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Meet Charlene St. Jean of Purple Diamond

Today we’d like to introduce you to Charlene St. Jean.

Charlene, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start a business fail in the first 18 months. Thankfully, I never heard that stat before launching my marketing firm 10 years ago on March 1, 2008. I am the daughter of a successful business owner who unfortunately passed away before I ever started my company, Purple Diamond.

My dad, who owned Baystate Systems and Forms Inc., never shared with me about the ups and downs of running his own business. He just made it look so easy and from my young eyes he was successful and loved by everyone who knew him. And, like most kids who idolized their Dads, I wanted to be “just like him”. It might have been easier if I had launched my business straight out of college and before having a family, but I took the long road to get where I am today. I worked for years in the marketing and advertising field prior to being a marketing consultant.

I began my career straight out of college designing the marketing materials and being the Public Relations person for a health clinic in Boston. Though my degree from Quinnipiac University was in Health Services Administration with a focus in Marketing, I left the field of healthcare to try my hand at promoting and marketing ion implantation equipment for Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc.

My career in marketing was quite diversified, but when I found myself selling and writing TV Commercials I knew that I had a passion to help business owners share their story and build their brand identity. In addition to my experience in TV advertising, I also spent time working as an advertising executive for a local newspaper, radio station, and a digital marketing company that a sold Email Hosting Services, Web Design and SMS Text Messaging prior to the popularity of Twitter. So why leave a successful career as a senior marketing executive to start my own firm?

Life happened and so did melanoma! Fourteen years ago, a week after my husband Jay proposed (second marriage), they discovered a bad mole on my right foot. I was a divorced Mom with 2 children depending on me at the time and being sick was not something I was prepared to do. To make things even more stressful, the company I was at was being bought out and though we were told we had jobs it wasn’t the best time to take time off for health reasons.

So, I worked from my bed and saw the power of the internet as I chased down leads online and continued to write TV commercials for my clients. It was scary and amazing at the same time. I saw just how strong I was and how wonderful and supportive my kids and my future husband Jay were. It was two years later that I launched Purple Diamond.

I’d like to tell you that launching Purple Diamond was simple. Write a Business Plan and boom, you are successful. But this is the real world and like most Business Plans they change and you have to adapt to the changes or fail. The business plan was for an Advertising Agency and not a Marketing Consulting and Coaching Firm which would later add Social Media Marketing Training. I had a strong background in TV and Radio Commercials, but a few months into my business the Stock Market crashed and many of the local businesses were struggling.

Usually, in a bad economy businesses advertise more, but not in 2008. The ones who were choosing to still do TV commercials were hiring big ad agencies in Boston and not taking a risk with a new company called Purple Diamond. So, nine months into my business I added Marketing Consulting/Coaching Services. I knew from TV that packages sold well so I created a subscription-based monthly package that allowed new businesses to get the help they needed. I branded myself well by wearing my signature color PURPLE every day and creating a story and tagline around the name Purple Diamond. (The color PURPLE is the color of great wealth; royalty wore it.

A DIAMOND is a stone of commitment, my commitment to you is that I will bring you great wealth… SUCCESS WEARS THE PURPLE DIAMOND!) I did numerous speaking engagements and served on the Executive Board of Directors of the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce for 9 years, Co-Chair of the “Keep It Local Campaign” for 3 years, Board of Directors of the North Shore Business Forum for 5 years, member of the Economic Community Development Committee for the City of Beverly for 4 years, member of the Creative Economy, and the creator and administrator of the PURPLE DIAMOND SUCCESS NETWORK on Facebook and Linkedin.

My company became very well known locally in the Beverly, MA area and on the North Shore. I was nominated for Small Business of the Year in 2012 and I won the Greater Beverly Chamber’s 2014 Sole Proprietor of the Year. The company added Social Media Marketing Services in 2010 after my TV Advertising Client, Amesbury Sports Park, noticed that I was very active on Facebook and asked if I would manage their social page. As an early adopter of the power of social media marketing in the early 2000’s, I recognized the impact of social media when I helped to market my son’s heavy metal band on MySpace.com.

I also launched my own blog before the term “blog” became well known on a site called Beliefnet.com in which I discovered the power of publishing blog articles and developing a following online. This experience led me to connect with my Canadian husband Jay and I assisted a client based in California on a marketing project for China. With these experiences online with social media and my experience in marketing communication, I felt confident that I could help businesses engage with their potential clients by sharing their story online and train businesses on effective Social Media Marketing Strategies.

Purple Diamond has had the privilege of providing marketing consulting services, media buying, and social media marketing training for a long list of happy clients. To learn more about our services go to www.purplediamondmarketing.com.

Has it been a smooth road?
As mentioned in the first question, no it has not been a smooth road. The original Business Plan was obsolete within the first year as my services changed to adapt to the poor economy after the stock market crash. I went from the original plan of being a media buyer for TV and Radio to launching a Marketing Consulting/Coaching Program.

And, since marketing constantly changes and Social Media Marketing started to dominate the business world, I have learned to adapt quickly to the new marketing tools.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Purple Diamond story. Tell us more about the business.
Enthusiasm and passion for helping you succeed!

Purple Diamond is a marketing consultant – coach, advertising agency and social media marketing strategist which coaches companies on affordable and effective ways to market and advertise their business. Whether your business struggles with reaching sales goals or knowing the marketing trends and what is working or not working for businesses currently in your area, Purple Diamond can offer a valued perspective and how to communicate your business message to customers in a way that helps you SUCCEED!

As a senior-level marketing professional skilled in social media marketing, market research, sales promotions, advertising, media buying, public relations and special events, I have an outstanding ability to envision, plan and implement strategic marketing plans while balancing the needs of individuals, programs and organizational objectives.

Many of Purple Diamond’s clients are looking for help creating a marketing plan/strategy and help with designing a logo and consistent branding for their business and ordering promotional products to help keep their name in the hands of potential customers.

Purple Diamond also helps businesses understand the power of Social Media Marketing and offers both individual training and corporate group workshops, along with video production and media support for websites and TV commercials.

“We have known and worked with Charlene (Purple Diamond) for the past 10 years. She is always willing to jump in and help us with marketing with a positive attitude and upbeat manner. She is very knowledgeable on social media and has helped us learn how to navigate and work our social media accounts so we can run them ourselves. A pleasure to work with. 5 Star Rating!” – Chris Zorzy, owner, A&A Services and Home Improvement, Salem, MA.

“Charlene is an entrepreneur for entrepreneurs! Her pleasant personality and professionalism leave her head and shoulders above the rest.” – Matt Ligor, host of The Matt Ligor Show, North Reading, MA.

“Charlene has been my Marketing Coach since 2012 and she has been instrumental in helping me to grow my business. Her social media savvy, her deep marketing experience, her ability to help you create and accomplish goals along with her upbeat personality help to make Purple Diamond the ideal marketing partner for small business owners.

I’m so grateful she was referred to me and I, in turn, have confidently referred Charlene to other business owners I know. See for yourself… get Purple Diamond on your team and you’ll see the difference in your business.” – Eileen Reed, owner, Simplify with Eileen, Lynnfield, MA.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Technology will continue to advance and add improvements to how we communicate and market products and services to our target audience. Mobile devices will be used daily to offer personal interactions and a direct link between brands and people.

Consumers will expect immediate responses from companies which will mean having social media marketing people available 24/7. You will see more products purchased online. Visual Marketing will grow with more videos and video blogging.

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Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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