As a Black woman working in marketing, Keli Hammond tries to blaze trails and open doors for women and other minorities.
The challenges she experiences in her career, like being ignored in the workplace, have only motivated her more, said Hammond, a 2004 Temple University advertising alumna.
Hammond is her own boss and the founder of B Classic, a strategic marketing and communications firm in Washington, D.C. that works with commercial, nonprofit and government clients. This month, her firm published her self-help book “CRAVED,” which aims to help people build a successful personal brand. The book is sold on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walmart and other retailers.
The book details methods like growing a brand through social media and differentiating a product line. She was inspired to write this after meeting people throughout her career who struggled with branding and marketing.
Hammond has worked with several clients who were close to giving up on their dreams because they weren’t getting the outcomes they hoped for. One of her clients, who has her own natural skincare product line, needed to learn to differentiate her brand from corporate competitors to be successful, Hammond said.
“Part of the reason for the book was to help the underdogs that are really trying to make their dreams stick and really trying to make their ideas a reality,” she added.
Hammond knew she wanted her book to include straightforward lessons, unlike other marketing books that are complex and difficult to understand, she said. Months of researching how to address branding and marketing issues, like connecting with customers, went into the writing process. She rewrote the book several times to simplify it.
“I really wanted people to understand that marketing is not a negative thing,” Hammond said. “I wanted this book to be a resource for people.”
The importance of her firm and book stems from showing people their value, she added. In addition to brand development, B Classic conducts advertising campaigns, promotes events and helps clients use social media to grow their brands.
“A lot of people know what they do, but they don’t know how to say what they do and tell people what they do in a way that makes people want to engage with them,” Hammond said.
Jacqueline Loweree, the director of partnerships at B Classic, said Hammond’s career inspires her, because she is a Hispanic woman working her way up in the business world.
“She is an unstoppable woman who is very grounded,” Loweree said. “There is this one saying that goes, ‘She got her feet on the ground, but she is able to look up at the stars,’ and that is how [Hammond] is.”
Hammond “craves” more growth when it comes to her career, which inspired her book’s title, she said. The title is also a play on words about food, she added.
“When people think of the word ‘crave,’ they think of cupcakes, cookies or food,” Hammond said. “With the same way that food can be craved, so can branding.”
A simple understanding of branding, marketing and advertising can help ambitious people accomplish their business goals, she added.
Loweree sees Hammond working toward her dreams in this way.
“I called her a ‘fountain of dreams’ the other day,” Loweree said. “She always has ideas. She is driven. When she wants to do something, she wants to give her best for it.”
Hammond doesn’t plan to stop dreaming any time soon and wants to continue to help other people achieve their own dreams.
“I want to have dreams so big that they make me uncomfortable,” Hammond said. “I am super pleased with what I have managed to accomplish thus far, but it is just the beginning.”
Zari Tarazona contributed reporting.