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As it appeared on the Times Leader.

‘Spotlight’ on relationships: Marketing expert advises entrepreneurs

By Lyndsay Bartos – [email protected]

WILKES-BARRE — We might be in the digital age, but relationships still matter.

“Brands are relationships,” guest speaker and marketing specialist Julie Anixter told a crowd of entrepreneurs at the THINK Center on Thursday night.

Anixter is CEO and founder of Ensemble.Works, which offers clients “the trifecta powers” of design, innovation and modern marketing, according to its website.

She started her presentation by stressing a famous quote: “Marketing is a conversation.”

She spoke of businesses humanizing their connections with clientele and the hallmarks of marketing and branding. They include curiosity, context, trust, and generosity.

“Keep track of your relationships. You just need to market to the people that care — the people that need you,” she advised.

Anixter went on to mention an individual’s exchange of energy and focus on people in reference to marketing. She stressed the concept that one person can have a huge influence on a brand and encouraged audience members to consider their relationship with their own brand/company.

Anixter also noted to pay attention to the digital side of things as society goes deeper into the technological age.

But her presentation kept returning to her main point — building and maintaining relationships.

“Your relationships are diamonds, gold, rubies,” she said. “They are a treasure.”

She added that without trust, customers will stop buying.

Anixter also explained the need for authenticity and transparency within these relationships.

The evening was part of the Wilkes-Barre Connect Spotlight Series, which provides opportunities for local industry leaders and entrepreneurs to meet. The Connect program counts Penn State Wilkes-Barre among its partners.

‘Experiment, fail … ‘

After Anixter’s speech and a brief question-and-answer session, a video presentation featured three innovators: Kathryn Bondi, a graphic designer at Posture Interactive, a Scranton advertising agency that focuses on website design and development; Tanner Coleman, general manager of Mobiniti, a mobile marketing company in Wilkes-Barre focusing on SMS, email and social media; and Nicole Farber, CEO of ENX2 Marketing, a nationwide legal digital marketing agency with an office in Dallas.

Coleman talked about directly reaching customers with his company. He emphasized his motto: “Experiment, fail, learn, repeat.”

Farber told the crowd about the importance of having a mentor and noted: “Success isn’t a straight line, it’s a journey.”

She also offered this advice: “Your smile is your logo and your personality is a business card.”

Penn State Wilkes-Barre announced it will be extending the Spotlight Series for another three years.