Unlocking the Secrets of Brand Success

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A round-up of our marketing and PR workshop for Female Founders

A couple of weeks ago, we partnered with friendly colleagues Mac&Moore and Startups Magazine to host a morning workshop for 10 female founders aiming to level up on their marketing and PR for the success of their brand. As this was a tailored format, we weren’t able to service the lot of you. However, we’ve done a round-up of the key takeaways from the event. These tips will help you make the most of your marketing and PR as you bootstrap your startup, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring people like us to do it for you!


Establishing your business requires you to move at record speed and much of it you’ll be doing yourself. There’s a lot to do, possibly investors breathing down your neck and getting off the ground is a major priority. But too much speed and not enough haste can actually end up damaging both your brand and your business in the long run, and by taking the time to lay strong brand foundations, you have a much greater chance at success.

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Make it your mission. Some brands do this better than others, but the very best businesses are driven by something greater than the sum of its parts, so it’s a good idea to think about setting your mission statement as early as possible. It’s the one thing about your business that should never change over time. It’s also a powerful marketing tool, and a powerful (and authentic) mission statement can also be the best way to attract the right kind of people to work for you, as well as encouraging your customers to buy from you.

What’s your ‘why’? A lot of people know ‘what’ their business does, some even know ‘how’ they do it… but what about why? This is a great way of allowing your brand and business to transcend your initial product or the service you’re starting out with and really stand out from the competition. 

Marketing is not just promotion. We talk about this a LOT with our clients but it’s really important to keep in mind. There are actually 7 P’s of marketing which include price, people, place and process. Your marketing strategy should feed into every aspect of your business and cohesively bring all the strands together into one solid path forwards. If you put all of your marketing budget/effort into advertising you’re probably going to miss the mark. 


An obvious one? Yes. But many startups spend a lot of time honing in on perfecting their product or service and forget to figure out who you want to be buying it. A detailed, specific approach is needed and will be crucial in getting your content and your messaging right as it should be tailored to the people you’re trying to reach.

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Do your research. Speak to real people, host focus groups, dig around online for facts and stats you can use to back up your idea. Information is power and the more you have, the more accurate your audience personas will be, and therefore the more helpful they’ll be when you try and target these people in real life.

Dodge demographics. Don’t get us wrong, demographic information can be really useful when you’re building out audience personas, but if you rely solely on this information you’re going to lose out on getting a well-rounded vision of this person and the opportunity to be creative in how you approach them.

Make them REAL. Give your audience persona a name, give them some hobbies, define what makes them tick, what their pain points are. You are made up of so much more than your job title or your age so breathe the same kind of life into your audiences.


PR can be a tricky beast. We started out in this section of the workshop by immediately debunking the myth that it’s all Ab Fab and champagne at lunch. Figuring out your angle and being strategic and targeted in your approach in order to get maximum coverage takes hard work, persistence and time to build relationships with key journalists. 

Hone the bullseye. Target the right audiences by getting to grips with  reaching the media and channels that serve them. Try to spend 30 minutes a day consuming the media you want to be in.  All of this will help give you an idea of current trends and what is culturally relevant. 

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Tinker, tailor. Don’t send out generic pitches to everyone. Do your homework to find the key journalists with the right beat and interests for your story. Tailoring also means knowing their publishing cycles so you only pitch when relevant.

Make the ripple effect. Aim to create a piece of content once - one story - and for consumers to read about it often. You want your brand story to live on, beyond the day you launch it. It’s like adding seasoning to food to make it tasty – people will want your product more if they keep reading about it. It creates the ongoing ripple effect. 

We absolutely loved having a room full of such diverse business ideas, from Ed-Tech to a new type of ice cream and a sustainable food sourcing service to a book subscription service promoting diversity and inclusion. We also got some great feedback (which is always a plus!) 

How genuine and informative it was. It was inspiring and easy to understand. Sometimes I get overwhelmed with new info but you made it exciting and motivating. Thank you
I thought the presenters were brilliant. Really engaging, clearly know their stuff and the content was great as an intro.

If any of these points have resonated with you or struck a chord with what you’re trying to achieve with your business, maybe you’ve hit a roadblock with your brand proposition, or you’re struggling to land PR stories, chat to us! We’d love to find out more about your business and how we can help you achieve success through creative and strategic marketing and PR.

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Bias. Do you know yours?


The diversity conversation in the workplace is an uncomfortable one. And so it should be.

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend a workshop hosted by The Other Box, a platform aimed at enlightening and empowering people to work and live more inclusively. Led by 2 brilliant women of colour, Leyya and Roshni, the organisation combines their lived experience of everyday exclusion and tokenism with academic knowledge of racism, intersectionality and radical histories of colonialism to challenge the lack of diversity in the workplace and make it more than a box-ticking exercise.

