The Brand Ambassadors - Marketing and Branding for Small Business

 NADCO Marketing Director Heather McNelis (left) talks small business branding on The Brand Ambassadors at Vox Optima's National Harbor production studios.  

NADCO Marketing Director Heather McNelis (left) talks small business branding on The Brand Ambassadors at Vox Optima's National Harbor production studios.  

There’s more to a small business than a great idea that people are excited about.  It takes business savvy, sales funnel strategies, product or services delivery processes, financing.  It takes guts because starting a small business is really a leap of faith.

It also takes serious marketing, public relations and advertising strategies to turn your small business from your initial idea into a reliable brand that your customers and audiences will readily recognize.

In this week’s episode of The Brand Ambassadors, Merritt and Gary welcome to the show, Heather McNelis, the director of marketing and communication for the National Association of Development Companies.

 Brand Superheroes!

Brand Superheroes!

Merritt, Gary and Heather will discuss the challenges facing small businesses and solopreneurs just starting out, and the marketing and PR strategies they can employ to start building a solid brand. Merritt and Gary also get Heather to share some of her small business marketing secrets she shares at NADCO training symposiums.

And thanks to Heather, Merritt and Gary get to learn what it means to be "brand superheroes"!

 Gary Potterfield and his Super Brand Ambassadors swag

Gary Potterfield and his Super Brand Ambassadors swag

You can listen to the full episode by clicking here.

This Week's Guest:

 Heather McNelis

No stranger to the ins and outs of marketing to targeted audiences or the challenges facing small businesses, Heather McNelis leads the National Association of Development Companies’ branding and messaging efforts as its director of marketing communications since 2013. In this capacity, she creates branded content for key audiences -- including elected and appointed officials in the legislative and executive branches -- communicates to and provides resources for NADCO’s national membership, and maintains a consistent online presence for targeted audiences and the general public.  She spends what little free time she has earning her MBA at George Mason University and dabbling in freelance graphic design and editing.

Prior to her NADCO work, Heather most recently served as the director of media & marketing at eAdvantage, a U.S. government contractor, where she led media and messaging efforts for the "VA Accelerator” program, an online blended-learning environment for U.S. military veteran entrepreneurs.

Heather graduated in three years magna cum laude from James Madison University with a double major that encompassed corporate communications, public relations, technical editing, mixed media and design. While at JMU, she edited official university policy and designed newsletters for the University’s Research and Compliance Department. Heather also served as a staff writer for JMU's student newspaper, The Breeze, where she reported on university cultural activities.  Heather can be reached via email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.