It’s Monday morning, and District Coffee is once again packed with Edmontonians fueling up on caffeine to start another busy workweek. For Kyla Kazeil, co-owner of The Bamboo Ballroom, The Common, 99ten, The Bamboo Stockroom and Grandin (a new fish & chips joint opening in February 2017, on 109 Street just south of The Common), last week never really ended. That’s the schedule of an entrepreneur — and within that world, she also has to be the marketing and communications expert.
Owning a business and building a strong community to surround that business has always been a dream of Kyla’s. When it comes to marketing it’s no surprise that Kyla and her co-owners focus their efforts on establishing relationships and increasing word of-mouth communications. “It’s not enough to just open your doors,” Kyla says. “It’s about the direct connections you build with your customers. Networking is a free way of getting people to your business and creating success. The more people you know, the more they’re going to be willing to support you, and vice versa.”
Further to that, Kyla explains that every advertising initiative they explore is done with intention to ensure there’s a return on investment. “When you’re advertising with a business, you’re also forming a relationship so that hopefully you’re on their radar in the future. That’s not our sole purpose for promoting, but it’s always something we consider. It’s all about measuring growth.”
Although entrepreneurs may not be traditionally viewed as communicators, Kyla believes it is essential to everything they do. “For us, social media has revolutionized our business. You get an outfit in stock, people see it instantly [online], and they stop by. There are endless possibilities.”
Being owners in both the restaurant and clothing industries, Kyla says she and her partners rely on different communication methods for both. “Our updates for The Common are always related to events, food and general lifestyle, while The Bamboo Ballroom is usually focused on product. We also have blogs for both companies and Pinterest for Bamboo, which drives a lot of traffic to our website. I feel very fortunate because there’s always unlimited content.”
Kyla also says she believes that digital outlets like Instagram have helped lay the foundation to introduce their networks to each new business venture. “When we open Grandin in a couple of weeks, we’ll advertise it on all our personal Instagram accounts, as well as the accounts of all our other businesses.”
When asked about advice for fellow entrepreneurs, Kyla stresses the importance of empowering your employees, especially in terms of effective marketing. “They’re the ones who understand your customers more than anyone. They know what people like and dislike, what they’re looking for and what’s popular.” Kyla says she believes that failing to give up control is a mistake that many business owners make. “For me, I love allowing my staff to take on marketing and communications. They come up with things that I never would.”
Jamie Bay works in Corporate Social Responsibility within Reputation & Brand at ATB Financial, where she manages many philanthropic campaigns and programs and contributes to the company’s social impact strategy. Jamie is passionate about cause-based marketing and its ability to strengthen an organization’s reputation while also contributing to the community. In addition to being a member and blogger for IABC, Jamie also sits on the Board of Directors for Momentum Walk-In Counseling and is on the communications committee for ATB’s New Opportunities for Women. You can find Jamie on LinkedIn.