By Sandhya D'Mello Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Jennifer Watson, founder of Bloom Branding in Dubai shares her marketing/branding advice for women who want to grow their businesses. She advises upcoming entrepreneurs that the great equalizers in business are passion and perseverance.
For UAE women and women everywhere, be the change you want to see.
Think bigger, seek out opportunities and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will support you and help you to aim higher, said Jennifer Watson, founder of Bloom Branding.
Bloom is a branding and design consultancy changing the female narrative and empowering women to lead. The company provides comprehensive strategic brand development, graphic design and brand consultancy services in the spheres of fashion, beauty, food, health and wellness and lifestyle.
"We work with exceptional women and the companies they run within key stages of the start-up ecosystem. We help businesses grow," said Watson.
"We are female-forward. Bloom launched in 2013 to work with female-owned and managed businesses, with a specialty in creating, transforming and guiding brands towards women. The idea for this business was born shortly after I had my first child and began meeting new mothers, such as myself, who were contemplating whether to return to their corporate jobs or start their own businesses to have more flexibility and time with their families."
"I also began recognizing women with existing businesses in Dubai with ambitious plans for growth or expansion, but many of whom lacked a solid brand foundation to build on in order to take their business to the next level. With a background in strategic brand building and a strong admiration for passion-fueled female trailblazers, starting Bloom Branding was an easy decision to make," recalled Watson.
With 14 years of professional experience in Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom and the Middle East, Watson has collaborated with and guided world-class brands and top-tier clients, including MasterCard, Vodafone, McDonald's, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Lexus. Her flair for combining solid strategy with compelling design and stellar execution has seen her work with dominant regional development, lifestyle and fashion brands such as Mubadala, Mall of the Emirates, Grosvenor House Dubai, Malabar Gold & Diamonds and Mauzan.
Watson's upbringing in Toronto, Canada, remains an essential part of her life, with modern traditional values at her core. She advises upcoming entrepreneurs that the great equalizers are passion and perseverance. If you have a sound business idea that is going to fill a gap in the market and you're truly passionate about it, go for it. Always believe in yourself, but know that there will be a tremendous amount of work involved. There are no shortcuts to success.
Watson further said: "I love Dubai and feel it's among the most incredible and supportive places anywhere in the world for women to dream, do, grow and excel. There are now so many amazing networking groups, organizations, events and initiatives that are specifically here for women at different stages in career, life and across industries and interests. Many are government-led, which is so encouraging, as are those run by key media outlets and businesses who have created platforms to bring women together for positive change. Also, people living in the UAE tend to have a penchant for global travel, and with that comes an appreciation for culture, diversity, new experiences and ideas; all of which serve as a platform for igniting that spark needed for dreams to begin taking shape."
She takes immense pride in being a female-led business that exists for women. "We are our clients' greatest cheerleaders and we are humbled to play a part in their journeys; we are inspired by their vision, we admire their passion and drive, and we absolutely believe in the woman behind it all. We focus on cultivating long-term relationships with all of our client partners and as their businesses grow, we grow with them."
Career journey Watson is equipped with experience of two decades and has always worked in a client services role for multi-national agencies and with an eye for creativity. She began her journey in event planning and moved onto promotional marketing, advertising and strategic brand building.
"I absolutely worked my way up, but was naturally conscientious and a keen learner, volunteering for the jobs that nobody wanted to do to gain experience. I was also fortunate to be surrounded by exceptionally talented individuals and role models at every stage, whom I often shadowed from afar," she added.
Watson believes that strong relationships built on trust form a key cornerstone of great work and shared success.
"I believe that the value placed on building strategically-grounded brands has grown by leaps and bounds since I first arrived in Dubai in 2005, just as it has the world over. This is due to our global interconnectedness, increased competition, the speed of change and market uncertainty. It's in times of uncertainty that new businesses are built and it's the strongest brands that weather the storms and prevail. The world today is a small place and due to Dubai being a cultural melting pot and major hub for world travel, people here are savvy when it comes to spotting the brands that are truly here to fulfil a need and serve a greater purpose beyond profit, in contrast to those who may be capitalizing on a trend or fad, but not have the foundation laid or clear path set to exist tomorrow or beyond," she added.
Watson feels that building a brand from the outset is indeed an investment, but it would also be one of the quickest ways to set you apart from competition. According to her, a brand is more than a logo. It is a living, breathing entity that needs to be carefully crafted and nurtured every day. If you already have a great idea for a product or service and are going into business with longevity, growth and success in mind, having a well-considered brand is paramount. From a clearly defined brand strategy through to a distinct personality, the Big Creative Idea, paired with a compelling story told across a series of branding touch points to create a desired experience for the ideal target audience, you will be a step ahead of many and poised for success.
"Bloom is a boutique branding and design consultancy and that has been very intentional from the outset. We believe in quality over quantity and building strong long-term relationships with our clients remains key. However, we do look forward to expanding our internal team of talent in order to continue supporting the incredible entrepreneurial spirit of women in the UAE and the region," Watson concluded.