We talked to Lynn Browne on how BrandVerge makes premium advertising for all and this is what she had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Lynn Browne: We are all doing well. Only a few members of my immediate family contracted the virus, and thankfully both had very mild cases. We’ve been taking every precaution to stay safe and stop the spread, which can be difficult, especially when you want to be surrounded by friends and family — for example, during the upcoming holiday!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BrandVerge?
Lynn Browne: I started my career as a media buyer at an advertising agency. I knew I wanted to work in the advertising industry and loved the data and insight that fuels media investment strategies. I transitioned to a client-side role throughout my career before founding BrandVerge with my co-founder, Mollie Kehoe. She was a former advertising seller, and, essentially, we both got frustrated with how certain manual aspects of our jobs had become. As a buyer, you’re always reaching out for information, rates, and availability while, as a seller, you’re continually fielding those requests without much background on how likely the buyer is to purchase from you. We put our heads together and come up with BrandVerge. This marketplace democratizes access for marketers to handle their media planning in a sophisticated yet straightforward way while also providing more metrics and visibility to advertising sellers.
How does BrandVerge innovate?
Lynn Browne: BrandVerge is the first marketplace for premium marketing partnerships. We allow marketers to access information, rates, and availability on-demand. Buyers filter based on their marketing objectives and needs, and a list of premium proposal options are available at their fingertips for evaluation. Since we allow media buyers to search and browse based on their needs, we can see how the market is trending. This is robust data and insight for advertising sellers. BrandVerge is finally answering the question, “Which of my prospects are most interested,” so advertising sellers can focus their time and energy on the right accounts.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Lynn Browne: Like many industries, COVID-19 has forced everyone to work from home and connect virtually. The media and advertising industry are historically reliant on in-person deal-making, so this shift in behavior has put our tool front and center. The same way Zoom has become a host for meetings in a completely virtual business world, BrandVerge gives advertisers and media companies the ability to communicate and deal-make digitally.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Lynn Browne: Yes, difficult choices are not something you can avoid as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are building something brand new to the world and are always faced with new decisions that could impact their future. In that situation, it’s best to gather as much information as possible, evaluate the options, and then rely on your gut to get a gauge for what “feels” right. When you’re close to a decision, I recommend sleeping on it. If your decision doesn’t feel right in the morning, then reevaluate – there may be another option you haven’t thought through yet.
I’ve learned many other lessons throughout my career. The two I’ll share that I rely on every day are “if you don’t ask, the answer is always no” and “you don’t know what you don’t know.” This reminds us never to assume. If something is knowable, then ask and find out for sure. You’ll be better off every time.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Lynn Browne: I find it best to put my stress and anxiety to work and not let it fester. I focus my energy on the things that are actually in my control. For example, I am in complete control of my effort and attitude, how I treat other people, how I react to a situation, and so on. If I’m anticipating a stressful event, I put my anxious energy into being as prepared as possible. If something unexpected happens, such as a mistake, I focus my energy on thinking through steps to resolve the issue or react productively. It’s a small shift in mindset that makes a massive difference in dealing with stress and anxiety.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Lynn Browne: Our biggest competitor is the old, manual process for media buying and selling. Changing behavior is no small feat, but we have found that you can win when you focus on saving people and businesses time and money — both of which BrandVerge does!