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Building sustainable marketing skills with a Colombian YLAI Fellow
November 5, 2021

By Shannon Courtney

As an entrepreneur who aims to build sustainable success, you must always be ready to shift focus and be flexible — flexible not only in your professional career but also with the direction of your company branding, team and digital marketing strategies, which is something that 2017 Colombian YLAI Fellow Katherine Villa has recently come to understand.

When Katherine, the co-founder of Stereomatic Estudios, discovered the profound impact of music as an instrument to achieve a brighter future for impoverished Colombian youth in Medellín, she began to utilize digital marketing and branding strategies to guide emerging artists in their musical careers. Katherine learned to overcome challenges, as the only woman in the company, through her determination to build sustainable marketing skills. Throughout this experience, she learned how to develop expertise on digital media platforms for monetization.

During her transition into new marketing and branding projects, Katherine has cultivated her resource optimization, content creation and entrepreneurial skills in the Latin American market. She highlighted the importance of the YLAI Fellowship in her mastery of the English language, her natural acclimation within multicultural workplace environments, and her increased understanding of an international consumer base to help her marketing efforts. She was able to collaborate with global citizens and achieve entrepreneurship results that she has transferred into her current professional experiences. Katherine has developed some essential tips and tricks through her experiences in digital marketing to share with the YLAI community.

Make sure that your brand has a personality.

Katherine notes that entrepreneurs have access to an unlimited number of free resources and mentorship on various platforms, such as social media sites like LinkedIn and YouTube that can help formulate your brand. She encourages YLAI members to follow fellow entrepreneurs online to learn how to “be consistent and disciplined in your branding, because it is the only way to develop a sustainable and long-lasting project or company.”

When you develop a business, it is necessary to create personalized content to engage your most targeted audience and loyal consumer base rather than assume your market is an international population, who may not be interested in your brand. Content personalization is key to engage consumer digital market behavior, with appropriate messaging and branding to draw attention to your audience’s wants, needs and demographics. This will allow you to construct your core value proposition — the overall value or essence of your brand that a customer gets from doing business with you, compared to competitors. Katherine emphasizes, “You are the personality of your brand.”

Develop a strategic and flexible team with diverse ideas.

At the stage of market entry with new branding strategies, you must establish the right partnerships to ensure long-lasting and sustainable success. While Katherine stressed that a brand must be consistent, she believes that a crucial part of development is building a team that can compromise and make flexible decisions effectively regarding the company.

“Sit down with your team and decide if you are going to create your brand yourself or if you need to hire a marketing professional that can take all of the team’s ideas and implement them in a concise branding guideline,” she says. It is important to know what you need, whether it be one strong marketing strategist or several agency specialists in different sectors.

Consider the impact of your company when developing your strategy.

According to Katherine, it does not matter whether you are a nonprofit or for-profit business. You must establish a concise digital marketing strategy to achieve your business goals. Whether those goals be social impact, income or product success, a strategy should be set. Moreover, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, “communication is digital, which requires you to make a strong digital impact to target audiences,” she stresses.

Katherine highlighted a professional example when she worked on a social project helping vulnerable children in impoverished Colombian communities. Since it was difficult for the company to gain income, her team relied on utilizing social media campaigns as a vehicle for outreach, marketing and creating brand awareness. Overall, if a company does not have a targeted marketing strategy, “they will fail because they lack sustainable development and sustainable goals for their company and brand.”

Thank you to Katherine for taking the time to share your story. Look out for more resources about branding and digital marketing your business with #YLAIBrandBetter.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the YLAI Network or the U.S. government.