About BrandME

Capabilities and Services
Rates and Terms

Founder Bio
BrandME Associates and Resource Partners
Business Opportunity


Background Back to Top

BrandME Marketing was founded in 2005, incorporating a year later, with a clear directive to help Maine brands grow by being a part time or temporary marketing director or coordinator-level resource for those in need. Delivering highly qualified and passionate, marketing management support at below-market rates, remains a mantra.

We believe that BrandME fills a gap in our service industry. Many fine, growth-oriented Maine businesses and organizations do not have any in-house personnel devoted to marketing. Most recognize the need and purpose, but find general budgeting, management, and oversight to be barriers to internal staff. Likewise, the prospect of a full service ad agency is simply not a good fit for some. They tried it, didn't like it, or heard horror stories from associates. High costs, high egos, paying extra for agency overhead, and major mark up on all production was just all too much, too soon. The marketing mantle then often falls on an owner, a sales manager, or perhaps a staffer who has some limited background or interest in marketing or one of its offspring like advertising, PR, web, direct mail, etc. That scenario can get old and inefficient for some.

In short, if I don't want to hire focused help, and I don't want to do it myself (or should not be doing it alone for the sake of the business), and I don't want an agency approach, what is left? Welcome to BrandME Marketing.

As a marketing consultancy, BrandME, an anti ad-agency of sorts, can offer significant value, without compromising quality, experience, and ideas. We build a team around our client's needs. Led by a marketing and account or project manager (BrandME Marketing's role) our trusted professionals get the job done.

How can we offer such value? Less overhead for starters. We also encourage net billing direct, from media and other vendors to our clients, allowing us to pass on wholesale rate advantages with NO mark up and NO commissions. It is no coincidence that many of our strategic partners (as well as our founder) came from the ad agency world and now find themselves able to charge a lot less for their services as freelancers than when they were agency employees.

There are pros and cons to everything. Thankfully, the world does not have the same needs or taste buds! It is vital to point out that the agency model works well for some, and our consultancy model equally well for others. There are also plenty of Maine businesses that do just fine with a more in-house approach, whether with focused personnel, multi-tasking job roles, or cloning! We are all pragmatists at heart, which is why we so often refer folks to great Maine ad agencies, freelance resources direct, or even possible staff hires. BrandME Marketing's hope for the future is to continue to provide maximum effort and support to those who fit the solution we represent – and refer resources and wish the very best of success to those we don't.

Capabilities and Services Back to Top

BrandME Marketing acts as your part-time or temporary marketing management resource – on either a project, annual retainer, monthly, or hourly basis. Our rates work on a sliding scale based on commitment and are typically blended to drive maximum value to our clients.

We can interface with your existing marketing manager/coordinator or other staff and assist them with select projects of importance. Yet, more times than not we are working collaboratively with an owner, partner, or key designate to help drive planning, actions, and then results.

If it relates to marketing, it relates to BrandME Marketing. We are not a full-service, in-house ad agency and we do not pretend to be. We are a team of professionals, led by a BrandME Marketing account manager (acting as your part-time marketing director) to help you plan and then implement your marketing initiatives.

BrandME actively supports the following client needs, including but not limited to:

  • Market Planning (brand immersions, marketing action outlines, media, budgeting...)
  • Market Research (analysis, varied surveys, intercepts, focus groups, customer interviews...)
  • Public Relations (press releases, newsletters, media pitching, event management, publicity...)
  • Graphic Design and Brand Creative (logos, ad/brochure layout, web design, collateral...)
  • Advertising (placement, production, promotion, web, print, radio, television, direct mail...)
  • Cause Marketing (sponsor/donor programs, dual event, integrating FP and NP strategies...)
  • Account and Project Management (consult, day-to-day, travel, vendor and media relations...)
  • Specialty Marketing (referral/loyalty programs, customer communications, web, contests...)
  • Copy and Concepts (writing, ideas, campaign concepts, tags, scripts, sales materials...)
  • Customer Management (list development, mail management, profiling, sales integration...)
  • Guerilla Marketing (event promotion, ambassador programs, collateral distribution...)

If there is any service deliverable you do not see listed above, please contact us. If BrandME can not provide it or help manage it, then our Rolodex can! We often refer folks direct to freelancers or full service ad agencies after assessing their needs.

Please Note: We purposely have excluded any creative samples or show-and-tell from our website. In short, we believe assessing the fit of a relationship is far more important at this stage than showing off a bunch of creative via a host of BrandME strategic partners you might hate or love. We would be happy to share a ton of client work samples with you at an appropriate time. Better understanding your needs so we can then match the right samples and resource partners to you is paramount. To see some work, let's have a meeting!

Rates and Terms Back to Top

BrandME Marketing service retainer fees are often dependent upon length of contractual agreement. We do offer a blended rate structure to optimize client value and allow administration efficiency.

Your monthly retainer will depend on your need and other service demands to be mutually agreed. Our minimum service retainer is 10 hours per month.

We do provide nonprofit clients who qualify with added rate and term benefits. All rates and terms are negotiable and flexible per mutual fit and agreement.

For-Profit Rates:
Annual service retainer – 65. per hour
6 month service retainer – 75. per hour
3 month service retainer – 85. per hour

Non-Profit Rates:
Flat rate service retainer– 60. per hour

Retainer hours are generally tracked on an ongoing basis. Within reason, we do not charge for overages and we do not credit for underages. End of term, retainer hours are audited and estimated and typically are used as precedent for the details of the next agreement.

