligned as it can be both strategically and through partnerships?
My speciality is branding but for me, it isn't just about the look... it's also an important part of every decision you make as part of your business strategy and operations. Which brands do you partner with? Which products do you develop? Which people do you hire? How do you communicate with your customers, clients and internal teams?
With formal degrees is business and communications and over 10 years international experience in marketing and corporate culture; I can help you create a simple filter to answer these questions, while also helping you to maximise productivity and efficiency, and take advantage of opportunities to increase ROI through underutilised resources.

Recent Answers

Good on you for not giving up!!

I actually developed and managed a re-brand for a radio station in Canada and while they didn't face a particularly negative brand perception, they were a heritage brand who were needing to change their 'old and grey' perception to a focus on being the affluent, intelligent, professional station of the market. To do this there was obviously a level of design re-branding and content changes, but we achieved results mostly through our partnerships. The strategy I put together utilised our existing (and built new) opportunities to gain brand exposure with our new target audience. Basically making sure we were front and centre at everything they were at (so they couldn't ignore us) and making sure that exposure was always a positive and professional experience. This organically changed our brand perception and simultaneously built trust as they started to view as naturally part of 'their world', and it wasn't long before they were contacting us looking for advertising opportunities.

In your case, given the added negative perception, I also agree with what Kari outlined about taking ownership of any past mistakes and reaching out to wronged stakeholders. Adding to her point about asking for their input, also be very clear about what you have learnt from the experience and what you are already doing to ensure these mistakes don't repeat themselves. If you have managed to secure new funding, then I'm guessing you have already started to do this. :-)

Another element that can help is 'fresh blood', by bringing in a new face this also subtly reinforces your commitment to change and improvement. Again, as you are looking for someone to partner with I'm guessing you are already aware of this.

It would be great to chat more (free of charge for the initial call), as I'm currently looking for new opportunities to work with startups and small businesses to help them solve engagement problems. My strengths lie in partnerships and stakeholder engagement and my background is a 10 year career in communications, media and internal engagement and development across Australia, Canada, the UK and Japan. If you are still looking for a potential strategy partner it would be great to hear more about your app and the specific challenges you are facing.

If you have already found someone then I wish you all the best and remember that while the reinvention process can be tough, it can also result in creating stronger partnerships and a more profitable business. As they say, it's the tough times that tend to bring people together so stay strong!

Hi there, I recently worked in the internal communications department of a FTSE 100 insurer in the UK managing their national recognition program. We had over 10,000 employees across the country and looked at number of different options to engage our staff and managers when it came to rewards. While a number of our staff were front line (ie. call centre) the recognition rewards we decided on were focused on giving people things they really want. While this may be different for every company depending on the demographic here are a couple of basic rules that can help you get started:
1. Cash is king (I also previously worked in radio promotions and people always prefer cash over a set item, even a large item)
2. Make sure the 'claim' process is easy and simple and allows flexibility (We used £ value coupons extensively as this was easy to track and for managers to order - but the key to this being successful was where the recipient could use the coupon, how easy it was to use, and the validity of the voucher)
3. Make sure you educate your teams on what incentives are available and how they can easily take advantage of them (this relates more to employee incentives such as discounts, training and other entitlements)
4. Make sure the incentives reflect your desired employee experience proposition and your corporate identity (ie. if your company culture is all about health and fitness, it may not make sense to provide an incentive based around discount chocolates...)

At the end of the day, you want to first make sure you are clear on your objectives and restrictions (ie. budget, is the solution aimed at day to day recognition or long term incentive benefits, how does this align with the long term employee experience strategy) and then look for an option that ticks these boxes. This solution can vary greatly depending on the size and scale (geography) of your company. From experience, I wouldn't recommend trying an individual Christmas chocolate desk drop for 10,000 employees, across over 20 sites, all on one day..
(Yes, we actually did this, it was a nightmare to organise and on resources!)

If you would like to chat more I'd be happy to help as it is difficult to give a definitive answer without knowing your employees and your overall goals. Incentives are a great opportunity to reinforce your company culture and to engage your employees with the business. Feel free to book a call if this is something you would like to explore further.

Either way, I wish you all the best in finding the right incentives for your company that engage your teams and come in under budget. :-)

Hi, it looks like this post is a couple years old, but in case you are still looking for advice, here's mine. :-)

To put it simply, confidence, clarity and knowledge.

