A force for good: How this brand agency helps MSMEs to achieve brand independence

A force for good: How this brand agency helps MSMEs to achieve brand independence

SME Inspirations

Airamae Guerrero

Airamae Guerrero

5 Jun 2020, 14:30 — 9 min read

Enterprise: Godmother
Founder: Gen Millare
Industry:  Business Services & Consultancy - Branding
Year it was founded: 2018
Location: Marikina, Philippines

While traditional brand and digital agencies are focused on retaining clients, Gen Millare, CEO of Godmother, took a different approach.


Instead of designing services to keep clients under their belt, he designed it in a way that businesses can stand up on their own.


Together with his business partners from Australia and Japan, he established Godmother, a brand agency devoted to creating brand independence, providing tools, tips, and tactics so businesses can do branding on their own.


“We see branding as a force for good and not as a tool to make money and hide knowledge,” he shares.


Although coming up with a noble cause to help businesses especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with their branding, his journey towards turning his vision into reality didn’t go smoothly.


During his early 20s, Gen tried setting up his first corporate brand agency, but it failed. “I was too idealistic back then so it didn’t work. I worked with three people who have a PhD degree. It was like they are taking orders from a kid.”


He tried founding another agency for the second time. But this time, his employees are all young people. “It also didn’t work because they are too idealistic and it was unstable.”


Using all his experiences and learning from his failed business ventures, Gen established another brand agency for the third time that paved the way to the birth of Godmother, which has now established its local and international presence.


During the interview with GlobalLinker (GL), Gen Millare (GM) exudes his passion to help MSMEs through sharing his expertise in branding. “It doesn’t make sense to empower the already strong ones. We only empower those that need help.”


GL: We are curious about the name of your brand agency. Why is it called ‘Godmother’?

GM: The thing that we want to do with Godmother is to support and guide business owners just like how a godmother guides and supports her godchild. This goes well hand in hand with what we believe in which is brand independence.


We don’t want to tie up with companies forever. We want them to do their branding on their own as quickly as possible. Most agencies designed their services to lock in clients with them for a long time as much as possible.


With us, we want everybody to be independent.

GL: How did you find your expat business partners? 

GM: Normally they reach out to me via LinkedIn or email. They are looking for people in the Philippines who are doing branding and are not part of an agency. We usually do a project first together. When the project is good and our relationship is okay, we take a step further. I received work from Japan, Germany, and other agencies as well. They are looking for local people who understand foreign market entry.


There are big companies that wanted to enter the Philippines. They hire companies in their countries, and these companies are looking for companies in the Philippines, and that’s how they usually found my business, and that’s also how I build my network.

 

We see branding as a force for good and not as a tool to make money and hide knowledge.


GL: What are your challenges in doing your business?

GM: A lot of people here in the Philippines do not understand what branding really is. They thought it’s just a logo, a logo change or a name. When in fact, it’s what the customers feel about your company. So they’d rather pay a freelancer who can create a logo. It’s a lack of understanding. That’s why in Godmother, we wanted to focus on education. We want to give tools, free advice, and things they can download so they can understand (what branding is).


Also read: 5 things to keep your brand alive inside out


GL: In terms of managing your business, what are your challenges?

GM: The challenge is (working with different) time zones. We have to adjust to the culture of the consultants that we are working with and adjust to the clients that they are bringing in.


GL: Helping businesses achieve brand independence is what sets you apart from other brand agency. Why and how do you do it?

GM: Small businesses don’t have a budget of bigger companies who can hire 10 agencies at the same time. Small businesses would like to learn things on their own. They save money and focus more on important stuff of the business. Nobody in the business is teaching things in doing branding the right way because they hide their knowledge to make money out of the company.

 

It doesn’t make sense to empower the already strong ones. We only empower those that need help.



We’re not after the budget. That sets us apart. We are here to guide people, and when they are ready, they can leave us. We are happy when they leave us – that’s how we measure our success.


Companies especially the smaller ones will see us not as an enemy but as a friend because we have no interest in making a profit out of their budget.


GL: Who are your current clients? 

GM: Mostly small and medium businesses. We turn down big companies because there’s no pleasure in helping a giant who can afford bigger consultants. We want to help small companies fight the bigger fish.

GL: How do you raise awareness for your business?

GM: It’s through the word of mouth. 80% of the clients we worked with are through referrals. That’s how we do our business. We’re not after the budget. We don’t operate that way. We asked them what’s most important for them, what’s bothering them, and we try to solve them on the spot. But if we can’t solve it on the spot, it takes a little while but we provide a solution as soon as possible. I think this way helps businesses to sleep better at night because somebody is honest enough about their situation. We don’t lie. We tell them everything even if it’s painful enough.


GL: How does UnionBank GlobalLinker help you so far? And why should other SMEs use it too? 

GM: I find UnionBank GlobalLinker interesting because it’s not Facebook or LinkedIn. There are real businesses out there even if it’s supported by a commercial company, UnionBank. It’s a legitimate platform (for business owners) that’s not corrupted. Members there just want to learn, grow, and network. I see UnionBank GlobalLinker as a brand that I can partner with.  

Also read: How to start digitizing your business

GL: What are the next big things for your business?

GM: We want to be present in developing countries such as Nepal, India. We will connect to local marketing professionals, and help local businesses. Profit will go to our selected charities.

GL: What is your advice for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs?

GM: The best advice is to fail faster. They shouldn’t expect that their business will be successful on their first try. The best marketing is to provide sample products or services. Don’t believe in too much thinking and planning. Go out in the market. Have people try your services or products immediately and then ask for their feedback. Use that feedback to improve your service or product.


If you do it for money, sometimes it works. But sometimes, it doesn’t happen that way. Find something that you will do even if you are not paid to do it. I can do (free consultation) because I love it and I love to do it. My knowledge increases because I got to understand the nitty-gritty of businesses, and you do it for learning.


If you are an entrepreneur for money, then you have to be good with financials and operations. But if you are an entrepreneur because of your vision to do something great or help other people, then it takes a different skill set.


GL: We would love to know the person behind the entrepreneur

• Every day you wake up at - 6:30 AM
• The first thing you do when you wake up - Freshen up, read and consume global news.

• Three things you do to unwind/ relax are – Wash dishes, Cook, Fix broken things
• The best piece of advice you’ve ever been given is
 - Never lose sight of what’s important because there’s too much noise and distraction that we tend to forget that the most important things are just in front of us. It’s family - the people who have been supporting us.


To explore business opportunities, link with Gen Millare by clicking on the 'Connect' button on his profile.

 

Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured member. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members

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Airamae Algentera Guerrero

I shine the spotlight on business owners who are doing exciting and innovative work by featuring them as part of our 'SME Inspirations' series. Connect with me and share...

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