Our Company Profiles
Since Covid, the focus on Black and Brilliant individuals and businesses has increased, but it is still far from what it should be. In a new evolution of the Black and Brilliant Advocacy Network we spotlight individuals and businesses within our network we believe more people should get to know about.
Name: Mike King
Title: Managing Director
B&BAN: What inspired you to start iPullRank and what do you hope it accomplishes?
MK: I started iPullRank after working at a variety of different agencies and not really finding a “home” that truly understood me and nurtured my talent. I want us to continue to drive highly valued and outsized results for our clients. I want us to continue to be a diverse team that attracts people who are very talented and underutilized in their existing roles. I also want us to build a Ventures team that builds and pilots new products that we can use our agency to bring to market. I started in software and I, ultimately, want to get back there with iPullRank as the engine to help us along the way.
B&BAN: What do you think makes iPullRank different from its competitors?
MK: Big picture: We primarily do SEO and Content Strategy work, so we exist in a space that lacks the level of sophistication of multi-national agencies. Being that I come from those agencies we’re able to offer that level of polish on our strategic planning and ideas. However, big holding company agencies cannot do SEO effectively, so we also bring that scrappy level of technical skill and agility. Small picture: We do audience-driven version of SEO that aligns with market segmentation and plays nicely with the overarching marketing mix. We also do something we call Technical Content Optimization where content we create better matches the statistical expectation of search engines. Finally, we are results-driven and deliverable-based rather than hourly-based, so we’re able to focus on getting our clients results rather than just showing activity in the form of timecards.
B&BAN: How do you keep iPullRank innovative and fresh?
MK: Personally, I have a deep aversion to boredom. That coupled with being very involved in digital marketing thought leadership, I’m constantly reading and researching different ways to do things. I’m always sharing what I find with the team and we collectively come up with new approaches. It’s also a function of the industry that we operate in since Google is making changes to Search daily.
Name: Lynnwood A. Bibbens
Title: Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
B&BAN: Can you first of all tell us a little bit about ReachTV and what it does?
LB: ReachTV is a streaming Entertainment TV network targeting Tastemakers on the go! We uniquely program our network; 6 shows per hour vs your traditional 1-2 shows per hour. With our distribution in over 90 Airports across the US & Canada and our recent launch into the UK, this allows us to give our audience a lean-back linear TV experience that is programmed for them. Pre-Covid we had over 75 Million outbound passengers per month through our terminals and now we’re on our way back with about 30M passengers projected over the next 30 days. We also believe that “content drives commerce” so being in the airports where over 2 Billion in revenue is generated on monthly basis was naturally where we deployed our network.
B&BAN: What is your background, and how did that lead to you becoming an entrepreneur?
LB: I grew up in Middletown NJ specifically in a neighborhood known as Hillside. Everyone in our neighborhood was pretty tight and the bond extends through today. My grandfather owned a garbage company, My uncle owned a Seafood stand while maintaining a 9-5. I was taught early on that you can get anything you want in life but only if you’re willing to WORK for it. Also after my freshman year of college, I was looking for a summer job and started selling Cutco Knives. That was it! From that point on being an Entrepreneur was an obsession. Let me break down a little, my goal was to look for something that simplified what was in the market or was superior to everything in the market.
Name: Karima-Catherine Goundiam
Title: Founder & CEO
Company: B2BeeMatch.com & Red Dot Digital Inc
B&B: Can you, first of all, tell us about B2Bee & Red Digital and what it does?
KCG: What is Red Dot Digital? Red Dot Digital is my digital strategy and management consulting firm. We support companies as they undertake digital transformation. So we perform a digital audit and then, based on what we find and based on the client’s goals, we create a customized digital strategy that delivers results. We look at all the relevant aspects: people, process, technology, data.
B2BeeMatch: It’s a business matchmaking platform, designed especially, but not only, for small and medium businesses. Kind of like online dating, but for businesses. That means if your business is seeking new clients, we’ll match you with organizations looking to hire. If you have a business looking for services, whether for a short-term project or a longer collaboration, we’ll match you with professional service providers.
B&B: What is your background, and how did that lead to you becoming an entrepreneur?
KCG: After building up a background in the field of digital within corporate, I worked at Deloitte where I was leading social and digital for Ford, I noticed some things that were missing, and they inspired me to found Red Dot Digital.
Name: Uyanda Manana, Managing Director & Kevin Power, Group Managing Director
Company: Conversation Lab
B&BAN: For those who do not know Conversation LAB, can you tell us a bit about it and your roles in the company?
KP: Conversation LAB is a ‘born digital’ full-service agency founded in 2012. We focus on consistently delivering highly effective digital campaigns for blue-chip brands with radical accountability in South Africa and UK. We now have a group of agencies under the Conversation LAB Group banner. It includes Media LAB (a pure-play paid media agency) and Power LAB (strategic communication, customer experience, and crisis and reputation management agency). All three agencies are women-owned and run. We feel Conversation LAB is unique in that we push hard into the performance marketing space with extensive optimization and refinement of campaign activity. But it also focuses on ideas and concepts that can move the needle at a brand level. We like to think of ourselves as an agency that can operate strategically thinking micro, macro and mega. We have a broad set of clients with a density of knowledge in the education and FMCG sectors.
My role has now evolved to Group MD, where I have a touchpoint into the three agencies and then also sit in the UK, focusing on attracting UK business to be executed by the South African teams. I was lucky enough to meet and work with Uyanda in SA over the last two years, and in August last year, I handed over the reins of the SA operation. In addition to changing leadership and shareholding with Uyanda, we also adjusted the ownership to include four young black colleagues to become shareholders with more grassroots impact. We believe that transformation requires a change in ownership and leadership – the sum is greater than the individual parts.
UM: With the enormous changes that have taken place, my priority since my appointment has been to bed in the new structure and ensure I have the backing and support of my new team. My mandate is to bring my team along on the journey of transforming our brand. My role has focused mainly on defining who we are and how we show up as an agency team, making our business purpose a lived experience for our staff, clients, and the communities we touch. Having four other black business partners in addition to the founders (Kevin and Jon Oliff) has helped underline our ambition to create something different to tackle the need for transformation. Running parallel to all this is establishing platforms that will drive change in the industry; there certainly needs to be far more diversity and women empowerment. Conversation LAB group has two other women MDs, Megan Power of Power LAB and Bridgette Donnelly of Media LAB. We aim to work with other like-minded colleagues to bring much-needed change to the old boys club!