The art of paying it forward | Vanessa Allen of ADhesive Communication




The art of paying it forward
Vanessa Allen of ADhesive Communication
Words by Janie Barton

When Vanessa Allen convinced her boss to pay for her university marketing degree almost 20 years ago, little did she know that it was both the first step on a journey that would take her to being one of Cairns’ leading marketeers and the foundations for her unique approach to running her own business.

“I was working at Cairns City Council in the PR team, and a mentor there encouraged me to pursue a bigger career in marketing,” the winner of the CBWC Small Business Owner of the Year award said. “That led to a marketing job at Channel 7 which I loved. I created a proposal asking them to pay for my university degree. Not only did they pay for it, they gave me time off as well… it must have been a really good proposal!”

Vanessa’s marketing career has flourished ever since, leading her to open her own marketing agency, ADhesive Communication, in 2016.

“I absolutely love what I do,” she said, explaining that a mixture of creativity, organisation and business insights inspire her and her team to create marketing strategies for clients that deliver a return on their investment. “Our vision is to stimulate powerful business growth through marketing, inspiration and a little bit of fun.”
Vanessa also developed an online marketing course for small and micro businesses, the 7-step SUMMMIT marketing program, which helps them understand fundamental marketing methods they can do themselves and how to track their goals and successes.

ADhesive, which excels in helping clients market to women — who Vanessa says make up 85 percent of all purchase decisions — is a very strong values-driven company. Thanks to Vanessa’s influence, they value inspiration, tenacity, positivity and pride themselves on being authentic, which all helps them to be highly successful for their clients.

The mother of three is especially proud of her staff.

“I’m very grateful to my team,” said Vanessa, who was “incredibly honoured” to win the distinguished CBWC award. “They are such a talented and dedicated group.”

Vanessa believes that, just like when Seven were willing to invest in her, she is willing to invest in the growth and happiness of her team.

Personal development and growth are achieved through a training program where each person undertakes four learning objectives each year, which the business pays for and allows time within working hours to complete. One-on-one meetings and group sessions to brainstorm for clients as well as including her team in all aspects of business planning are among some of her initiatives.

“Team happiness is something that I think is really important for each person and the business.”

To that end, they enjoy every Wednesday off work as the team works four 10-hour days and work under a ‘your life comes first’ approach, participate in a revenue-sharing agreement, work in a pet-friendly workspace, knock off early Fridays to enjoy a drink and discuss their week’s successes and challenges and can also participate in a two-percent Super co-contribution.

“Once a quarter we take the day to do something fun like going to the shooting range, bungy jumping or go karting. We also spend the day planning the next quarter. We take our annual goals and break them down quarterly and create a plan to achieve them.

“And of course, we have fun, we laugh, and we support one another along the way.”