Sep 12

Brand Your Startup On A Shoestring, Focus On: Andrea Shillington

A Brand New Day

In more ways than one, it’s an exciting new global market out there for business. Customers are choosing brands that align with their values because they see through marketing superlatives.  In other words, the new consumer can see through the fluff.  Ask Andrea Shillington about it, and she might point out, “There’s a whole new type of shopper.  A conscious shopper.”  She adds, “Consumer behavior is changing.  Information is available right now and people are yearning for an authentic connection with the products and services they buy.”

With a world operating at breakneck speed, brand and credibility become essential.  Sure, anyone can hire an agency, buy a logo, choose a color scheme, adopt a catchphrase, and dive into the business pool with their very own Startup.  Andrea takes it a step further.  As she puts it, “Just buying a logo is not approaching things strategically from the beginning.”

Not to mention the fact that hiring an advertising agency is expensive.  Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Andrea states that 98 percent of Canadian businesses earn less than $250,000 in annual revenue.  On that note, she’s put together a Play called “Brand Your Startup On A Shoestring,” which is featured on the website,  “Branding is helping businesses determine who they want to be,” Andrea says.  “A brand is who you are.  It’s a CEO initiative test.  A truthful, authentic reflection of who the leader is.”

In five steps, Andrea’s Play guides the entrepreneur through the rigorous task of creating a brand for the very first time; or, how to re-brand an existing business.  Today’s global market has created completely new ways for marketing businesses.  “The social network has leveled the playing field,” Andrea says.


Andrea got her start in the corporate world, including stints in Europe and more than five years in Dubai.  In fields ranging from hospitality to government, she “cut her teeth in Brand Strategy.”  A self-described brave, crazy decision first led her to follow her dreams oversees, and then she returned to Canada to apply her experience in the growing startup scene around Vancouver.  And, perhaps, because she missed the mountains.  “I ended up following my heart,” she says of her journey. 

Andrea is quick to point out that “customers are smart.”  She speaks about the like, know, and trust factor that’s necessary for a successful startup.  She speaks about probing the aspiring entrepreneur to find out what drives them, what is their vision, what is their purpose.  “We all have a purpose to live in this life,” she says.  “Business is a way to channel that purpose.”

What Andrea offers is not a prescription.  She does not tell people what to do.  That is something that, in order to be successful, they have to discover for themselves.  Indeed, Andrea is not limited to Brand Strategy; what Andrea offers could be described as a Clarity Specialist.  “I’m not going to judge,” she emphasizes.  “Everyone knows their own answer.” 


“Brand Your Startup On A Shoestring” is a Play filled with tools that ultimately will help the entrepreneur find his or her path to a successful startup business.  One nugget of advice Andrea offers: “You need to figure out what you can give away for free.”  This doesn’t have to be a product or a gimmick.  It could be information in the form of a report, a blog, or, as in Andrea’s case, an eBook.  Sharing information builds trust, especially when that information comes from experience and hard work.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to create a business for yourself that compels you to get up every morning and put in the work.  Andrea’s Play is organized under the headings, or milestones, of Purpose, Vision, Values, Positioning, and Promise.  For example, if you’re thinking in terms of where you want to be in five to 10 years, it might influence what you name your business today and possibly save you the expense of a re-brand in the future. Discovering the core values of your business and articulating them in a truthful manner, anchors your business and keeps everyone on the same page.  A positioning strategy is key to making your business stand out from the crowd.  One way to do this is to learn about your audience.  A tagline is creating a Promise that will inspire customers to take notice. 

In the end, it’s all about discovering and being true to your greater purpose.  This will lead to a successful business strategy.  Whether you do it now or down the road, Andrea explains, “You will eventually do it.”  She adds, “A startup business can make a big difference for the greater good of the world.”

SNAPSHOT:  Andrea’s eBook is available at

Rated 5.00, 1 vote(s). 

Andrea16/09/2012 11:49:07 AM

If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to respond.
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