Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Honestly, I fell into it from a very young age I had grown up with two parents with sickening work ethics and work rates. Graft to me came very naturally, and I excelled in making things happen and look effortless. I wanted a pony at a young age and my father a very successful auto businessman and ex rallying champion said if you want a pony you need to save up and buy yourself one. Otherwise, you will never understand the value of money. So at 15 outside of school I had 4 jobs and saved up enough to buy myself a horse.
One of these jobs was a combination of both promotional work on experiential marketing campaigns and TV extra work. It was through the experiential marketing that I built strong relationships with other promotional models and staff across the UK. I would then work as both event manager and staff booker at 16 helping book staff right across the UK and Ireland. It was during this time that I built strong relationships with the top London experiential marketing agency owners. This led them to offer me a short work experience in the offices in Wimbledon. On my second day, they offered me a job as Staff Agency Manager. I had recently completed a Masters degree in UWIC, so it was perfect timing for a move from Cardiff to London. I progressed my career further by adding my social psychology principles to staffing team dynamics. I got headhunted and diversified my skill set at the Account Manager level being strong with my business development and relationship management skill sets. After pitching and winning some remarkable multi-million-pound contracts, I kept getting offered opportunities across a high-end Marketing network of top agents in London.
I moved home due to my father getting ill, and after my father had recovered to full health I pushed forward, and I got on the first wave of social media marketing before anyone else had even considered it. Coming back to Cardiff and being one of the first helped me stay ahead of a lot of potential competitors. After a series of jobs from NHS business services center, marketing to working with a Channel 4 Secret Millionaire on his brands and businesses driving huge success with PR and Marketing campaigns. This didn’t go unnoticed, and a lot of leading businessmen said to name my price and to go and work with them. I decided the time was right to strike-out and set up a Digital Marketing Agency named after my then late father’s initials PMG Peacock Media Group. This took off rapidly to everyone’s surprise around me but most of all to my surprise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR0ppNiWQ1g
After losing my father, I took all of my energy and put everything I had into the business and trying to build a better future.
This, in short, is how I got into my career.
I now run my own 1:1 high-end digital marketing and PR consultancy in Cardiff called Sian Gunney Consulting.
I work with the top flyers in digital marketing and bring these individuals and companies on to support myself with more massive contracts for branding, web design, app building, SEO and Digital ads and media buying. Together we form a powerhouse which helps brands take their business to the next level and beyond.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
Probably the most exciting story is about the law of attraction in how new clients come to work with me. I was in Marbella with a good friend of mine, and I met this incredible ex-emergency heart surgeon, a fabulous, intelligent and eccentric man in a bar. We got talking, and my friend sang my praises regarding my Digital Marketing and PR success in Wales. He said well my son has invented an incredible skincare drink, it’s a nutraceutical he’s a famous actor and his wife is a supermodel they have the best PR and Marketing people working on the brand in London but I know he really needs you. I thought it wouldn’t come to anything and 3 months later I’m in London as Head of Digital Marketing for Skinade. A contract that was only meant to be 6 months turned into a core client of 16 months as Head of Digital Marketing for skin made nutraceutical. I elevated the brand’s digital profile to one with over 400% increase in online sales. With celebrity gifting bringing in names such as Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Tom Ford, Victoria Beckham, and Reese Witherspoon. Via digital PR strategies, we have gained press in British Vogue, Vogue Paris, Spanish Vogue, Raconteur with over 300 high-end publications.
Early this year the brand has won it’s 9th and 10th beauty awards as voted by the consumers for Best Beauty Supplement and Best Health Supplement. Yet I have also saved them 19K a month on PPC advertising every month.
Within the first 9 months, we had doubled the business via new professional beauty businesses, cosmetic surgeons and GP prescribers becoming stockists. Thus strengthening the backbone of the company and growing the distribution across the UK. Also enabling a launch into the USA and the UAE.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I walked out of a multi-million-pound pitch with a major tech brand. We touch three things every day that this brand makes without even knowing it. I got a standing ovation on an annual 6 million pound contract with a potential 100,000,000 role out… After my standing ovation, I walked out of the incredible board room and walked into the cupboard rather than the exit door!
I was mortified, but I laughed it off … thankfully my digital marketing strategy and skills in delivery are much better than my sense of direction.
Learning to pause and allow others to lead the way… and to get to any meetings in the car, I live by using Waze as I accept that my sense of direction has never been great. Something that a lot of creative people often quietly admit to.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
Now as a consultant I make my company stand out. People buy into people, not brands. I refuse to do anything by half I take great pride in the work that I do for clients. I’m very persistent, and I won’t give up until I have achieved the results or obliterated the goals and milestones.
