By Koketso Mamabolo
Louise Martin worked on several feature and TV films before deciding that she needed a change. “As much as I enjoyed the process of filmmaking, after 15 years of being in the industry, I was looking for more personal and professional growth,” says the Chief Executive Officer of Estate Living.
The AAA graduate joined Jaime-Lee Gardner’s Phoenix Freelance in 2012. “Within a very short time, Jaime-Lee and I realised that our skills complemented each other well and we started focusing on business development and the rolling out of successful projects over the next few years.”
After Jamie-Lee had identified a gap in the property sector, they created Estate Living to “communicate to and about every part of the property lifecycle – from property development, estate management, property investment, – homeownership and the product and service that support this sector.“
Estate Living has gone from strength to strength since then, counting the likes of Vodacom, Servest and Old Mutual as affiliates.
What goes into identifying opportunities for clients?
We need to firstly understand our clients product offering and then identify which one of our audiences the product is relevant to. For example, is the product relevant to homeowner or community management? We can then tailor the communication to meet the expectations of our clients. Because we work closely with both our clients and our various audiences, we can quickly anticipate or identify opportunities for our clients.
What are the keys to an engaging brand story?
Nothing matters if your content is not relevant to your audience. Without relevance, you will fail to attract, excite, engage, and educate this core audience.
How do you cultivate creativity to increase sales?
We are always looking for innovative solutions for our clients to help tell their story or expose their brand on the right platform, so that the audience consumes content. A good example here is during the COVID-19 lockdowns when we were not able to print and distribute our magazine. To continue servicing our clients and creating relevant content, we established a webinar series which has become incredibly popular amongst our core audiences.
What have you learnt while creating a brand story?
Estate Living is a niche platform that communicates to a large and valuable audience that has very specific needs. To create an engaging and innovative brand story you must understand who the buyer is and who or what influences their choices. We use this information to then create unique content that is targeted.
How did you go about creating a voice for the industry?
Our business payoff line is ‘everything you need to know about estate life under one roof’ and this is exactly what you will find at Estate Living. We have been discussing all aspects of community living from multiple stand points across the industry for the last 11 years. It is our consistent presence, high level of industry engagement and a holistic view of the industry that has significantly contributed to this niche voice.
Advertising in a digital magazine is great for exposure
As a business owner, how do you balance getting a return with maintaining integrity?
We place integrity above return. It has cost us in the past and I am sure it will cost us in the future too, but brand integrity and brand longevity go hand-in-hand. We find the value of the long game to be a better investment compared to a short-term return that could cost you more in the future.
What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
There are several challenges that we face as a business, the most recent being the COVID-19 lockdowns. Others include loadshedding, an ongoing recession, finding passionate and talented staff, cashflow – the list is endless. I personally try to view challenges as opportunities to evolve, develop and grow. Challenges often force us to make the hard and uncomfortable decisions that ultimately grow us as individuals and professionally.