Rina Barreto Shankar, Founder of ChereeTree with an experience of 15+ years in Branding, Communication and Motivation strategy. She has worked on branding through advertising agencies of some very reputed companies such as Airtel, Tata Indicom, and Godrej. In 2018 she moved to Goa and founded Cheree Tree Concepts, a Branding and marketing communication company.
Incubees: Tell us about yourself and your journey as an Entrepreneur.
Rina Barreto Shankar: I am a Personal & Business Brand Strategist and a Communication Coach. In 2018 I moved to Goa and founded Cheree Tree Concepts – a Branding and Marketing Communication Company.
With 15+ years of a corporate career in Branding, Communication & Motivation strategy, I started out in Mumbai working on campaigns for brands such as HDFC Bank, Airtel, Samsung, Tata Indicom, UniLever, Godrej – to help build visibility for the brand/product.
I then moved to a multi-national bank to design their Employee Engagement & Communication platform.
My work with an NGO in Mumbai, teaching underprivileged children and visiting their homes in the slums of Mumbai, helped open a new dimension to my experience.
As a Communication Coach, I also conduct sessions on the Human Communication Model to empower personal and professional communication.
I help train women & youth entrepreneurs in business-growth areas. As a mentor on JobsForHer (a Bangalore-based online platform which helps women up-skill & restart their careers), I advocate Personal Branding as a tool to impact your professional/business path. As a mentor on Sanjeevani – Life Beyond Cancer (an NGO that provides comprehensive cancer care), I help generate awareness.
My journey as an entrepreneur has been multi-faceted and fulfilling. I look forward to growing to generate employment opportunities and contributing to entrepreneurship development.
Incubees: What was the motivation behind starting ChereeTree?
Rina Barreto Shankar: The quality of our Communication determines the quality of our Connections – not only with friends & family but also with customers & community. That’s been my biggest learning.
When I failed in a previous business venture, I realized that it was because I had failed to communicate effectively to my target audience – I was caught up in multiple other aspects of launching a business.
I realized that I could offer great value to businesses by helping them powerfully communicate their brand – their values & beliefs, their personal brand, their products & services, and so much more. Creating awareness, trust and respect for a business requires effective communication above all else.
A trustworthy, experienced & cost-efficient company that will create your brand identity, build social media presence, design customer communication, and create outdoor visibility with a complete understanding of your unique requirements is what every business needs.
Established businesses have challenging areas – identifying new customer segments, launching new products/services, revamping brand look, etc. For e.g. During the pandemic, we started working with a Dubai-based client helping them to build a digital presence so that they could offer their services online for the first time, instead of on-ground.
Incubees: Tell us about the services provided by ChereeTree?
Rina Barreto Shankar: As a brand management company, we help our clients communicate their products, services & brand image – with designs, websites, social media messaging, magazine articles, radio scripts, hoarding, blogs and even events.
While one of our clients had a season-specific product that we marketed through digital campaigns alone, another wellness brand we promote required hoarding, newspaper and social media designs to launch in Goa. A Canada-based client requires us to build her Personal Brand through website content revamp and social media strategy so that her USP stands out.
We are one of the few MarComm companies that provide Employee Engagement (team-building sessions & offsite events) as part of long-term Brand Building.
Another important offering we provide is Personal Branding – communicating industry expertise and personality of the founder/top management, thus helping build trust & likability for the company.
Incubees: What keeps your team motivated? Tell our readers about your team.
Rina Barreto Shankar: I work with a team of designers, social media strategists, Branding experts & Marketing consultants. Our aim is to bring unique expertise to our clients. When 2 decades of in-depth brand-development experience meet new-age digital skills & creative freedom of the younger generation, our brand designs and marketing strategies offer expertise and relevance.
In my corporate career at a foreign national bank, I handled Employee Motivation as my key job role. It has taught me to adopt “flexibility” as the key motivator to hold my team together. The flexibility to experiment and express their multi-faceted selves at work. The flexibility to deliver, learn, experiment and grow through the exposure they get to several industries.
Incubees: What would you say is unique about ChereeTree compared to other startups in the digital space?
Rina Barreto Shankar: We are not a Digital Marketing agency alone. Many of our clients require on-ground activation, launch events, branding at retail stores, print ads, radio scripts, hoardings and even PR.
Only when online and on-ground branding has a common brand voice, look and feel that customers can relate to it. Having worked in metro markets and designed promotional campaigns for big brands, I bring a solid foundation for a brand strategy. At the same time, my team lend their new-age digital strategies to further fortify the services to our clients.
Good branding needs to quickly understand & then create a sharp, insightful branding & marketing strategy to market a client’s business. We believe that we can do this efficiently as we spend considerable time on industry & competition research with every new client we take on.
We are one of the few agencies who understand that employees are the biggest brand ambassadors – and so, we help conceptualize and execute team-building sessions for our clients.
Incubees: What were some of the challenges you faced?
Rina Barreto Shankar: I founded this company rather late (at age 44) – and thought my age would prove to be a big challenge since millennial entrepreneurs leverage the power of technology so well. I overcame this self-limiting belief by spending time with tech-savvy youngsters, experienced mentors, workshops, online training modules, networking meets – anything that would equip me with essential entrepreneurial skills.
Today I realize I have an edge and advantage over the millennials – my experience and exposure, both in the corporate world and as an entrepreneur who failed earlier, have given me a unique value proposition to offer clients. While brand communication expertise and insights are what sets us apart, we offer clients Trust & Transparency above all else.
Incubees: Would you say it’s important for entrepreneurs to learn digital marketing in today’s time, and why so?
Rina Barreto Shankar: Digital marketing will help you build and expand your business in the shortest & most cost-effective way possible – it will help you collaborate, automate, communicate & create visibility faster & cheaper.
With digital platforms, you can not only communicate your products but also build loyalty, launch new products in new markets, use the right social platforms, and use search engines & CRM tools – all of which help efficiencies of running a business.
Incubees: What would you like to address to the budding Entrepreneurs?
Rina Barreto Shankar: I believe that Thought leadership is critical as an entrepreneur. Build your business and your personal brand to be powerful & impactful.
Analyze what you gain if you push the boundaries and then do the uncomfortable, the unknown, even the impossible.
And whenever an opportunity presents itself – no matter how uncomfortable you are – say YES!
Also, learn when to say “No”. As an entrepreneur, there are many distractions constantly fighting for your attention. Daily habits and routines – like yoga and meditation – are what I personally use to keep me focused.
Most of all, seek Happiness above everything else – friends, hobbies and nature are the best tools to have while building your business…
To know more, visit: https://chereetree.com/