From Ed Sheeran and Lionel Richie visiting my client last years reference and a brand of over a decade that had not had excellent PR attention suddenly got global press and recognition.
Winning awards for Dominos Pizza UK accounts across social media for their creativity and engagement.
Winning innovation activation award for Marketing for Chrysler for my clients auto marketing campaign.
To getting influencers recognition across social media leading to large scale awards and honor lists.
Getting praise from Barry McGuigan MBE and the amazing McGuigan family team for my work for Cyclone Promotions last year.
Seeing my dearest friend Dilys Price OBE win special recognition in Pride Of Britain Awards after my nomination.
Watching my clients Weir Rallying UK last year their brand, car wrap and fleet wrap all come together and the launch of the rallying team break records for views, engagement, and press interest.
I like fixing things, I love joining the dots to connect people and help make amazing things happen. For me it’s easy I take great enjoyment from making other people wealthy and ultimately happy with their success. I only represent the clients that I really believe in, and I see such potential in people, and often this is only stifled by their own lack of confidence. So I do all I can so that they see what I see and gain an unwavering self -belief which helps them drive forward for a bigger and better life.
I get such a buzz from seeing clients businesses and lives transformed for the better.
There’s no greater joy for me or a sense of purpose.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I struggle with this, so my toolkit as below is invaluable.
Train and stay fit it helps you to stop burnout and getting ill. Healthy body, healthy mind, and much more productive working. Being burnt out will lead to mediocre work and results.
I don’t want anything mediocre in my life.
Say NO without explaining … too much in my past, I have said yes to the wrong things. I’m a recovering people pleaser.
A digital detox day once a week or at least once a fortnight what some people call a zombie day, no phone, no screens, no social media.
Get outside forests, beaches, countryside life, and inspiration happens away from the screen, Walking, phone free. (My dogs are my savior’s at busy times)
Practice daily meditation and mindfulness.
Most of all what my amazing fiancé Ashley Charlton has taught me… mini breaks are everything!
Plan them carefully, so they don’t impede too much on workload. With risks come reward see the world and stay impeccably organized to make the most of these. You cannot serve from an empty vessel. Self-care and self-love is imperative to maintaining success particularly when you work for yourself.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Wow, where do I start?
For my father my protector my best friend my love who lit up my world and showed me the way.
For my mother who has taught me bravery and courage beyond words and challenged me to try harder to do more.
Dilys Price OBE my dearest friend and matron of honor who is soul-food and has taught me so much! To face my fears so that they will never hold me back. Compassion and Love is always the answer, and we must still help those who need it the most. She reminds me it’s never too late and I’m never too much. To Enzo Calzaghe who taught me that family is bigger than just blood and always to stand my ground and to never ever doubt myself or feel sorry for myself and to never ever give up on my dreams or my fitness. To Matthew Pritchard who has shown me that we should not listen to people that tell us to talk more quietly or to be less. We should surround ourselves with people that ask us to be more, more ourselves than ever. Our uniqueness is what gives us real power. We should never dim our light in order to make other people feel more comfortable. Every client I have ever had has taught me something. I think everything is a teacher if you pay attention. There’s always more to learn.
To my fiance Ash who taught me about financial structuring and financial management and shows me how to make the smartest choices and investments with my time and energy and won’t allow people to take advantage of my good heart and intentions.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I helped raise awareness and funds for the Red Sock Campaign raising thousands and increasing the visibility of the Red Sock Campaign on social media :
I organized an event in honor of my late father and raised thousands for City Hospice via this event and trekking the Grand Canyon:
I jumped out of a plane to conquer my fear of heights and to keep a word to my best friend Dilys Price OBE raising funds for the INCREDIBLE Touch Trust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa40ar86jxk
And I DID IT!
Our friendship grew, and I have helped Dilys find a literary agent, and she is working on his first book, and I’m endlessly proud of her and her continued work now in Japan and going global and for older generations in care homes :
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
THIS VIDEO Will Smith talking about the Law of Attraction
I had the honor to be asked by the Director of Llamau the formidable Frances Beecher to come and speak at City Hall in Cardiff on International Women’s day and while other people quoted Eleanor Roosevelt and Maya Angelo I quoted this speech by Will Smith word for word. Which followed a talk I gave about my parents getting seriously ill while I set up my company and charities and children we had supported on their campaigns such as For Luca. I also gave everyone a gratitude rock (From the book the secret by Rhondda Byrne). I told them every morning when they woke up to hold the stone and think out loud about all the things they were grateful for and if they couldn’t think of anything … they had their hands and legs, they have their eyes they can see, their ears they can hear, their friends they can hug… the air they can breathe, another day to make a difference to someone else….
