Andrea Van Dam: The Power of Courtesy in Turbulent Times

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Drybar. Skechers. Moroccanoil. Juicy Juice.

Can you believe there was a time when these were considered “indie” brands? When they came to Andrea Van Dam, at Women’s Marketing, they were. Then her team of talented media and marketing pros got to work, and, in the process, helped them flourish and become some of the world’s most beloved brands. But taking on indie brands requires innovation, iteration…and perhaps a little magic. How does she get her team to come along for this risky ride?

LOVING INDIE BRANDS BEFORE IT WAS COOL

Andrea, a 20-year veteran of one of the most successful indie marketing agencies in the country, opens up to HER Magazine on how she built her team and led them to growth opportunities. At Women’s Marketing, she has fostered a culture, steeped in passion, that embraces the evolution of brands.

“We go after companies we want to work with because we love them. That’s our attitude. We’re passionate about helping smaller brands compete with market leaders, and that passion pays off,” she says of the company that has helped lift Paige Denim, Urban Decay and OGX  to market dominance.

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SHE’S OKAY WITH HUGGING 

Andrea credits much of her success as CEO to the strong women leaders who came before her at Women’s Marketing. From their example, she says she learned to value courtesy, as well as acumen, in business.

“I’m a lover. I’m a hugger,” she laughs when she explains this also applies to investment bankers. “It’s kind of fun to see how they react.”

To Andrea, this does not mean retreating or being soft.

“You can be a powerhouse and still be polite. I think that’s part of our ‘magic.’”

She says clients appreciate her style, which makes interacting with her team a pleasant experience, as well as her expertise, which sets them up for greater success in the marketplace. After all, women are the largest group of U.S. consumers, and she and her team deeply understand what women want.

“The more emotional intelligence a brand has, the better they will do,” she says. Luckily, she adds, “there has never been a better time for marketing to get to the heart and soul of a consumer.”

A VISIONARY

Andrea had a strong urge to understand the market early on. One of her first decisions as leader of Women’s Marketing was to gain more insight into consumers, using best-in-class tools—as well as a bit of that ‘magic’ to analyze habits and understand decision-making. What we call ‘magic’ is actually well-earned knowledge across the consumer and brand marketplace, says Andrea.

“When I became CEO in 2014, I focused on investing heavily in strategists and analysts. I knew if we didn’t make that move, then we’d fall behind.”

Falling behind is not an option for an independent agency in the constantly changing world of advertising and marketing. From one quarter to the next, researchers are tracking shifts in trends, gauging interests and swiftly seeking new opportunities to connect. It keeps the work interesting and challenging; it takes a leader who is hungry to keep learning and iterating.

“Your business is constantly in transformation mode. Serve your clients where they’re going, not where they are.”

Like what you’re reading? This article is a preview of our premium content found in our FREE monthly magazine. You can access the September issue here.

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