Bobbie Bailey | Brand Storytelling and Servant Leadership Styles

Bobbie Bailey 10:00

yeah, so I have been like it that transitional point and the culture getting so bad in corporate America and really seeing that transition, there was great people at this business, decks media, you know, there was great humans that work there. But it now became just kind of a terrible work environment. And that really motivated me to take advantage of the clients that continually asked me to help support them in the transition from print advertising to online advertising, and help them navigate what those buys look like, how do they have a diverse exposure? You know, because they went from, you know, one place to advertise, or maybe a few because there was some competitive yellow books. But now hundreds of places that they could be spending this budget, and how do they really optimize and have a return on investment? So initially, yeah, I went out really just thinking that I would support on contract for

John Corcoran 10:59

transit, was that a steep learning curve at the same time for you? Because you’d been selling Yellow Pages? Did you have to learn all these different mediums?

Bobbie Bailey 11:08

Well, that’s the one thing about going to an organization such as decks media, we had extensive training on how to support businesses. So I was actually really lucky to go through that and kind of understand how to really under I guess, identify where the business is at and what kind of marketing support they need, you know, within the limits of the products. So it felt really natural, because at the same time, digital online exposure was limited. So there was, it’s not like today, there was Google Pay Per Click, you know, some of the internet yellow page online directories. And then DSP wasn’t where it is today. So it was, it felt straightforward to me. I felt like I’d been trying to sell DEXIS products, because they were in the digital arena. Just not super proud of what they were offering. Does that make sense?

John Corcoran 12:04

Yeah, for sure. So walk me through now, with the work that you do now you do brand identity, advertising, design, digital and print media, did it eventually evolve into kind of this full service agency? How did that

Bobbie Bailey 12:22

come about? Yeah, so I started out, just like I said, thinking about consulting, then I quickly realized that in my marketplace, there was no full service agency, we had kind of a well known brand agency, we had PR, we had a dev shop, but nobody really looking at the entire picture for organizations and businesses. So I’m at that point, that’s when I decided to start building websites, I started contracting out my first web developer. And you know, I, I somewhat understood brands, not at the level I do today, it took me about five years in business to really kind of go through the training and have the experience with businesses and their brand level, to know that I needed to get more focused on brands. So I was pretty tactical for the first five years. And then in 2015 2014 2015, started to become more focused on brand identity, building brand archetypes. And now really everything is rooted in brand and agency. So you know, I like to look at kind of that brand story, strategy, language and really bring through all of it. And that is what we’re doing here. And

John Corcoran 13:38

which is a perfect segue into another topic, perhaps my favorite topic, which is beer. You have a beer distributor that you worked with. This is the largest import beer distributor in the US. But they came to you they have incredibly antiquated website, needed an updated web presence, but also wanted to honor that history that they had to walk me through what you did for them.

Bobbie Bailey 14:05

Yeah, so here we have some of the sexiest beers, if you will, on the market that is being represented merchant vendors or client being represented by their really old kind of probably 11 year old website at the point that they demo agency. That’s geriatric. Yeah. So just imagine old HTML website not functioning, you know, on mobile devices.

John Corcoran 14:35

No flashing things all over the place. Probably.

Bobbie Bailey 14:37

Yeah. Yeah. They were trying to use flashing things. And there’s lots of PDFs everywhere on their website. So their marketing director was just really clear and knew that it was way overdue. So we had the opportunity to take their old site and bring it forward into one of the I think best projects we have in our portfolio right now. Now, we completed this project in late 2021. Just a beautiful representation of our work and how we can bring products to life online. So it’s a directory as well so that you can find all of their important beers in your local market or local pubs. Just a fun example of how we’ll bring brands forward.

John Corcoran 15:26

Or walk me through the types of questions that you would ask when a client like that comes to you where you want their brand story to come through. What is if I’m like that type of customer, what types of questions you asked me? Yeah, so we’re

Bobbie Bailey 15:41

really first starting with trying to understand who the businesses are. And like the why behind that business. Because really understanding the essence of that business and what they’re after, will really help us start to articulate their voice, what their visual assets will look like. So we have a very thorough onboarding process that we go through a lot of different kind of creative ways to extract their personality, right? What’s your favorite animal might be a question. Joking.

John Corcoran 16:14

Really just an animal? What? Yeah.

Bobbie Bailey 16:17

Um, yeah, so I just, yeah, the the questions vary, just based on the industry, we do work with a broad range of industry. So just, we interview all the key stakeholders, as you know, any good kind of research would be done just really understanding who they are. So

John Corcoran 16:41

now, being a mom is not easy. Being a mom and starting a new business is hard. What was that? Like?

