Olivia Scott, former CMO of Carol’s Daughter, vice president of alliances at Live Nation, associate publisher of VIBE Magazine, and current adjunct marketing professor at New York University, saw a business opportunity in 2012 and took it. It was the year she launched NY-based Omerge Alliances, an integrated marketing communications consultancy dedicated to independent video, film, and music properties.
Scott noticed the trend toward independent content creators — musicians, video content producers, filmmakers. These creatives would need someone to provide expertise in marketing campaign development and execution. Omerge provided such services to these new visionaries who, without major record label or film/TV studio support, have limited outlets for branding, launch strategy, graphic design, brand alliances, digital and publicity services. Omerge Alliances also specializes in developing brand partnerships on behalf of music, film, video, and traditional television entities to bring financial and media assets to their projects.
Scott is a whiz at creating viable partnerships. While at Carol´s Daugher she formed deals with Coca-Cola, Vita Coco, and Godiva Chocolate to expand brand visibility in lieu of media spends. Then while at iN DEMAND Television, she created the network’s first-ever branding deals exposing iN DEMAND on 15MM Seagram’s Ginger Ale bottles, 600K Terra Chips bags, and Ghirardelli and Pizza Hut platforms. For Live Nation, she led the sponsorship deals with Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony, Hilton Hotels, Motorola, Comcast and Blimpie.
Among Omerge Alliances´ current projects are:
• Limelight Extensions. The Detroit-based hair extensions company is launching their 90 Days of Summer Takeover Campaign on June 2. “We developed the plan and will lead the execution across radio, TV, consumer sweepstakes, email blasts, social, digital PPC, digital display, bloggers, and in-store,” says Scott.
• Pooka Pure & Simple, a NJ-based natural bath and body products company that has its new brick and mortar store grand opening June 26-28, making it the first and only bath and body boutique in Newark, NJ. “We are spearheading all event marketing including social media, digital media, sweepstakes, email blasts, radio, street team and press efforts,” says Scott.
• IMAN Cosmetics. The global cosmetics powerhouse is expanding reach to South Asian American women and Omerge Alliances formed and executed the brand’s sponsorship of the 2014 New York Indian Film Festival. Omerge is working on additional program aspects to align with this audience in Q4 ’14 currently.
Olivia Scott recently talked to TNJ.com about how she built Omerge Alliances.
TNJ.com: What led you to launching your own company?
Olivia Scott: Having worked on the three sides of the marketing trifecta, agency, media side and brand sides over 18 years, there wasn’t another place I wanted to work “at,” and I wanted to be able to unleash my creativity with no boundaries for clients I had a genuine interest in succeeding. Having hired marketing consultants in many of my corporate positions, I felt there was room for someone with my experience who would offer seasoned marketing expertise for reasonable fees and ethical work practices.
TNJ.com: What were some of your startup obstacles?
OS: Focus was the main one. When you launch a business, there is so very much to do! Creating a sound business plan, determining your funding sources, office space, client servicing, new business strategy, creating an impressive website, deciding when and how to launch, among many other things. I had to sit down and structure a timeline against the priorities for the firm’s initial success. I realized that everything did not have to be done at once, yet, there were some things which once they were launched and I’d called attention to them, we would not have the chance to create a second impression (like my company overview video).
TNJ.com: As you have grown, what have been other challenges?
OS: Honing in on a niche has been important, yet challenging, to maintain. Once in business, and delivering beyond expectation, your reputation grows, and people will call you for all kinds of initiatives.
So to manage having a scattered, catch-all business, it’s important to think long-term about what sector you want to establish a reputation and expertise in, and stay true to it, even when the short-term monetary gain for off-strategy projects is tempting. Because there are so many general service marketing firms out there, I think it is imperative that Omerge Alliances has a focus which we can build credibility in for years to come.
Staffing has been a major challenge because, while still small, you want to offer your clients the world-class business expertise they are hiring your firm for, but there’s only so much I can physically do. So, I have to be judicious with identifying interns and subcontractors to support various clients.
TNJ.com: How did you survive the financial crisis?
OS: I significantly reduced my expenses by adjusting my office overhead and commuting costs (I relocated my office from NYC to NJ), and focused on the essential projects that could drive long-term renewals for the business. I also stretched into new territory by teaching a new course at NYU which previously I would not have made time to develop a curriculum for, but doing so benefited me professionally and financially.
TNJ.com: What are some of your goals for 2014?
OS: To help my existing clients, Limelight Extensions, IMAN Cosmetics, Pooka Pure & Simple and Tepure exceed their goals and expand their brand visibility; to grow the marketing coaching aspect of my personal branding business through the Omerge Alliances mentorship program and through corporate ventures as well; and to become published four times in 2014.
TNJ.com: What are your long-term goals?
OS: To be a respected marketing and branding consulting partner in the U.S. to emerging beauty brands desiring to introduce their products to consumers and to be a respected marketing coach for small businesses throughout the country.
TNJ.com What has been your most valuable business lesson?
OS: Delivering stellar work is your best new business tool. If you get a client, and meet and exceed their expectations, you can grow with them and merchandise that win to other client prospects as your new business pitch.
Often times, we focus on conquering new business with flashy new concepts and ideas, but marketers want to see that you can deliver. So, we have found that the key is growing the one or two (or whatever number you have). With this said, it is important that at the point of client engagement you should identify and agree to the client’s objectives and that you can craft and execute a path to achieve their goals.
TNJ.com: What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
OS: I love consumer behavior and psychology AND the creativity required to market beauty products. So, studying people, why and what they buy, and creating plans to appeal to consumers emotionally to drive a product’s sale or engagement is pure bliss for me. I can never get enough of it.