What led you into doing what you do?
How did you get into doing what you do now?
My business provides a space to create thoughtful and positive, business clarity and strategy. Born out of going against my experience of working with large organisations. And wanting to change the behaviour from telling customers what was on offer for them, into listening and talking with customers to design the right product or service.
For a while I became focused on contract working and learnt a lot from one of my favourite experiences as part of the Habitat brand. At the time, they were dedicated to educating their consumers about the true value of their products; how they were designed, their colour, texture, who they were made by and where. This 360-approach inspired me to go on to encourage my clients about the power of telling the whole story.
I took my experience to a small, independent business that was striving to be heard against the corporate noise, eager to listen and learn from their customers and tailor their solutions to the need not greed.
It was at this point CMR came to life. Encouraging business owners to show their character and embrace a confidence in who they are and where they want to be.
What is it about doing ALL THIS that gets you excited?
Every time I talk with a new client or get to the next session with an existing client, I feel so excited. Although our sessions have goals and are results oriented, the process is so idea and creatively driven, we can go down some amazing paths, totally unexpected and extremely fruitful.
From coming to me with a tangle of a to do list, goals, challenges, frustrations, and moving through these in a calm, practical way, gives business owners the opportunity to release their thoughts and ideas where we can assemble them into a more creative and personal strategy. With priorities, timeframes and achievable goals. Removing the overwhelm and creating a roadmap of positive actions. All of which are flexible, to accommodate when things change, or they do!
Bonus question! What’s your favourite fruit?
That would be lime – I make the most amazing lime, fish sauce + chilli drizzle, plus it goes in every smoothy, also makes a margarita and mojito (heaven!) and reminds of summer all year round.
Who are your favourite kinds of clients?
My favourite clients are those who are brave in seeking out a business partner, honest about their goals or challenges, and want to grow or adapt. They all care passionately about what they are creating for their customers.
When we are totally open about why we do what we do, what we want out of that role and how to take it where we want it to be, everything changes. There’s an electricity of excitement, passion and focus. The anxiety and frustrations lessen. Great ideas are are formed, and decisions are made with clarity and vision.
What brands out there are you in awe of doing this really well?
People continue to inspire me with their generosity, time and authenticity, despite what may be happening to or around them.
On a local level I love watching Small and Green Cambridge, a plant power business run by Janet. Who has really changed her business model following the loss of sales from her market stall and has found the courage to go live on social, do workshops and pop ups. All of which, she said, seemed overwhelming at the beginning of lockdown. And still continues to develop with a new collaborative opportunity on the way. Watch this space!
On a broader level I have found Simon Sinek, who’s mantra is ’to inspire people to do things that inspire them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better”.
Simon is an eternal optimist, and he gives me hope, that it’s possible to maintaining and focus that optimism and collaborative behaviour with my clients.
And I remember how you caught me with your April fool email – I thought you were so amazing. Why and how you changed your brand to argon banana. I was so engrossed in the story it made me congratulate you. What a win for your clients, if they want to impact their audience or change their message, you showed the story behind the actions.
The effect of what you do on the next step of the pyramid? How do you see it feeding into Story?
To Story from Strategy: My relationship with clients is focused on bringing a calm and clear pathway. By using the softer framework of a Business Model, we can begin our journey of untangling and simplifying your ‘business biography’. Bringing together your values, purpose, vision and messaging from the core elements of your business.
Having understood your customers and formed key business objectives, you will have already started using the words that mean so much to you and your buying audience. It is so important to show your heart and passion in your story. Don’t be afraid of being honest.
Any final words?
Don’t be shy, be brave – if Anne-Marie can go on TV we can all share our journey, tell our story and help those around us 🙂