Team Spotlight: Marketing Manager, Kim Barnard

After a year at Cognique, we speak to Kim about her first year working agency side, her love of people, storytelling and building relationships. 

Have you always been interested in marketing?

That’s a very good question and the answer is ‘yes’ (there’s a bit of a story)! When I was in Year 10 at school, doing my GCSEs I had a business mentor who worked as a Marketing Manager in a local business. It was such a great initiative and I ended up doing work experience with her and just found something I really enjoyed. She gave me direction which then led me to go to university to study marketing and the rest as they say is history. I’d love to be able to do something similar for the younger generations.

We are still in touch now, and weirdly we’ve both gone from living in Frome, to only a few miles apart over in Glastonbury / Street!

How does agency life differ to previous marketing roles?

It’s very different! I’ve always worked in a marketing team within a larger business, so moving agency side was a real change, but something I’ve embraced. There are a couple of elements that I particularly love. One, the variation in client work; getting to know each client and their business and being part of their journey. Working with different clients across multiple sectors is also brilliant as it just allows for so much learning and transferring of skills which you can then adapt for others. There’s always something new happening in our industry to keep us on our toes!

The other element is a big bonus; there’s no dilution of your role and you don’t get pulled into multiple internal meetings! There’s definitely a preconception in some businesses that marketing can throw their hand at anything. The reality is very different; there are many elements to marketing and each have their own specialisms and you’ll struggle (in fact, it’s fair to say it’s impossible) to find one person who can do everything. Another benefit is that you don’t always have to ‘sell’ the value of marketing – the businesses we work with know there is a business need, and it just makes the relationship so much sweeter. 

Tell us more about your role at Cognique

As Marketing Manager, I work closely with Nige, Amy and Hannah (each have their own expertise and specialisms), creating marketing strategies and implementing them for all our clients as well as Cognique.

Whenever we meet with new or existing clients, we’re always talking about how we can support them to reach their business goals. Getting to know their business inside out, what are their pain points, ambitions and goals for their business across the next year, five years and beyond.

We speak regularly with all our clients, and it honestly feels like Cognique are an extension of their business or marketing team. I love the fact we are available to bounce ideas around, and whether that’s speaking with the business owner or one of their team, we’re here to support their growth and ambition.

Spending time on Cognique is also incredibly important and I love focusing on our individual strengths. There’s so much expertise and experience between the six of us, from web development, UX and website design, SEO, PPC, content writing, strategy and business development to name just a few. All our clients benefit from access to this expertise and that’s a huge USP for Cognique.

Do you prefer doing the ‘work’, managing the clients / team – or a mix of both?

Definitely a mix of both, I absolutely love going to meet clients and we’ve been doing more of that recently. I get a real buzz about creating relationships, whether that’s with clients or within the team. Finding out about people and their business stories creates more impactful relationships and content, which is critical within my role! I always feel that you learn so much about someone when you go into their world, and the things they don’t think are talking points generally are!

The strategic part of my role is really enjoyable, thinking about how we can help achieve our clients’ business goals and how we, as their marketing function, support and educate them. We want to give our clients real ROI and because we’re focused on what we’re trying to achieve, constantly analysing and reporting, we’re well placed to do this. We can benchmark against other businesses, always bringing best practice to our relationships.      

Managing the team has also been really refreshing and we all have very different roles, which when combined adds so much value. My favourite parts of the week are when we’re all in together, bouncing ideas around which we can implement, re-purpose and use for ourselves and our clients.

Can you give us an idea of what the next couple of years look like at Cognique?

Building the team, we have such a great team of people and each one brings something different to Cognique. We all have a similar outlook on life and work, but very different personalities! Everyone’s driven, ambitious and hardworking; it’s such a fun and dynamic business and I’m proud to be part of it.

As well as building the team, we also want to attract new clients. Working with ambitious business owners is something we’re all really passionate about. The skills that we all bring to the table help support their business goals through strategic marketing; and a robust plan really helps to see growth and results.

If you were to give a business three pieces of marketing advice, what would they be?

Okay, here we go…

1. Be clear of your goals

Always align your marketing strategy with your business plan and be clear about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. Analyse, report, amend if necessary and repeat!

2. People first

People buy people and whatever your business, I think those who interact, buy products or engage with your services like to know who’s behind it all. Personal brand is talked about so much and it helps support a businesses’ brand in so many ways. I’m a firm believer in always being your authentic self and that should come through loud and clear. If you have people that love to talk about your brand and USPs let them! 

3. Storytelling

Within your marketing strategy you’ll have the key goals of what you want to achieve, but how are you going to do that, which platforms and techniques are you using? Whether you combine, SEO, paid advertising, content marketing or social media, they all involve storytelling. Why would someone want to engage or work with your business? It’s all in the story.

I’m guessing you have a life outside of Cognique?

I have indeed and joining Cognique has allowed me to have more of that work / life balance, which I’m very thankful for. I’m married to Allan and we have Freddie who’s just turned six and a black lab called Hugo. The majority of our time is spent trying to wear out both Freddie and Hugo, we love going to the beach and spending time by the sea! It’s our happy place and no matter what time of year you’ll always find us heading to Woolacombe for a beach walk!

Over the past year, I’ve been focusing on getting a better balance and trying to find what I enjoy again, after putting my hobbies on hold with a young son and a busy career. I’ve just started pilates which I love and this complements a passion for walking which I love to do to unwind, I spent a lot of time in lockdown walking miles with Hugo when we were allowed!

As a family we love to travel and looking forward to the world opening back up again so we can go back to Australia for a holiday! 

Final question: cocktail or pint?  

Without question, it’s a cocktail – an Espresso Martini to be exact!

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Our industry expert

Nigel Reece

Managing Director

Standing at the helm of Cognique, Nige is a strong believer in the value of professional networking and strong business relationships. He also still finds time to exercise his creative muscles, designing attention-grabbing brand guidelines and concept boards for our clients.

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