To this day I still get people messaging me about their gratitude rock and all the fantastic things that had happened since.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
YOUR INSTINCT IS EVERYTHING that little voice inside always knows best
Your lawyer, your accountant/ bookkeeper and your bank manager should be the best friends you can find
Say NO more than you ever say yes
Look at varied and diverse income streams 7 is the magic number
The most successful people have to have the most difficult conversations
Extra bonus – Fast growth should only be built on solid ground the people you have around you are everything
Extra bonus – Remove any toxic relationships from your life both personal or professional as these are drains and have a massive impact on your future success. If something feels off it usually is, trust your instinct!
You are a person of significant influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would do a programme so that young people visited old peoples homes weekly and could bring pets in. I would encourage them to go into care homes, and Dilys Price OBE Laban-based prescriptive awakening programme (inspired by her Touch Trust Program) of dance and movement would go into care homes for the elderly and for those profoundly disabled worldwide.
I would encourage a system in education from a young age at pre-school that was based around a daily good deed and compassion for someone in need. Those children would share what they had done each day as part of their morning reception.
I would encourage the two things we have lost in life and can’t buy back the commodity of time and community to be set as importance for millennials and 30-40-year-old groups. So that we embrace and support each other and our neighbors outside of social media that we lose the need to compare showreels on social media and instead start meeting in supportive groups and rebuilding what community really means. I would encourage a blackout day once a fortnight from social media where these groups meet and do not post or share but just be together to improve mental health and so people can build real relationships and not judge people based on superficial things that aren’t really important. Perhaps a local project where people team up to help local families in need or rebuild schools and playgrounds on this day. Or simply have coffee and cake and talk. I know how controversial for a digital marketer to state the importance of just being together. I did the Dalai Lama trek last year, and for me, it was a mighty spiritual awakening, and this has brought me to my most recent personal project where I’m starting to write books… children’s books like no others out there… watch this space!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/SianGunney/
For business :
Twitter : https://twitter.com/SGC_Digital
Email any enquiries to [email protected]
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
An Interview with Brooke Mason; A Pioneer for Women in the Creative Industry
Australian-born Brooke Mason is so much more than just a photographer. Unafraid and not intimidated by change and breaking the rules, she is everything the creative industry aspires to be. Brooke prides herself on running a creative agency with a single mission: to help women succeed. Already this year, Brooke Mason Creative became a Certified Woman Owned Business.
Since being in Los Angeles, Brooke has immersed herself in the entertainment world and has photographer known artists and actors for magazines like Glamor, InStyle, and Angeleno.
We sit down with Brooke to find out a little more about how she got to where she is today, what inspires her, and what she wants to do in the future.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I was inspired by wanting to capture my environment, the way I saw things as an artist. I started at a very young age, so at the time, it wasn’t deep thoughts of a career. In fact, my parents are professional business people and being an artist was not a career path that they supported. It was just a passion that I never gave up on and the point I was making money and didn’t need to do other things, I realised, “Hey, this is my career!”.
How did you transition from being a photographer to owning a creative agency?
As a photographer I wasn’t just capturing images. I was hired to art direct, manage projects, castings and aligning with brands. It was 15 years of background that lead to this, however I did study communication at University.
My most memorable work experience was with one of the largest advertising agencies in Sydney, Australia. I was in awe of the complexities of how it ran. I naturally hung out with the creative department more than any other, however my 15 years years of directing on set as a photographer has given me the confidence to work as a team, art direct and have a project come to life. That’s the most exciting part of my job, seeing a seed of an idea come to fruition.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
Dedication! A lot of this is probably a natural inclination and I find people asking me if I’m scared about not having a regular paycheck or knowing how much is going to come in. Yes, it can be daunting, however, you have to be a risk taker and most entrepreneurs thrive on that. I like the pressure it brings, I thrive on the deadline and after some time you learn to overcome your own self doubts, fears and strive for your best. There is nothing else like it. I will say, I do work much longer hours and days than most of my friends who aren’t, but the reward for me is much higher.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced on your journey so far?
There are two main challenges that I faced in the past and continue to face from time to time.
One – not knowing when the phone will ring. You can be sailing high on a bunch of jobs
and then all of a sudden it’s quiet. It’s really hard not to have a freak-out.
Two – being a younger female is a male driven business world. As much as I’d like to say this doesn’t exist anymore and as fortunate as I am to live in such an open minded town, this is still very relevant and we as women are still not seen as; intelligent, capable and successful to our male peers.
