From the desert to the Shoalhaven. Moving countries, starting up a business and living life on the NSW South Coast.

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If you had said to me five years ago that we would be running our own business in the Shoalhaven and living in probably one of the world’s most beautiful places, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Having lived in the United Arab Emirates for nearly five years, we shook most of the sand from our shoes, packed up our house and our Dubai born children and prepared ourselves to move back to Australia to find a place to live in Jervis Bay.

My wife grew up in the Shoalhaven and I had come here diving for many years after I moved to Australia. It seemed like the most ideal place to bring up our young children and also to try and establish a business.

Moving countries, children, cultures and mindsets was not an easy task and looking back it was quite a risk. It took quite a time to adjust to being self-employed and ultimately shaping our own path; that in itself is a culture shift that requires determination, commitment and touch of faith.

I have always been passionate about advertising, creativity and marketing but wanted to apply my skills to helping organisations that matched our values and beliefs.

It was a chance to work with businesses that rewarded us with some meaningful return, and getting paid (most of the time). The two don’t often come together, so it was challenging to stay focused on this goal.

One of the most valuable things I brought back from our time in the Emirates was a better understanding and respect for different cultures and how effective communication is critical across continents, markets and languages. Not simply for persuasive marketing messaging, but to truly understand what the people around you need and want, whether customers, clients or colleagues.

Relationship building was always going to be the most important skill when starting up a business in a new market. Moving to regional NSW and establishing trust was always going to be challenging as an outsider with a pommie accent, let alone selling the value of marketing and advertising to local businesses.

Fortunately good timing, serendipity, but more importantly good listening to some business owners about their challenges, provided the opportunity for us to help and create some great relationships. Slowly a level of trust was created which led to additional conversations, more cups of coffee and a lot more listening.

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing especially in regional areas. Finding the right influencers who will take time to listen to your brand story and proposition is critical. When we joined local business networks such as Shoalhaven Business Chamber and Shoalhaven Professional Business Association, we discovered the value of regional business networking for building relationships and gaining trust from the influencers. Clearly there are other networking groups out there, but finding the time to be actively involved in many becomes challenging.

The Marketing Clan is a group of independent marketing and advertising people who have either worked together for many years, or have met along this journey.

Each of the clan members share the same values when it comes to working with businesses; we are passionate about doing great work that makes a difference to our client’s bottom line and their relationship with their customers or clients.

Together we provide marketing and communication strategies, creative and design services and implement brand and marketing initiatives for small to medium size businesses.

The greatest value we provide is years of senior level marketing and advertising agency experience without the overheads or full-time commitments. We make it flexible for our clients to choose as and when we get involved with their business, whether it be marketing planning or creative work and implementation.

Two years down the track, we have had the chance to work with some incredibly brilliant people and fascinating businesses whilst putting our skills to the test. We have helped launch organisations, re-position brands, plan marketing strategies and produce some insightful creative communications as well as develop and design new brand identities.

Not a day goes by when we’re not surprised as to how extraordinary the Shoalhaven is to work and to live in. Hopefully we’ll still be working here in another two years and building better relationships with more businesses that help grow the region.

If you would like us to listen to some of your business challenges for 2016 and how we can help over a coffee, drop us a line.

The Marketing Clan

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