I have many things to be grateful for, but the diversity of my life, the people I meet and the experiences I have, is something I never tire of saying thank you for. And this week, chatting to one of the co-founders of Apex Pollination, Dr. Willem Augustyn-Goussard, not only was I reminded of the phenomenal people and innovative businesses around, but also of the basics of marketing.

Wikipedia has this to say about bees: “Bees are winged insects closely related to wasps and ants, known for their role in pollination and, in the case of the best-known bee species, the western honey bee, for producing honey. Bees are a monophyletic lineage within the superfamily Apoidea. They are presently considered a clade, called Anthophila.”

For me, this little insect that lives for only a month or two, is beautiful and fascinating. And while I am nervous when they are around a CN&CO social event – Penny is highly allergic and one can’t always trust her to have her Epipen 🙂 – I generally love watching them in my garden (I have a few hives).

And while I know that bees are an indication of a healthy garden/crop/ecosystem, I only learnt a few years back quite how essential they are to our survival.

As per the WWF, “Almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators such as bees. Crops that depend on pollination are five times more valuable than those that do not.” So, in short, if we don’t have bees, we won’t have food!

Back to Apex Pollination and my chat with Willem. Apex Pollination is a business that helps farmers to have the best pollination for their crops.

Three main reasons for their success:

  1. Apex have strong hives any time of the year. They never take honey from their bees (which made me feel good that I never take from mine!) and Apex makes sure their bees have everything they need to stay strong.

2. Apex bees spend more time on their client’s crop because their thermally optimised hive design and materials means the bees spend less time in the hive and more time pollinating.

3. Pollination at an affordable price because of constant innovation by the team to keep their service affordable, allowing farmers to stock as many hives as they need.

An image depicting APEX's well-insulated hives

In chatting to Willem, you can’t help but be inspired. The man loves his business and knows every part of it. He is clear about what the business can and must achieve. And that, really, is how basic marketing is to my mind. Clarity of purpose and Passion.

If the founder/leader of a brand has passion (which invariably means they have grit and resilience) and clarity of purpose, they are the best marketer one can hope for.

My mate Charles Savage at EasyEquities is another example of a brilliant CEO marketer. Like Willem (who wants to get the best bees at the best price to farmers to help them have the ebst crops), Charles wants everyone – from billionaires to your average person – to invest in a safe, fun, easy, non-intimidating way.

With CEO-marketers like Willem and Charles, businesses lke CN&CO and Chief Marketing Officers like me, have a very easy – and very bloody cool – job!

We “merely” have to find the best ways to channel Willem and Charles’ purpose and passion. To tell the story. And while adverts in magazines, billboards, website banners and traditional marketing tools can all play a role, finding the new story-telling platform and the new storytellers is what gives me a kick.

Putting brands and people together that some may think don’t belong together – like a blog about bee pollination and investing – often leads to new synergies, innovation, fun conversations and allows the purpose and passion of the CEO-marketer to shine through.

So, to all those who think you need marketing agencies to work magic, you are wrong. You already have the magic if you are clear on your product and purpose, Our role is not to make the magic but to let your magic be experienced by all those who would benefit.

If you are a farmer, get hold of Willem. If you want to grow your wealth register on Easy. To all of us – keep on marketing your passion and purpose and let’s leave this world better off than we found it.

PS – Ten more fascinating facts about bees here.