What is your ultimate goal?
I believe in striving and moving forward with continual growth. I don’t have an ultimate goal,
but I am looking forward to growing my team and bringing in bigger projects for 2019. I already feel blessed with so much we have done this past year.
What motivates you in business?
I’m motivated by creating beautiful masterpieces, even if that’s just a stunning website, it’s awesome!
What are you most passionate about?
When it comes to life; Art, aesthetics and beauty. When it’s my work; I love to see people happy, pleasing our clients is my number one driving factor.
Do you have a secret to your success?
Focusing on being the best at what you do and being honest with yourself – if it’s not your
forte, being okay with finding someone else for that task. There is no ego in my business, we all collaborate and if there’s a better idea we run with that. “Ego’s” gets in peoples way, it stiffens your creativity, your success and your opportunities.
What are your proudest achievements?
It’s always one you haven’t had yet!
What differentiates you from your business peers?
Everyone has their unique talents and I adore some of the other creative agencies who do similar work to us. I guess the main difference I see is my background is heavily in art directing and visual curation so we are heavily focused on branding and the end result. We are small, so clients get to talk with all of us and we are all very engaged in every project that happens.
Do you have a motto that you stand by?
Being authentic. I make an effort to keep strong ethics, stay honest and be as real as I can.
What are the most important qualities that have been most beneficial on your journey?
Working hard is by far the most important thing when you have your own business. Sometimes you have to say no to fabulous social events, but keeping clients happy and delivering work on time is crucial.
What is the best advice you could give to someone starting out as an entrepreneur?
It’s important to have big goals and dreams so I wouldn’t want to ever squash those for somebody starting out. Be prepared to put in the work, turn down party offers from friends, stay up late into the evening fulfilling your dreams and up early to conquer the day.
What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a female in the business world?
Not being taken seriously. I find the main challenge as a woman in this male-centric world is
that men think we may not be as capable or as intelligent. It’s a fine balance to prove yourself without doing it in a way that is forceful and contrived. It’s important to not give up and let prejudices get in your way.
Who do you most admire and why?
I’m inspired by strong powerful women! It wasn’t until leaving Australia and crossing over
into the workforce that I really saw a difference in culture. Though I adore the US and everything it has to offer when it comes to women in the workforce, Australia definitely has superior viewpoints on women. When I see these amazing women here breaking glass ceilings and succeeding, I am in true admiration.
How many employees do you have?
My team ranges depending on the projects we are doing and how many hands we need. But, on a regular basis, we are a small group of eight. On larger projects, we sometimes have upwards of 15 people.
If you had to choose another job, what would it be and why?
I have always been impressed with Doctors and how much knowledge they have. If I was to do school again, knowing what I know now, I might consider going to medical school and doing dermatology or some sort of surgery.
How do you spend your spare time?
I adore going hiking, being in nature, fishing and exploring new terrain. I’m also always up for trying anything new. I like a good movie as much as an adventure.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I adore movies from the 90’s! A few of my old time favorites are The Professional, Casino, Practical Magic and Federico Fellini’s films for the visuals.
Tell us a little about yourself?
These days, I’m a combination of an Aussie at heart and an American day to day. I’m proud to have grown up with my roots firmly planted in Australia, you can’t have an inflated ego living there and it keeps me grounded. My family also helps with that!
When I first lived in NYC, I was in awe of what an incredible country this is, a driven country with goals of exceeding your expectations. I’m proud to be both American and Australian now.
How would you describe your style?
I adore fashion and I like to stay up to date with trends, but only if they align with my taste. I’d say I’m a combination of 70’s glam, with a hint of menswear, I’m all about duality, I love femininity mixed with the strength of a tailored jacket. I’m certainly not afraid to choose bold colors, unusual shapes and design.
Keep up with Brooke’s beautiful photographs and busy life on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/brookemasonphoto/?hl=en).
Dan “Tito” Davis connects with Dalai Lama during 7 Continent Book Tour
World Traveler and Renowned South Dakota Bestselling Author of “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” Dan “Tito” Davis has just wrapped up his seven continent book signing tour in Antarctica. Davis has been promoting his book and his message of growth through adversity for the last 18 months after being released from prison. Before then Tito spent 13 years on the run from the US government as an international fugitive. Davis is one of the first, if not the only author, to do a book signing tour across all seven continents.
You took your bestselling book “Gringo: My Life on the Edge as an International Fugitive” around the world. How did you get the idea to do a seven-continent book signing tour?
