We catch up with Christina Richardson, chief do-er and co-founder of Brand Gathering, the online community where savvy brands collaborate.

Pitch us the concept... Brand Gathering is an online community where ambitious brands can partner up to do marketing together, sell together and reach more people together.

Businesses can run an event together; promote each other; even create whole campaigns together allowing them to reach new customers and boost their business.

We came up with the idea when... I shifted my career from managing global brands to working with ambitious young start-up brands, and discovered that these entrepreneurial brands were working together on their marketing. By working together they were reaching new customers regardless of limited budgets. However, these partnerships were limited by who these brands knew. So by creating a community we could connect them, and help many more businesses achieve more together. That became our mission, and with my techie co-founder we developed the community platform to make it happen.

The biggest challenge is... keeping up with our aspirations! Every day we find a new way to improve the community and make it easier and a more effective sales and marketing tool for our members. We are able to move quickly with our software iterations but every time we do a new release we’ve got even more learnings and more changes that we want to make. There are never enough hours in the day to do all we want, but we have a lot of fun trying in our little office!

The average day is spent... at high speed! Jokes aside, I clear my emails on the train in, then try and get my head down for a solid two hours work as soon as I get into the office. This could be looking at the customer journey of our site, writing a sales pitch, writing articles for our Resource Hub or creating a new workshop to help our members. During the afternoon, I’ll catch up with each of the team to help them overcome any challenges they’ve got and then I dedicate time to help members with their marketing and help them find partners.

The team consists of... my business partner and co-founder Vits who works on the constant improvement to our software, as well as working with me on the long-term strategy for us to license our community software and create more communities that help enterprises do business. Patrick, our community manager spends his days engaging with our Gatherer’s in the Brand Gathering community and helping them partner up and do marketing together, along with Munpreet our digital marketing apprentice.

Our USP is... our members and our software. We designed and created our community software to be an interactive tool that helps our members do their marketing and increase their sales by working together. We have an entire collaboration management system to help them do that – which we own. But an empty community is pointless, so the software is only part of the USP. The vital second strand is our members – savvy young brands in one place who work together and help each other achieve more together.

In five years we’d like to be... uniting tens of thousands of businesses through multiple private communities like Brand Gathering. To do this we will seek out sectors beyond sales and marketing, which is Brand Gathering’s focus, where our software can connect enterprises for the mutual benefit of those within them.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... I have to take this one for the team – this wasn’t our biggest mistake – this was mine... I kept doing something out of loyalty, blindly believing it would work out – despite my gut telling me differently. It didn’t. I eventually made the tough decision to change the situation – but it continued for longer than it should have and it cost us more money as a result.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date... the night we went to an amazing event that was put on by two of our members. They joined forces and combined their respective skills and marketing assets to create this event with no budget whatsoever, and yet the room was full of inspired customers and engaged journalists. By working together they took a budget of zero and produced a high quality event that got nearly £80k of PR value.

April 2014