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Jessica Flemming

Jessica Flemming on personal marketing

By Jessica Flemming

Freelance Marketer - Belle and James

Thoughtful, personal, and empathetic marketing is personified in Jessica Flemming and her newly founded marketing business: Belle & James.

Garnering experience from working in corporate marketing environments, for the likes of Princess Cruises and Edale, as well as a myriad of knowledge from working within agencies, Jessica established her own company in July of this year.

Personal in its origins and ethos, Belle & James specialises in outsourced marketing solutions for businesses using Jess’ own marketing expertise alongside her expert associates to deliver the full spectrum of marketing for her clients.

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How would you describe yourself as a business owner and marketer?

Having worked for both corporate companies and agencies makes me a sympathetic marketer with a holistic spectrum and perspective of everything.

I quickly realised that there was quite a disconnect between a typical agency delivery and the client’s expectation, and I really felt that I could do more to help having worked on both sides.

I’m proactive, I’m a doer rather than a talker. I like to make things happen and to do that I collaborate with a collective of tried and trusted experts who I’ve worked with for many years.

What do you like most about what you do?

I love the variety of work that I do and the satisfaction of getting results for the client; understanding where they want to get to, and then tailoring a marketing approach on how they need to get there.

I am quite a generalist marketer. My strength is overseeing, project managing, and delivering on-time results from my own input alongside managing my network of creatives.

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How do you stay ahead of the ever-evolving trends of social media and content creation?

I think it’s all about engaging with the audience – putting out content that’s real to you not just because everyone else is doing it. If you can solve a clients ‘pain point’ with your product or service, then you’re halfway to a successful working relationship!

The authentic self and personal branding are big at the moment, and I don’t think that’s going to go away anytime soon, and I don’t think it should. I don’t want to be a faceless agency, so it’s important for me to get my expert thoughts and personality across – my clients aren’t just a number to me. It’s important not to sell yourself constantly; look to solve the problem and position yourself as the problem solver. Social media definitely has its place but find the platforms that work for you.

What do you envisage to be the marketing trends of the future?

Since I started out over 15 years ago, there has been such a big shift already. When I worked at Princess Cruises, we used to predominantly do print brochures; similarly, when I worked at print manufacturing company, Edale, it was all about print and in-person events – digital wasn’t as big as it is now. But things move quick in marketing!

I think future trends will be the continuation of personal branding story-driven content is going to rise even more, and we’ll see brands increasingly taking on board inclusivity and diversity.

Influencer marketing will continue to have a huge impact; my mind was blown recently by the buzz around the Prime Hydration energy drink demonstrating just how powerful influencer marketing can be. Though you wouldn’t get me queueing at Asda at 5am!

What are your own plans and aspirations for the future?

For me, it’s about a work-life balance – growing a successful, local agency where my clients stay happy with the results we are achieving, and I continue to enjoy it.

My brother-in-law, Tom, passed away earlier this year at just 38, the same age as me. That made me totally reassess life; it changed everything for my husband and I, and shifted how we thought about and approached a lot of things.

Who or what do you draw inspiration from?

I could name the Steven Bartlett’s, Amelia Sordell’s and Justin Walsh’s of this world, but my inspiration is a little closer to home. My husband, Stuart, set up his own design and web agency in 2012, he grew it single-handedly, and then along the way, picked up another agency too. After a decade within the service industry he has turned his hand into property development really quite successfully. He made me see that if you put your mind to something, and feel passionate about it, then it can be achieved!

I also draw creative inspiration from the innocence of the mind of kids and their imaginative attitude towards creativity. They see things in different ways, they have a go-getting attitude, and where we perhaps put barriers in front of ourselves, they imagine it and talk fearlessly about doing it.

"I draw creative inspiration through the innocence of mind of kids and their imaginative attitude towards creativity."

Jessica Flemming - Freelance Marketer - Belle and James

As a marketer, which brands do you admire?

Aldi and innocent drinks have been smashing social media for a while. I think it’s brilliant what they do – how they put it out there and engage. It’s real people talking to real people; it’s the human-to-human thing. They’re not trying to sell themselves, they’re just saying what we’re all thinking, and it resonates.

The locker company Mustard has got a really great brand. It’s a really simple product with a small range available in different colours yet they’ve made a standard product look so much more than that. Their advertising is quite niche, it’s focused on the two people that own it, it’s a personal brand with realness and I think they do marketing really well.

What are you currently listening to, reading, or watching?

I’m trying to finish watching This Is Us. I have got The Light Between Oceans on my Kindle. And I am re-reading Donald Miller’s Building a StoryBrand to refresh myself.

Where is your happy place?

I take happiness from the simple things that I realised we took for granted when lockdown hit, like going for a dog walk and stopping at a pub for lunch, having an action-packed day with the kids, or a fun weekend away somewhere with my girlfriends – which usually ends up with us dancing around our handbags at the end of a night!