Part 2 - How She Does It: Ashley Northington Founder and Agency Director of DENOR Brands & Public Relations
Read Part 1 of Ashley's interview.
She is the founder and agency director at DENOR Brands & Public Relations, a boutique public relations, digital marketing, and brand strategy firm in Nashville.
She is also the founder of #LiveYourBrand, an online community for emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs who want to move beyond the ideation phase and take massive action to turn their business dream into a reality.
Deb Bailey: Who are your ideal clients?
Ashley Northington: There are two sides of the DENOR house.
First, there is DENOR Brands & Public Relations. We are a boutique public relations, digital marketing, and brand strategy agency based in Nashville. We work with established businesses, organizations, experts, and brands that are passionate about their business and are also committed to making the world a better place. Through engaging storytelling, dynamic visuals, and intentional, strategic action, we help brands increase their visibility and boost their bottom lines.
Second, there is #LiveYourBrand, dedicated to helping emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs grow to wherever they want to go through strategic action, thoughtful conversations, and engaging live events. We create products and experiences for those folks who have been in business (or want to be in business) five years or less to conquer their overwhelm, beat procrastination, and be cured of the ‘Do Nothing Blues’ so that they move beyond the ideation phase and get into action.
Deb: Of course, no entrepreneur can build a business without ups and downs. What are some of your successes and challenges?
Ashley: This is tough. I think some of my successes have been to consistently and aggressively implement the vision I have for my business, and understanding when I need to pivot in order to grow. I think my biggest challenge has been pricing my services to maximize profit. This is not surprising, considering my history and deep struggle with value and the cost of services.
Since I’ve gotten over that hump, my next hurdle is to make sure things are priced in a way that adds more value to my business. Another challenge I have experienced has been knowing when to get a divorce. When you work so closely with clients as my team and I do, it is like a marriage. It’s a real relationship that has ups and downs, highs and lows.
Sometimes, despite everyone’s best intentions, the marriage suffers. It’s then up to the people involved to put in the work to make it thrive. Other times, the relationship is unsalvageable. The key is knowing when it’s time to put in more work and when it is time to move on. Early on I struggled with getting a ‘divorce’ from clients. Today, I’m pleased to report that I am an amazing divorcer!
Deb: Seems like you've weathered the storms and continued to grow and evolve. That's important for businesses and for people as well. Looking at all of that, what inspires you to do the work you do?
Ashley: I think what inspires me most are the troubles in the world, my beautiful, innocent nephews, and all of the children I serve in my volunteer roles.
The world is filled with so much darkness. At times it seems that darkness is all around. One of my mentors once told me that if you close your eyes and all you see is dark, it is because YOU are meant to be the LIGHT. I took that to heart.
When I worked in public education, the only thing I wanted to do was to ensure that more students had a chance at success. I did everything in my power as a reporter, a public servant, and passionate volunteer to ensure that happened. Even when I couldn’t offer much, I knew that my presence – just little people seeing people who look like me – was helpful and inspiring.
And so, because I care so much about kids and making sure that they survive and thrive, I do my best to be the best role model I can. I show up when I am called upon and even when I am not. I serve whenever and wherever I can. I know I’m not perfect and I have many flaws, but with so much dark in the world I hope to be one of the lights for them. That is why I do what I do.
Deb: That's very inspiring! So, what’s your vision for your business?
Ashley: My goal is to create a company that not only makes money, but also makes a difference in the world.
Through DENOR Brands & Public Relations, I hope to work with brands that we enjoy and that inspire others. We’re committed to working with people, brands, and organizations to tell stories that matter. Many of our clients have a social enterprise component and this is because we’re are serious about leaving the world better than how we inherited it. Our mission is to create stellar communication campaigns that inform and inspire the public to promote positive change. That’s what we’re all about.
Through #LiveYourBrand, I want to change the trajectory of 1,500 would-be procrastinators who’ve come down with a severe case of the ‘Do Nothing Blues.’ I have met far too many would-be entrepreneurs and would-be leaders and would-be change agents who have amazing ideas, limitless potential, yet fail to act. Instead they become consumers and thinkers and dreamers, but they don’t become doers. It’s heartbreaking.
Through the #LiveYourBrand signature podcast, personal brand class, vision and goal setting workshop, and virtual conference, we are committed to empowering and inspiring emerging and aspiring entrepreneurs to move beyond talking about their dreams to actually living them. We want them to walk their talk – not just talk it.
It is my hope that through DENOR and through LiveYourBrand, we create brands that help make the world better. (I know it sounds hokey and cliché’ but it is absolutely true!)
Deb: Thanks so much for stopping by, Ashley. Please share your website and social media URLs.
Ashley: You're welcome! Here are the links:
DENOR Brands & Public Relations: