Mum’s the Word for Business Success

It may only be in its first trimester, but 2019 is already a boom year for ex-radio presenter and mum-of-two, Kiesha Humphreys who is celebrating her fourth year at the helm of Icon Marketing Communications Ltd. In that time, Icon, a specialist marketing consultancy based in Wilmslow, has been responsible for a number of SME business success stories across Cheshire and Manchester.

Kiesha Humphreys  Photo credit: Senem Peace Photography

Kiesha Humphreys

Photo credit: Senem Peace Photography

Kiesha explains; “I set up the business after the birth of my first son, and Icon is an anagram of his name, Nico. I’d been working at a senior level at a large advertising agency in Manchester, and while I was on maternity leave it struck me that there is a gap in the market for a reasonably priced and flexible marketing resource, in the area.”

Kiesha has first-hand experience of smaller businesses approaching large agencies and being put off by the cost. She says, “Bigger organisations can be a bit intimidating to smaller businesses – especially when they only need a one-off marketing facility or a bespoke marketing service.”

While larger organisations often don’t see the immediate potential in helping businesses when they’re starting out or are at the ‘expansion phase’, Kiesha seizes the opportunity to put her big agency knowledge and international marketing expertise to the test.

“For the past 15 years I’ve worked in the UK and South East Asia. In this time, I’ve seen the communications climate change dramatically – and it still is changing, year on year”.

In tandem with her ‘day’ job as a Business Development Manager for upmarket restaurant chain, Gusto, Kiesha honed her communications skills as a regular Radio Presenter for Cheshire’s Silk 106.9, BBC Radio Manchester and Capital (formerly Galaxy 102). It meant she had her finger on the pulse of all kinds of media. “I’m a natural-born communicator,” she says, “I was increasingly drawn to digital channels and I could see that the major draw of digital is its level of accountability and significant ROI”.

Photo credit: Jonathan Farber

Photo credit: Jonathan Farber

As well as running Icon, Kiesha has spent the last year completing her Google Ads certifications and working on SEO projects with a number of clients.

Kiesha continues; “There is still a need for an integrated marketing communications strategy to support and strengthen the digital aspect, including PR, events and traditional print and radio advertising”.

Kiesha says; “While we’re based in Wilmslow, we often work from The Workspace in Handforth, a beautiful co-worker environment that has flexible terms – it’s great for businesses who want to collaborate. We work with businesses of all sizes to provide one-off support or ongoing marketing management (across the mix) in and around Manchester and Cheshire. We create tailor made packages in line with our clients’ budgets or we can offer bespoke solutions to suit their needs.”

The Workspace Handforth Meeting Room  Photo credit: Compton Harry Photography

The Workspace Handforth Meeting Room

Photo credit: Compton Harry Photography

It’s not every day a company can benefit from marketing experience of the kind Icon can deliver, without the international agency price tag. With so many success stories under her belt – and plenty more waiting to happen, Kiesha is more than happy to spread the good news.

For more information visit www.iconmarketingcommunications.co.uk .

To celebrate its fourth year. Icon Marketing Communications Ltd is offering all readers a 1 hour complimentary marketing consultation. For more details, please contact Kiesha on kiesha@iconmarketingcommunications.co.uk or call 07979940526.

The Workspace can be contacted on 01625 522209 or via email info@theworkspace.uk

For more information visit www.theworkspace.uk.

The Birth of Icon Marketing Communications

As my first blog I thought the best place to start would be to talk about how and why I set up my own marketing communications consultancy.

I went to University in Leeds and studied a degree in Media, Communication and Cultural studies. It was quite a diverse course where we learnt about the practical side of media as well as theory. We did work placements in related industries I chose PR (I really wanted to do a placement at a radio station), but communication is communication. At Uni we were taught to analyse things and look for the hidden meaning in things. Such as the stereotypical roles used in Disney films like the jive talking smoking crows in Dumbo. There are many subtle messages in mainstream media like the constant barrage of negative programming such as ‘Benefits Britain: Life on the Dole’. ‘EastEnders’ depiction of Stacey’s battle with post-partum psychosis or even the late George Michael's lyrics in his hit tune Faith.  We can learn a lot from the media we consume both positive and negative.

Having spent several years working in marketing/advertising/business development and radio change was on the horizon when I fell pregnant with my first son Nico. During my maternity leave I threw myself into various projects not to mention Mums & Tots groups. But if I’m honest they weren’t my cup of tea and believe me there was always plenty of tea! The only class I felt was useful was Tiny Talk a baby sign language class. Where babies learn useful signs to communicate with their parents before they can speak. I remember going round the circle when we were asked how many signs our babies had done and my answer was always none (but who’s to say the other Mums were telling the truth?). Many months later and even now Nico does various signs for me and has even learnt more.

Anyway the maternity leave went by quickly and it was time to take on the dreaded commute on the M60 to Salford Quays. I knew it would be tough (husband often works abroad) but I wanted to keep my independence and small income once nursery fees where paid. The world of media and particular social media is constantly evolving so if you take time out for too long it’s a major setback. It was becoming challenging taking on the commute and with no work from home option available I regrettably handed in my notice. With the encouragement of my husband I decided to set up my own marketing communications consultancy. Thankfully since setting up I have learnt so much including how to build websites.

Working as a sole trader is a tough slog; finding new business, getting expensive contracts written up, paying for office space and dealing with late payers. A survey by the Federation of Small Business in March 2015 found that 43 per cent of firms have waited over 90 days beyond the agreed payment date before they got the money they were owed. Is it any wonder that so many small businesses fail?

The hardest thing of all was coming up with a name it took me long enough to agree on a name for my children this was going to be just as challenging. After weeks of shortlisting I finally settled on ‘Icon Marketing Communications’, Icon being an anagram of Nico.

Icon Marketing Communications is designed to help businesses just like mine, people with an idea that just needs promoting to the outside world to attract customers. If you’d like to discuss your marketing requirements, please feel free to get in touch kiesha@iconmarketingcommunications.co.uk or 01625 533102