Boma Cheetham-West: Effective and Innovative Marketing
Talking with Boma Cheetham-West will give you a greater appreciation for the sounds in your environment. When we hear music in a public place – a restaurant, a gym, a hotel lobby – most of us don’t put a lot of thought into how that music was selected. In fact, it was probably “curated” or carefully selected by a firm like BomaCurates LLC, a Houston-based digital marketing and audio branding agency with specialties in social media management, email marketing, audio brand strategy, and music curation.
When a business owner wants to create a certain ambiance in a physical location, music is an important part of that experience. BomaCurates LLC will help the entrepreneur create an audio brand strategy, including custom playlists, and even regular updates to keep the music fresh. Cheetham-West describes one client who wanted to create a portable playlist: “It was a picnic company based in North Carolina, and they wanted me to curate a playlist that their customers could play during their romantic picnic package.”
And, an audio strategy encompasses not only music but also sound in general. Audio branding can include custom sounds, such as the “sonic logo.” Cheetham-West explains, “A sonic logo is a sound that a company will use alongside their logo to separate them amongst their competitors.” Widely recognized sonic logos include the “da-dum” sound when Netflix opens and the THX “Deep Note,” a resonant chord that swells at the start of any THX Certified film.
The special sauce of BomaCurates LLC is their focused attention on the customer’s goals. “What I try to hold dear is making sure that I’m doing what’s in the best interest of my client and that all our steps are going the right way toward their business goals.” What this means for most clients is centering on the audience: “The more a company can reach and engage their audience, the more their audience will trust them and want to purchase from them. I try to remember that throughout all my projects.” Cheetham-West emphasizes that her biggest hope for her customers is that they meet their business goals.
BomaCurates LLC represents an ideal confluence of Cheetham-West’s interests. “I have always loved music. I curated playlists for friends as freelance projects, and I posted my projects on my Instagram page.” Meanwhile, she studied business in school: “I studied marketing and entrepreneurship, and I took a job in consulting.” Uninspired by that work, and forced to be creative by the 2020 pandemic disruption, Cheetham-West wondered whether she could bring her interests together. In October 2020, after months of freelancing, she decided to make the leap and start her own digital marketing and audio branding agency, and she never looked back.
In running her own company, Cheetham-West discovered a career that she loves: “I did start my business out of necessity. But, I’ve always wanted to be a business owner, so I knew entrepreneurship was going to be in my future somehow or some way.” She continues, “I just love entrepreneurship. I love being a part of something that’s so instrumental to our economy. I’ve always wanted to be a business owner, a businesswoman, and an entrepreneur.”
A few of Cheetham-West’s family members have started their own businesses, so she had close role models and extensive business training. However, she says, there is no substitute for doing it yourself: “There’s so much to learn. There are still growing pains.” In the beginning, she found the experience humbling, but she has learned to enjoy the journey. “I’m really giving myself grace. There’s fruit in starting something and growing in it. You can’t just be perfect right off the bat – there’s really no fun in that.”
She advises aspiring entrepreneurs to take it a day at a time. And, she feels that it’s important to know that there are going to be days when you think about quitting: “There are days when, as an entrepreneur, it can be like, ‘Am I even sure I want to do this?’” But, she says, she pushes through the setbacks and the frustrations. “Just try again the next day. I think that is an important piece of insight.”
What Cheetham-West enjoys most about entrepreneurship is having creative control and being able to make choices. “I am in control of things. It’s the most fun, but it’s also the biggest challenge in running your business.” Everything falls on the business owner, every decision and each problem that needs to be solved. “I think sometimes it would be really nice to have someone to delegate tough decisions to,” she smiles. “I could kind of punt it to them and not have to deal with it.” However, she sees value in the pressure: “I have to do it, and it has helped me grow; so, I’m very thankful, and I receive all of it.” When times get tough, she leans on her faith and practices appreciation: “It’s truly a blessing to have my own business.”
Cheetham-West believes that anyone can start a business if they desire to: “I think it’s important for people to know that business owners and entrepreneurs are people like them – anyone can do this.” She tells her friends that she started BomaCurates LLC with nothing but an idea and “putting one step in front of the other.” However, she emphasizes the need for planning and preparation: “Make a strategic plan – plan, plan, plan; prepare, prepare, prepare.” As to the keys to being a successful entrepreneur, she names three: dedication, vision and passion. “I think all of these three qualities are good.” She smiles, “When one is lacking, you can lean on one of the others to get through the day.”
What she enjoys most about her work is the ability to connect with and help other business owners. “They are excited about their business, happy to do it, and going after their dream.” She finds these relationships the most gratifying: “I truly love helping people. I think it’s so important for us to utilize the skills that we have to help others. And, I’m thankful that I can do that in my business.”
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