Bobbie Bailey 16:49

Yeah, you know, I think I’m kind of crazy, because it’s a lot. But I’m married to a firefighter, which has a little bit more of a flexible schedule. So I was well supported at home, but saltwater, right. And so just really, I think the word or the idea of balance is bullshit. I think it’s all about flow and immersion in our life. So I’ve really tried to integrate into my community, as you know, both a mom and business woman and have great support from really approaching it that way, that’s a great

John Corcoran 17:23

title for your next book balance is bullshit. I want to ask you also about you started a collective giving group in your area. It’s called the South Sound 100 Women, I think you’re rebranding it now. But talk a bit about the impact that that’s had on your business. Yeah, so

Bobbie Bailey 17:42

I was one of three other founders in South Sudan, 100, women and agency has been the support for all of kind of the website and the design assets. So really, really involved in creating this organization. And I think the impact that it’s had, it’s what you always hear, when you give, then you receive, like, really just the amount of support given to em through this community and through this group of now, not just women. So we’re in the rebrand stage, as you mentioned, we’re going to be Southtown giving, not South Sound and 100 women. So we have men and women and non binary as but really the support that I have received an M has received, I feel like is a direct reflection of being a part of supporting our community. And really, really awesome projects have come out of some of the connections that I’ve made there. And it’s just so beautiful, how you, you are there to talk about what you do for a living, you’re not there to do anything, but to learn about organizations impacting your community. But these really deep relationships from powerful people, because really powerful people are contributing to their community. And those are the types of events they’re also attending. So it’s been it’s been an excellent space for me, and I’ve learned so much through it. So

John Corcoran 19:14

I want to ask you about the evolution that you went through personally, as you grew this business as the team got larger and and, you know, I’ve experienced this as well in our own personal business where you as a leader have to kind of step up and you have to change your leadership style. So talk a little bit about what that demanded of you and kind of how you evolved over the years as a

Bobbie Bailey 19:40

leader. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I feel like it’s happened many times in the business where I’ve had to continue to evolve as I grow. But I would say the most recent experience was really recognizing that being in servant leadership as the Select A choice of leadership that I had kind of identified with was no longer working with the size of business that my business was turning into. So really identifying and getting more curious and learning about, you know, coaching style leadership. So, I’m a strength based organization, I have a business coach that also meets with all of my team regularly. So they have a lot of support. It’s always been in kind of that servant mindset. But then what was happening within the kind of the growth is things continually got attached to me wanting to support the team, right. And so not only me, but my entire leadership group really identified like it was going to be the glass ceiling of the organization. So really naming and I really recommend any leader to name the type of you know, a management leadership style they’ve selected and understand whether or not it’s fitting the organization at the organization size that it is currently, because sometimes you just outgrow that.

John Corcoran 21:05

That’s really fascinating to name, the leadership style that you want to lead the organization by, and to share that I assume with your team.

Bobbie Bailey 21:15

Mm hmm. Yeah, so my entire leadership team has named their leadership style and how they want to show up for their team. And what it does is it gives us accountability, and gives us the ability to be disciplined in that so that we know the way we’re behaving within the organization is on point with kind of our ideal way of showing up. So it’s helped us really anchor the culture here. And really,

John Corcoran 21:39

what would you say to saz, an agency owner that’s listening to this or an entrepreneur or a founder that’s listening to this that’s interested with that idea? What what what would you recommend for them in order to, you know, think through that principle, or any resources or books or anything like that?

Bobbie Bailey 21:58

Yeah, so I, I, so many books that I correct. But I think that I honestly, I, the best way to identify it, for me was kind of going through and really thinking through and outlining the type of outcome that I wanted for my type of leadership, you know, if you have a militaristic environment, it’s going to be a very top down and some people are very conscious of that’s the type of organization they want to run, you know, servant leadership to me was really, one problems come up, like get involved and really help overcome it. If you’re at a spot in your business, where you’re trying to scale getting involved in everything isn’t gonna support, scaling. Right. So that’s me the coaching leadership style, as you know, trying to pass the baton, if you will. So I ultimately have done lots of different classes around this and just gone through a lot of discovery for my agency.

John Corcoran 22:59

Yeah, we’re almost out of time. So I want to ask you my gratitude question, which is a big fan of expressing gratitude, especially publicly, and especially to your peers and contemporaries, maybe mentors who’ve helped you along the way. So who would you want to just call out and thank them publicly for helping you and your journey?

Bobbie Bailey 23:20

Yeah, so I and I would say, I have so much gratitude for so many people. But if I was to really name someone, Josh Dunn, he is the owner of Southside magazine 45 Magazine, which is a large publication here in Washington. He, I subleased. When I first opened my business from him, I’ve worked with him on many different levels. And he’s about 10 years my senior and owning a business. He also came from the print media side of things. So we have that language in common. But why I would say I’m most grateful for him is his willingness to be really honest with me, and talk to me about you know, the way it feels on the receiving end, as a customer as you know, me as a tenant, like he’s always just been so honest, and, and my personality just really appreciates that I grow from that. We live in Washington, there’s a lot of passive communication happening here. So really just direct transparency is What I appreciate most about him. Plus, he’s just such a thought leader and doing such great work and it’s really been a gift to be able to watch him do that and have him share how he’s come about that. So

John Corcoran 24:44

is a whole nother topic. But I think businesses that have come from the print world that have evolved and that have gone digital and created different assets and oftentimes created different ways of kind of monetizing their business from a thence to maybe, you know, different channels, different mediums. I think that those are truly fascinating that is required a lot of innovation in those types of businesses over the last in reinvention over the last 10 years. And I think that’s a it’s a fascinating area.

Bobbie Bailey 25:15

Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah, it is interesting. And there’s so much that they’re doing just to stay relevant and pivoting that we’re seeing, right. So.

John Corcoran 25:26

Yeah, Bobbie, this is great. Where can people go to learn more about you and M agency?

Bobbie Bailey 25:32

Yeah. So please go to my website at and so follow me at shining the light on Instagram.

John Corcoran 25:43

Awesome. Thanks so much.

Outro 25:46

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