Questions about EMARI
Our CEO, Emma-Louise Munro Wilson sat down and answered a few questions about EMARI…
Tell me a bit about EMARI’s story to date?
Well, it’s fair to say that EMARI started by mistake rather than by design!
My only real plan, to begin with, was to hit £100,000 in 18 months because that sounded “about right” and I was conscious I had rent and bills that needed to be paid. We hit six-figures in just over a year.
I decided early on that I wanted to create a small team that could generate big results, using the knowledge and experience I’d gained working for a FTSE 100. In EMARI’s first two years I’ve done exactly that for businesses that range from 500k to 50 million in turnover and we’ve grown steadily at the same time.
Whilst EMARI may not be an award-winning or famous name in the marketing industry, people are getting to know us, especially in Hampshire, London and Amsterdam. They generally respect the work we do, and they refer us to others who need help with all things marketing and sales.
I’m proudest of the fact that I’ve built EMARI in a very homegrown way and our values draw in the amazing people we work with. Being around amazing people doing interesting work is a pretty great way to make a life and I’m proud that the majority of our work still comes through referrals!
What’s EMARI’s ethos and what impact does it have on creative output?
I’m totally invested in our clients’ success – and I put my money where my mouth is!
The team works on a part-fee, part-commission based basis, so we offer lower prices for outsourced marketing and training but then we actively sell our clients products and service to other people in our network and take a commission on any sales made.
It’s a practice that makes sure we always behave as though we are the client and we know as salespeople what kind of marketing collateral or information we need to sell their product or service. Because we’re often on the front line we get all the juicy questions that people ask which means we can improve the content we create for our clients and we get the customer feedback too, so good or bad we can help our clients constantly improve their processes and customer experience, and just keep doing what’s considered best practice too.
What I love about B2B marketing is it can be as exciting as tech, food, beauty or fashion – It’s just about how you approach it. Whether it’s a company or product, we have to get ourselves and our team really excited about it – and I will always find something to be excited about, even if it’s a really boring product because if we don’t think it’s cool – nobody else will.
Tell me about EMARI’s brand – Did you put a lot of thought into it?
Branding exists out of a certain necessity. The whole point of branding is to help your audience distinguish you from the competition and communicate your unique values; to identify you, and identify with you. It’s not just a colour palette and a logo – it’s about communicating better, making meaningful connections & eliciting an emotive response.
When I started EMARI I was absolutely clear that I didn’t want a big, bold identity that SHOUTED and stole the spotlight. I wanted our results to speak for themselves and I think we’ve achieved that.
EMARI itself is a name in three parts. If you combine my husband (Rhodri) and my name together it spells EMARI – because I work for my family and I never want to forget that. It’s also an acronym: “Epic Marketing And Revenue Increase” because we tell stories and focus entirely on results for our clients. EMARI as a word also means “Home, Labour and Power” which reflects what EMARI is all about. EMARI provides a home for my family, it requires hard work and I think marketing when done in the right way truly harnesses the power of people and networks. Being able to call people to action and make a difference through communication – that’s what I love about my job most.
Why did you choose the circle and wave logo?
The logo is simple and elegant – there’s a “code” behind it that our clients get to know when they work with us which explains my unique approach to marketing and we have our own little language that we use with our clients. It adds a little bit of fun, this sense of “We know something you don’t know” – it’s quite childish really but I love it when people come up to me and say “I use ABBA all the time now when I’m planning things!” I have to admit I think that’s really cool.
What’s different about EMARI?
I think the part-fee, part-commission arrangement is unusual for full-service marketing agencies like ours…I think what people also like is the level of transparency and radical candour that I offer to clients. I care deeply about their business, and because of that, I’ll challenge directly if something isn’t working. With my background in strategic transformation at BP, I’m able to add value in myriad ways to a business, people need to realise everyone in their business is in marketing and sales and I will just call things out as I see them – good or bad. It’s a marmite approach – people love it or they hate it.
How would you describe the culture in your office? In what ways does it influence the work EMARI creates?
It’s pretty easy-going, you just have to be passionate and care about one another and above all be honest! I’m a big fan of idea meritocracy so I have a pool of honest advisors – a mix of mentors and clients who give feedback on anything before it goes live so to speak. It means we have access to a much larger pool of inspiration, knowledge and experience which is really useful to us and our other clients. I always listen to what people have to say and make sure everyone feels like they can contribute because it means we can be more versatile with the solutions we come up with.
Is there a particular type of client or work that you find most satisfying?
Working with small and medium-sized business owners is incredibly fulfilling because you are being entrusted to envision someone’s dream. There’s a great deal of trust and collaboration that comes with that. I think empathy is a big part of brand communications so we try to put ourselves in the client’s shoes and then the shoes of their customers as well. I run a small business so I understand that for many of them, this is what they eat, breathe, sleep and dream about day-in and day-out because I’m exactly the same so it’s incredibly fulfilling when you can help people in the same boat.
Whilst we work with businesses that range from 50k to 50million turnover usually but we don’t have a niche per se. We are very clear on the types of clients that we will work with and who we won’t work with. It’s why on our About Us section we have an About Us and an About You because it’s really important to start off in the right way with values and behaviours – BP taught me that!
I like working with companies that give back in some way most. For example we have a client who runs a very big printing factory – they do a youth inspiration day for the children from a local school each year; we work with a chain of hotels that give 1,000 voluntary hours per year per hotel to charity; we work with a small firm of immigration solicitors who are leaders in their field – currently working with the EU Commission on Brexit – we love them because they often offer their services to those who can’t afford them. Some of our smaller clients give free or discounted training, products or services to other EMARI clients … it’s those sorts of things that really add value to our network which is growing every day and we always learn from our clients as well.
What do you do at EMARI to make a difference?
We plant a tree if someone buys The Marketing MOT – we’re part of a project to create the largest new native forest in the heart of England. We also arrange regular beach cleans and other community-based activities throughout the year. We offer 8 hours per month per employee to work with non-profits and charities and we also donate a reasonable percentage of our profits to various charities as well.