To be more detailed - you need to know what you are looking for in a partner, what you expect from them, and what you are willing to offer, as well as what they NEED. This is particularly important when dealing with large companies as they will naturally try to position themselves as being the larger contributors and therefore that they should receive more in the deal. What you need to remember is; They are in this meeting (or in this case - they came to you), meaning they see a benefit or you have something they want. Doing the research to uncover what they want can help you gain the confidence to stand firm during negotiations.
At the core, strategic partnerships are negotiated similarly to a sale, with both parties trying to get the most out of the deal. However, by asking the right questions and doing the right research, you can avoid this feeling like a game of tug of war, and turn it into a positive, mutually beneficial result.

Other than the above preparation, you should of course have hard copies of the facts and figures to back up what you can offer and the benefits the partner will receive. My practice has always been to pitch the benefits before the requirements or the 'ask' as, if you position things right, the benefits can have them sold before you reach the cost.

If you are still having trouble with this I do actually run calls on this specific topic as I worked on strategic partnerships for 5 years in Canada and the UK for a variety of clients. It would be great to talk further and I'd be happy to help as leveraging partnerships is a particular passion of mine. :-)

Of course, if not, then I wish you all the best with securing strategic partners and hope the meeting went well.

It sounds like we have similar career styles! Unlike you though, I worked in different roles and industries in the corporate environment. I was a radio announcer and music director, then moved to promotions, then marketing and events, then shifted industry completely and went into managing leadership development events for a FTSE 100 Insurance company.
I've recently been through my own journey of 'discovering the best path', and I personally struggled with narrowing the field of infinite possibilities that the connected world has unleashed. As part of this process I had a hard look back at my career so far and asked myself the following questions:
- What gave me that 'rush' in each role? And was it an actual part of the role or did I find a way to incorporate it?
- What was the common thread in each role, what was I drawn to?
- What are my long term personal and career goals? It sounds tacky but asking 'where you ideally see yourself in 5 years' isn't as silly as it seems...

From these questions you can really start to gain a conscious idea of what drives you the most and what is best suited to get you where you want to go. And be detailed... You mentioned being drawn to property and business but is it being the owner of the property what drives you or the closing of the deal?
The world is full of opportunities today and personally I feel the best way to find the right path for you, is to know yourself, your goals and motivators, and your own strengths and weaknesses. :-)
I'd be happy to chat further if you like, you sound like you have had a fantastic career so far and it's great that at such a young age you are starting to question the long term vision. Best of luck either way and I hope this helps.

Hi there, I've worked in Marketing in Australia, Canada and the UK for over 10 years and the best starting point for any new product is really and in depth analysis and creation of a brand identity. For example, asking questions like - When building the product, who were you building it for? Why do they need it?

From there, creating the right strategy really comes down to the message and your audience. Once you have clarity around this you can start to decide which channels and forms of communication will resonate most with your target audience (and fit your budget!).

You are right in that the product does sound like a great idea, but are you clear on why people need it, and are you communicating this clearly?

For me, advising on marketing strategy has always been quite personalised to each brand/ product. I'd love to learn more about what motivated you to come up with such an interesting product and to help you answer some of the questions you listed. I worked in radio marketing for many years and have helped a lot of clients in the exact same boat as you. Passionate about their product but unsure how to get it out there.

Feel free to book a call if you'd like to chat more, and if not I wish you all the best with your business goals.

Having worked in Marketing for over 10 years, there is never 'just one thing' to focus on as there are always multiple campaigns and deadlines to be aware of. But the key point that should link them all (and which often gets forgotten during the numerous revisions and new ideas) is:
- a clear and consistent message that aligns with the overall brand and business strategy.

Too often businesses (especially those with small teams) forget to take the time to set the foundations by putting in writing a clear outline of what their brand is (and isn't!) and the desired short and long term goals, then using this as filter for all business and strategy decisions. This foundation is immensely helpful when it comes to assessing partnerships, product development opportunities, company structure and culture, and even the kind of people you hire to work for you.

If you already have this foundation work in place then my advice would be to have it spray painted on the walls for all to see! (Or at least a nice vinyl decal)
But if you are needing help in this area please feel free to book a call, my focus is on helping small teams maximise the little resources they have, or if your one person marketing team just need to bounce some ideas that can be helpful too. :-)

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