BrandME service fees typically include but are not limited to: Consult, planning, analysis, meetings, travel, service time, account and project management, vendor and media coordination, some PR, some copy and concept work, some research, and other client directed tasks.
Think in terms of what a marketing director or coordinator typically does.

BrandME service billing goes out the first of every month with payment due in that month.

BrandME non-service fees typically include but are not limited to: production, media placement, printing, postage, most non BrandME associate freelancer support, design/layout, mail/list management, web support, etc.
Think in terms of what a marketing director or coordinator typically assigns.

Non-service fees are most often billed by vendor or freelancer net direct to client to allow for added value through BrandME wholesale rates, at NO commission, and NO mark up.

BrandME is also willing to quote on a custom project basis, and often works with new clients through an initial planning and immersion project before moving to a retainer relationship.

A brand planning project (whose key deliverable is a marketing action outline whether BrandME executes off it or you use another resource to admin) has a number of variables, including research options, but starts at 3,000 minimum.

In summary, BrandME Marketing's rates and terms are refreshingly different.

We offer flexibility – through varying term service retainers or custom pricing and estimates on projects and RFPs (Request for Proposal)

We offer value – at rates well below ad agency levels for similar services, net billing direct (no vendor mark up, no media commissions), wholesale rate advantages with vendors and freelancers, and blended pricing that combines senior and junior tasks.

Founder Bio Back to Top

BrandME Marketing's Don Russell enjoys a day at the park with his favorite brand, The Boston Red Sox.

Don Russell brings nearly three decades of diverse marketing experience and results to BrandME Marketing. His skill sets, versatility, energy, commitment, and idea generation are well respected by his peers.

One associate calls Don 'An unconventional marketer, trained in the trenches, willing to roll up his sleeves, talented, with incredible passion and ideas, unbelievably committed to client concerns; and Maine-based small business and nonprofits.'

Most importantly, Don Russell has effectively worked on three key sides of the marketing prism and applies that learning to BrandME every day in every way -

  • Media marketing management at Guy Gannett Communications and Mainetoday.com, Portland
  • Client marketing management at GM Pollack and Sons Jewelers, Scarborough
  • Ad Agency marketing management at one of Maine's finest, Ethos Marketing and Design, Portland, and at Halsted/Pollare/Fischer, Los Angeles

Other personal background highlights include:

  • Founder and first President of the Maine Marketing Association
  • President of the Waterfront Market Association
  • Member of the South Portland Planning Board
  • Board member/chair of First Congregational Church
  • Trainer/consultant to major news dailies in North America on web marketing and conversion
  • Nightly talk show host of WGAN Radio
  • USM adjunct professor
  • Frequent speaker and panelist on marketing topics

Don regularly donates pro-bono time and efforts to any number of area causes and nonprofits. He is a native of Greater Boston, but proudly resides in South Portland with son Matt, and daughter Emma. BrandME would also like to recognize Maggie 'Gammy' Russell, our 100 year old mutt, as the best friend and mascot anyone could ever have.

Maggie  :)

BrandME Associates and Resource Partners Back to Top

BrandME Marketing works regularly with a number of talented freelance professionals and strategic partners. They all have varied expertise that our clients have benefited from. The following is a sample list of just some of those trusted resources.

We thank them for their support and commitment to our consultancy model. Whether as a member of a BrandME project team, or as a longer term account supporter, our partners help BrandME help our clients succeed.

To learn more about any BrandME strategic partner or to be considered as a BrandME strategic partner please contact us.

Listings provided are incomplete. We are consistently exploring freelance and partner relationships that best fit our client's needs, budgets, and personalities.

BrandME Associates:

Don Russell
Founder & General Manager
Senior Account Manager
BrandME Marketing

Jeff Trent
Assistant Account Manager
Marketing & Branding Specialist
BrandME Marketing

Tom Bruton
Graphic/Web Design


Mark “Griff” Orlando
Marketing & Branding Specialist

Catherine Creighton
Graphic/Web Design
ThaloBlue Design, Inc.

Jess Whited
Graphic/Web Design
Whited Creative

Thomas Hillman
Creative Director & Client Relations Manager
Thomas Hillman Design

Becky Stockbridge
Owner & Designer
ibec Creative

Steve Schneider
Copywriter and Media Production
Bluewave Creative

David Unger
Non-Profit Consultant
Business and Not for Profit Solutions

If you would like to be considered as a BrandME strategic partner please contact us.

Business Opportunity Back to Top

BrandME Marketing is currently considering working ownership partners. If you are a qualified marketing professional, with an entrepreneurial spirit, and interest in being a part-time or temporary marketing director or coordinator for BrandME at the junior or senior partner level, contact Don Russell today for more information.

For the right person, BrandME would share some existing and ongoing work and revenue, as well as help in developing new client accounts for all partners to benefit from. You will need to be a versatile marketer with diverse abilities, strong verbal and written communication skills, and have a passion for business development and client service.

Are you looking for a new challenge? Would you prefer to join a proven, established and respected marketing consultancy at an ownership level vs. starting your own entity from scratch and taking all the risks?

Are you currently in a job with no ownership stake or freedom, but have ready access to potential client needs (in media sales, agency support, account or project management, internal marketing support)? Have you always wanted to be your own boss, but would prefer a team or partner approach?

Do you have the marketing and communications abilities necessary to allow great Maine brands the confidence and trust in you to help them plan and then implement their annual marketing directives?

After all, good marketing is all about asking good questions. Contact Don Russell today for more information on this business opportunity.

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