Brenda van Ginkel
“Listen, delight and deliver the best.” Brenda is an accomplished creative who has won international recognition by staying on top of trends, culture and digital evolution.
I created Avoca Vale as an initiative for customer-friendly websites for clients. My focus is small and midsize businesses and nonprofits that are making a difference to people or the planet and the people I’ve worked with range from healthcare professionals to international nonprofits to companies with new products and technologies. What I do is give each client the website that helps them advance on their goals.
Who am I and why do I do this?
Ten years ago, I stepped away from the world of advertising and magazines for leading consumer brands because my values were shifting. I had been winning awards for my work for years and clients were seeing growth from the campaigns and brand work I contributed to. But I was feeling conflicted about globalization, specifically, how the growth of large national and multinational brands were affecting local communities and the planet.
I found an emerging scene of smaller, independent, purpose-led businesses and nonprofits that were trying to change the world by doing things differently. The new organizations supporting this new ecosystem in business were doing things in a new way; weaving social and environmental values into their products, services and practices – just as the companies they supported were. I was inspired by people and the work that was being done as I became involved as a consultant and advisor to work with people addressing gender equity, racial and cultural biases preventing inclusion, and building technologies for clean energy and water management solutions.
I look back at the period when I pointed myself in a new direction as my unaccredited MBA in business innovation. I was surrounded by brilliant minds and for every meeting I was invited into, I was learning as much as I was bringing to the table. I became a brand strategist as I applied the foundations I had learned in design, advertising and publishing to answering the needs of budding ventures. The aim was always to educate and build trust and authority for new products and guide clients in developing relationships within their space, cultivating valuable partners and potential customers.
Each business deserves a website that will help it grow
At the time, it pained me to see businesses be coached to follow templated marketing solutions, so they all looked the same – as if their innovative ventures could fit inside any box! I was different than the business advisors and realized I complemented their expertise and could address business goals with creative, strategic solutions that were as unique as these businesses were.
My style has always been to start with a lot of questions and do a deep dive into each client’s business to learn about they are addressing their customers’ challenges and what sets them apart from the pack. Through research and development, I was helping each client build a website that felt authentic to them and their niche; bringing authority while being accessible to more people.
One day, unable to access a client’s website to update it with new content, I decided to address the digital needs of small businesses. I wanted to design simple, well-designed, nimble websites that clients could update themselves or I would manage on an on-going basis. I saw how responsive service and good design make the difference between my clients winning new business or losing out on opportunities.
A values-based initiative
This is where the Avoca Vale initiative came from; addressing entrepreneurs’ needs for professional websites tailored to each client’s vision and goals. All of my work is infused with my values of respect and inclusion and looking to help build the local businesses that are making a difference.
Avoca Vale is a digital initiative that features a client-centred mix of clean design and customer-friendly websites that are accessible anytime, anywhere – and safe and secure. Websites are on a green hosting service and customer service is prompt, friendly and always accessible.
With high-touch service and a professional digital presence tailored to client and end-user needs, clients can expect the expertise and guidance for a smooth process that meets their business objectives with a commitment to quality, responsibility and excellence from project start through to post-launch.
Each project is quoted to meet what each client needs. My process starts with a phone call to understand your business and what you want to achieve. Then we talk about how your website might help you get there and I produce an estimate based on our discussion. The estimate includes a description of the project, a timeline, responsibilities and a price.
Beyond the website
The scope of a project can be expanded to include:
- Brand Strategy
- Messaging (how you tell your story)
- Identity System Design
- Email Campaigns
- Merchandising Design
- Magazines, Books and Print