Catherine Campbell – Bright Planning

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What is your company?

I own Bright Planning, a national marketing & PR agency for ethical, pioneering brands. Our team shapes and promotes powerful narratives of companies whose stories deserve to be in the spotlight.


Tell us why you do what you do in 1 sentence.

I’m here to help amplify the voices of businesses that trying to do good in the world and who otherwise might not be able to have their brands discovered.


In what ways can Asheville entrepreneurs uplevel their business through key communication strategies?

Asheville is a city where you can quickly become a “big fish in a small pond,” which is a nice feeling, but it wears off. So think like a national or global brand and get in the mindset of taking marketing and PR seriously.

I challenge local entrepreneurs to think beyond just becoming the next local social media darling and establish healthy, long-term marketing and PR habits for bigger success: establish a unique voice (but not simply for shock value) and figure out what your company’s “bar stool” story is, by which I mean: a story so well told it compels the person sitting next to you to forget where they are for the moment.

Once you have those two foundations in place, you can create main pieces of content through text, video and audio and leverage your time and energy by repurposing those main pieces of content into a million little pieces to share on all your communication channels. Finally, stay consistent in your communication schedule: posting daily to Instagram is nice but it isn’t enough…you need to stay on top of how YOUR target audience loves to devour content and meet them there but also stay ahead of the curve, whether it’s a blog, a branded graphic novel, emails, an indie TV show, personalized YouTube videos to each customer, a podcast, virtual reality tours, you name it.

P.S. the word “content” kind of sucks, so call it whatever you want so you don’t lose your creative spark.


What 3 valuable lessons about business would you hope to pass onto young women considering becoming an entrepreneur?

I didn’t have a mentor going into my line of work, and I really wish I did. For young women who want to become entrepreneurs, here are my top three pieces of advice:

  1. You don’t have to act like a man to be successful in a traditionally male-dominated industry. For so long I thought I had to be another Don Draper in advertising, but then I realized I could just be…me. Once I started being myself and letting my quirks and strengths show to the public, my business went into a state of flow that ultimately affected the bottom line in a really positive way.
  2. You can’t make everyone happy, so don’t try to say “yes” to too much or apologize too much. Just build a great brand. Serve your team and your customers with a great product or service, and the rest will fall into place. Leave the naysayers behind.
  3. Get comfortable with money conversations, quickly. The more comfortable you are discussing money (borrowing, spending, saving, earning it), the more comfortable you’ll feel investing in your team, having a relationship with your accountant, and effortlessly selling to customers.


How are you a revolutionary?

[Laughing] I’m not sure I’m the right person to make that distinction! Let’s put it this way: the leaders who inspire me, whom I believe to be revolutionary, don’t ask “What?” They ask, “What if?” And that’s the question I ask in my line of work every day.


You actively support local business owners, like by serving as mentor for Hatch This, why do you think that this is so important?

I grew up in a small town near Asheville, and that experience taught me that everyone, every single person, can contribute to the success of a community. But we have to lift each other up. Even though we live in a globally-connected society, I’m seeing a return to hyper-local economies, where people once again respect the roles of the artisan, the healer, the farmer, the inventor. Asheville is filled with smart, uncannily gifted people who are building businesses worth supporting, as well as setting standards for other cities and companies to take notice. Even though my agency has a national clientele, my local business owners have my heart.