When my book went number one on Amazon I did my first world tour in 53 days. After that, I continued to promote my book. Recently when I was in Argentina I realized that I had done book signings on every continent other than Antarctica. At that point, I decided to knock out the seven continents, which meant heading to Antarctica.
I was in contact with John McKeon, the President of Polar Latitudes, and I let him know that my goal for this cruise was to do a book signing in a penguin colony in Antarctica. I also let him know that this book signing would be on my seventh continent. I would like to thank Polar Latitudes for making my adventure possible. They have a very attentive and professional staff which made this adventure extremely memorable and comfortable.
Your book is about your life on the run as a fugitive, and how you turned it all around to become a famous South Dakota writer. What was the reaction to your book while you were on tour?
Just about everyone has been extremely positive in regards to my book. Many of them are intrigued when they meet me because they’ve never met an international fugitive, or I should say former international fugitive, before. A few people have asked me if I’m still a fugitive. Laugh out loud! I tell them if I was a fugitive I sure wouldn’t be out here in the front of the room promoting this book!!! I’d be back in a corner trying to slip away.
During your travels, you met the Dalai Lama and gave him a copy of your book. What was that like?
I was fortunate enough to have a private audience with his Holiness the Dalai Lama while I was in India. At that time I believe he was 83 years old, and he looked 20 years younger. He had five rings of security around him. You could not take your own camera or phone into the temple. It was like going through airport security in the United States but you didn’t get your items back until you were leaving his temple. Only the Dalai Lama’s official photographer was allowed to take pictures.
The Dalai Lama is definitely a professional. He was very outgoing, very kind and asked me what my book was about. I told him it was about the same thing you’re preaching Your Holiness, it is about perseverance, it is about survival, and it is about life. He told me that those are very important qualities. He then put his forehead to my forehead and held up my book with his free hand.
I couldn’t believe it! My forehead is touching the Dalai Lama’s forehead and he’s holding up my book. I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario. I had a special feeling of peace and tranquility when I was with the Dalai Lama. It is a hard feeling to accurately describe.
Becoming A Successful Music Artist: 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry With A Certain Energy
I had the pleasure of interviewing Shain Romanowski, better known by stage name A Certain Energy, is a hip hop artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana and a U.S. Marine veteran. Here’s 5 Tips On How To Survive In The Music Industry he gave:
Branding yourself can take you a long ways when it comes to an image you want representing yourself. As a musical artist you would want people to know that image. Some people go about this with a logo, whereas others go with this by a tag on a beat. Think of it like this, you want something external representing you out in public that people would recognize. That they can use to differentiate yourself from the competition. This can become a long term promotional tool for you if executed properly at the same time.
Know your market.
This ties closely with branding. Once you know your brand you want to market yourself to the right demographics. For instance it wouldn’t make sense for a hip hop artist to market themselves into a alternative rock field. This just wouldn’t sell right. Lose more money that way. Come at it with a business approach. You are the product, and the product needs to connect with the people that they find more use for you with. That’s the way I see it.
Don’t burn bridges (unless it is vital).
In an industry as tough as ours we need to come at it from a team perspective. You don’t make it by yourself no matter how you “self-made” you think you are. There are connections you made that got you opportunities in the first place. The moment you burn that bridge you put a strain on the newly developed relationship you had gotten from the previous burned down bridge. I’m not saying bury your dignity away, but all it takes is a little respect towards the ones that already put their foot in the door to let you in (as long as you’re worth the time to open the door for).
If you know me personally I am a big advocate on basketball legend Kobe Bryant who played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2016. His belief was to always be better than the opponent from all angles. Always be faster than the opponent. Be more defensive. Be more aggressive. You want to want it more than the opponent in front of you. In music this is what you want to be. The more passion you have than the other guy would take you a long ways. You’re more willing to accept risks. You’re more willing to take what you can get, but strive for more in the process. This mentality is clearly an ambitious feat that not all people have. You can’t just force this onto someone. This comes from the heart within. Only you know if you truly desire the success in whichever field you strive for. In this case with musical arts.
Don’t be afraid of failure.
Failure is what either makes you or breaks you. Take failure more for advice instead of taking it to heart. I’ve seen plenty of people venture into a field expecting automatic success just because they have that As Seen On TV mindset seeing someone else accomplish something. Every story is different, so don’t come in thinking everything is going to be easy, set, and automatically golden right from the get go. Every victory you receive is earned. I would rather have it that way too since it would be a win-win either way. Why? Because you value more, and value is the most important thing in my opinion with human traits. What ever we value most to us always seems to have more leverage with any possible outcome.
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