“They said I couldn’t — so I did.” — Christopher Kenna
Today on Mel’s Talk, we share with you the story of Christopher Kenna, founder of Brand Advance.
The enthusiastic, passionate entrepreneur had the entrepreneurship spirit since his childhood, and now he is the CEO of a company that reaches over 100 million users, with the need to make sure to speak to everybody.
Here is his portrait!
What’s your name?
– Christopher Kenna
What’s the name of your company?
– Brand Advance
At which age did you start your company and, how old are you now?
– I started Brand Advance at age 35 — I will turn 37 this September 2019.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? How did you get started in all that?
– I think I started when I was a child — I used to write computer programs on my Commodore 64 (very Old Computer) and set up a shop — the computer program would itemise all my toys and work as a till so I could sell them and log the profit made!
Can you describe your products/services?
– Brand Advance SPECTRUM: We provide brands and agencies with data and insight into diverse demographics to help reach these communities.
-Brand Advance CONNECT: We have built a global diversity is driven AdServer network across LGBTQ+, BAME, GenZ, Disability and Elderly alongside a media buying platform to give teams all the tools required to reach diverse demographics across the world at scale.
-Brand Advance CREATE: We provide creative insight and production, to ensure that each piece of creative used to engage a chosen demographic is authentic and uses the data and insight gained around that community by the spectrum team.
That means your services to you and what makes them unique?
– I believe we are the only Diversity Media (Specialist) with a global remit providing both the data and insight alongside the media network to reach 100M+ Monthly Active Users.
What was the first step you took to turn your idea into a business?
– The first step was finding the right business partner and support with the experience in building a large business — this was important to ensure I could be a global company that can scale — later building a full board of directors each that bring a particular skill-set that helps move the company forward.
What were the different challenges you had to face?
– Working Capital — I would be wrong not to say this was our first major hurdle. Then defining our products and services and ensuring they were delivered in a way that is easily understood and showing a need and solution to that need!
What mistakes did you make and how did you go over them?
– I have made many mistakes over the last few years. Spending too much time chasing dead leads through to hiring the wrong people. Things that are a small mistake to established companies are magnified when you are a start-up — but you realize and correct the mistakes and keep going! That’s the upside to mistakes — you learn and don’t do them again.
What drives you to continue your venture?
– Love, Passion, Drive, and I strive to build a truly global company that can service the problems in media with our solution within every country. And a little bit of stupidity!
What are your tips/advice to future entrepreneurs?
– Go for it! If you have an idea that for-fills a problem, then people will pay for it. You just need to find a way to highlight the problem and show how your solution fit — actually show how your solution fits best…
Could you share with us a quotation that motivates you?
– “They said I couldn’t — so I did.” It’s actually my own quote (laughs). Narcissistic I know, but I truly remember it every day.
Who are the people who inspire you?
– I get inspired by people every day — My team inspires me. My business partners and board inspire me and generally every day there is at least one person that I have to say well done or hats off to you!
One last thing you want to tell Mel’s Talk (your passion, favorite food, favorite app… anything)?
– Cool Question — But I’m going to answer quite simply. My favorite app is LinkedIn — I truly can’t stay off it and I find new client connections — spy on other companies or people I admire — Read about other successes that I can steal ideas (Sorry borrow ideas) from… And it’s just sometimes nice when the week has been hard, and the Friday has been dreadful to look and see that you’re not alone as a business leader — others are going through the same thing at the same time… And sometimes after a Friday beer you get the nerve to message your dream client on the train home just in case they respond — and they do!
See you soon,
The Mel’s Talk Team