I was keen to attend the ‘Know your bias’ workshop to find out more about the issues at play for people of colour, and people from other underrepresented backgrounds and learn techniques to address them actively. Let’s face it; for many organisations, these are difficult conversations we often shy away from at work. If you follow CLO PR, you’ll know that we’re passionate about lifting women up and inculcating diversity measures for ourselves and for partners and clients. We aim to be part of the conversation. Personally, I have an urge to learn about people and the spaces and feelings I don’t inhabit myself. The workshop was a great taster on understanding our own bias better and to open up a greater understanding of the complexity of the issue in the workplace. It was incredibly useful in teaching us to question first impressions and open up our minds to why we may favour one perspective over another, especially when it comes to interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.

We learnt not to fall into the trap of buying into ‘a single story’. Instead, to make an effort to listen to different perspectives to broaden our outlook. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks about the danger of a single story in this video, highlighting that everyone is prone to holding on to one story about a person - her included - when in reality their story is always different. We touched on language and to be mindful of the impact on others. Even basic questions and phrases can be inappropriate if you don’t take context and individual experiences into account. If there was someone wearing a long sleeved top on a hot day I would have probably asked them if they were hot, without questioning the reason why they’ve chosen to wear it. They may need to hiding something from the world that is no business of mine to intrude and highlight.

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As a group we came up with a long set of actions and here are some that I am going to be taking positive action on immediately:

1. Diversify inner circle and teams:

We did an exercise which highlighted how white, middle-class and identical my personal inner circle of my most trusted people are. It’s time to work hard in broadening the tapestry of my inner circle and teams to reflect society. Through friendships, collaborations and mentor programmes I can try to make a difference.

2. Equity vs. Equality:

Equity involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives. Equality, in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives. Like equity, equality aims to promote fairness and justice, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same things. So, one thing I can do immediately is be flexible and adaptable in how I work with my mentees and freelancers I manage, with the understanding they will need support tailored to them as individuals.

3. Be conscious of asking questions:

Make sure questions aren’t loaded with assumptions. I am so very guilty of this. It comes back to remembering that a person doesn’t have a single story. Creating conversation that allows them to open up about themselves than posing direct questions can help.

4. Be a more conscious ally and encourage others in the team:

I learnt when I was mentoring as part of You Make It the importance of being an ally to my mentee, a young woman of colour. I have been supporting her build her contact list and professional advice to help boost her confidence and career direction. But it shouldn’t stop there. In situations where I am with other women of colour, I must ensure their voices are heard by all.

5. Consume new diverse media:

Working in PR, it’s our absolute duty to be ahead of the curve and under the skin of all media in all sectors and industries, and now intersectional. We need to listen other voices, not just our own. Leyya and Roshni helpfully gave us a shortlist of media to consume that are representational but there are loads more: gal-dem, Amaliah, This Ability, Pride in London.

But most of all, it’s about not sitting still. We need to be constantly learning and listening. We were advised to do the Harvard Implicit Association Test, which delves into your thoughts and feelings outside of your conscious awareness and control. I, along with everyone else, need to approach situations with empathy, considering other perspectives, not just mine. It’s important to remember that The Other Box have created a judgement-free safe zone as part of the Know Your Bias experience specifically because real life outside the workshop space is not a judgement-free zone. Without the context and careful laying-down of groundwork that happens in the workshop, we could very well end up alienating those around us, those who haven’t been part of the inclusive, nurturing workshop environment.

Thank you again to Leyya and Rosh for a thoughtful afternoon. I definitely know my bias more. It’s time to take action.


Claudia launched the first in a series of PR + Social workshops with Crowdfooding and it was a full house! Thanks to Alessio and Max for the invitation! Crowdfooding are the crowdfunding platform for food startups.

Here are 5 quick steps to kickstarting PR to hit the ground running.

1. Know who you are

Know who you are as a brand and stick to it. Nailing your brand identity is key to good PR. It creates consistency and ensures your angle is always compelling.

2. Get the knowledge

Swat up on media outlets. Keep abreast of what your consumers are reading/listening/watching all the time. Knowledge about your target media ensures you reach the right titles and the right journalists with the right content.

3. Love Twitter

It's the best spying tool for getting to know the media and journalists.

4. Be photo-focused

A photo can tell a thousand words. Formulate your PR angle on imagery. A photo alone can generate coverage.

5. Get personal

Personalise, personalise, personalise. Don't take a blanket approach to reaching out to the media. Hone in on the right journalists and know their beat inside and out so that when you do reach them, your story is exactly what they need, right now.