The Creator. Getting to Know our CMO Damian Salter
20 May 2021
Damian Salter “The Creator”
Chief Marketing Officer & Co-founder @ ELEMENTARYb
As part of our series in getting to know what motivates our founders to build Eb, we introduce our CMO Damian Salter in this fifth chapter.
Damian is a brand specialist. With over a quarter of a century helping organisations shape how they are perceived. He defines his job as being the steady hand in the background shaping a brands’ strategy to convey integrity and spark imagination.
To Damian, whether inventing a new brand or revitalising an old one, the creative process requires a lot of listening to stakeholders, transforming their hopes and dreams into a coherent vision that resonates with the reality of their marketplace. Embracing a collaborative approach that nurtures talented teams, really is the key to igniting ingenuity in design thinking.
“Ideas come from people,
if you nurture them,
you nurture ingenuity.”
Damian got his start working for agencies, and sharpened his teeth on delivering brand revamps for fashion labels Van Heusen and IZOD. Over his career he has added strategic value, carving market share for Fortune 500, SMEs, startups, public sector organizations and not-for-profits. He has delivered for Meritas Ethical Funds, PVH, Nestlé, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Torquest Funds, to name a few. In fact, he jokes, there is barely an industry he hasn’t had some involvement in over the years.
Speaking of experiences, Damian acknowledges he has been lucky enough to live around the globe, plucked from Bolton, Lancashire (he will always be a Northern boy at heart), he has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and chose to settle in Canada. Somewhat of a self-confessed ‘commonwealth brat’, he would say that learning to adapt to cultural norms and practices, has helped him keep an open mind and a nimble understanding when getting to the core of a creative challenge.
Part of what drives Damian is making sure that included in any equation, is giving back. More specifically working with organisations to have that baked into their culture. Over the years he has helped companies shape their CSR and ESG reports. He took that one step further in 2010 and founded Elevator, a boutique agency specifically set up to help non-profit and cultural organizations gain the type of brand understanding that the big corporates had access to. Working with Women’s College Hospital during a sensitive relaunch, delivering for the Aga Khan Museum in the lead up to their opening, and creating new FinTech brands FireDrake and Bibox, amongst others, was all about capturing and projecting the authenticity and promise of their offering.
“Finding a sphere of work that I enjoy,
that can also help organizations effect real positive change,
is certainly a privilege.”
And as you might expect from someone that likes to walk the talk, his desire to personally and directly affect positive change, lead him to be involved in political campaigns, leveraging social media in its infancy to great effect. As far back as 2005 he was instrumental in the push to getting Equal Marriage (Civil Marriage Act) passed in Canada, as an advisor for Canadians For Equal Marriage.
So what about ELEMENTARYb, or Eb as he lovingly refers to it? From the get-go Damian understood the far-reaching impact for change that Eb’s proposition presented. As he got to meet (who later would become) the other co-founders, he realized that the opportunity for not only building an industry changing platform, but building an organisation with giving back at its cultural core was a tantalizing fit.
While he won’t want to bore you with a woeful tail of having childhood pocket money absorbed entirely by unempathetic financial institution practices, and he knows way better than to make any perceived political commentary about the irony of the big banks getting bailed out by the tax payer in the fall out of the 2008 collapse. To him, these things do rather paint a picture of a system that for whatever reasons can do better.
Interestingly he says, what Eb have been hearing through our extensive research, is that the MME sector experience backs up these perceptions and sentiments. Sadly now the pain is made all the more real with Covid.
“Covid has shown the real relevance of Eb,
it feels good to be a part of the help that is on the horizon”
And for him that is the beauty of what Eb can achieve. The focus of the platform is to put globalised midsize companies back in control of their financial future by supporting their decision-making and growth. It also helps their advisors support their MME clients better with more interactive engagement tools, allows financial product providers to offer more suitable products and fulfil those more cheaply. That there is a national focus including the North makes this potential all the more personal.
Asked about how he got involved in the first place: “I have known Karen [Rudich] for 24 years now”, Damian explains. “When I moved to Canada, my first place was this dishevelled apartment with fabric stappled to its floors. The neighbour was building an elaborate storage bookcase thing in her front garden. She looked up with a beaming smile and said ‘Hi Yawl’. Guess who that was?”, he adds with a smirk.
Damian has collaborated with Karen on numerous branding projects over the years, and notes, “so when she called me to say she’d sold one of my ‘babies’, quickly followed by, ”We’re going to build a new kind of data driven financial platform”, I realised that if anyone could succeed at shaking things up for the better, it was her!”, he exclaims.
“Simple, intuitive, elementary
– the future is exciting”
Giving a bit of insight, but not too much away, Damian explains, “As with every aspect of Eb, our build has been designed to be future-proofed, and the brand is no different. As a start-up we knew that we would be going through fast development and the brand not only had to be resilient to that, but flourish, transcending our journey.” He goes on to mention that Eb is offering a natural order of financial management, through an effortless client experience. Fostering a real connectivity so Eb clients are part of the cutting edge of business, part of a community. He reiterates, “Eb MMEs and their Advisors will feel understood, listened to, taken care of and empowered”.
Damian finishes off by saying “Eb is that rare thing, a truly innovative industry changing idea, that will have amazing impact for British companies and their communities, founded by a stellar team motivated by the potential to be a force for good. It’s a wonderful enterprise to be a part of.”