Guest Profile

Deborah O’Grady

Deborah O’Grady, The Brand Coach™


Deborah O’Grady is a highly valued, experienced, marketeer who’s been the brains behind many household brands. Having been on the winning team of the First Direct brand back in ’90s, evolving the Silentnight brand to No.1 in its market, bringing Hugo Boss fragrances to the masses, Nivea to men and Irn Bru to boys, she knows how to create and roll out brands that pack a punch.


Having ran her own agency and advised others, she now brings her big brand knowledge to the online entrepreneurial market; combining her intuition with her strategist and creative thinking she creates brands that unleash your power™ to attract a buying audience and have more impact in the world.


“In the age of social media where Insta stories are considered strategic marketing you can ‘launch a brand’ in a day, but without the creating those solid foundations of a business, its all guesswork. Research and planning is key; understanding your market, researching your audience and really getting under the skin of your customer and creating a brand that will stand the test of time.this works for the big brands so why would smaller businesses not follow suit? Everyone is looking for shortcuts these days, for quick fixes and this scares me. It scares me because there’s no longevity in it, and no depth of connection to their audience. As soon as you put any type of communications out there, be it strategic or not, you have created a brand - as brands are built on in the mind of your consumers The question is - are you influencing their perception in the right way, and steering it to influence what you want them to think, or are just leaving it all to chance…? There are ways entrepreneurs can incorporate strategy used by the big boys, to provide them with a stronger brand that will stand the test of time, and that’s what I’m here to help with, through my coaching and my brand model process”.


Specialisms to comment on:- Strategic Marketing; Business Strategy; Building brands online; Personal brand development for online entrepreneurs; Customer journey; Target audience profiling and segmentation; Industry trends; Digital brand building; Women in Business; The digital consumer: Brand loyalty; Customer service; brand experience; Imposter Syndrome; Working Mums, start ups,


Deborah provides coaching and courses, as well as brand development programmes for ambitious entrepreneurs who have left corporate life, to develop their own businesses, helping them create brands that will enable and support their growth plans, based on her 20 years’ experience.


Deborah’s Story

The daughter of an entrepreneur, Deborah has always been enterprising - at the age of 7 discovering that rhubarb could dye your hair, she believed others needed to know about this so packaged it up and sold it as a ‘new product to market’ to her friends and school mates. At 10 she organised her own mini festival, bringing together multiple different stall holders in a local field and creating her own products to sell - marketing it with flyers and door drops and co-ordinating a team of people to bring it all together, raising money for a local charity along the way, Ambitious -yes- but then Deborah was always considered to be ‘too much” from an early age, standing out in her strict Catholic school, where she wanted to do anything but conform, however conforming, at school, and at home, was what brought her love and acceptance, so she towed the line as much as she could.


Despite her early enterprises, Deborah didn’t dream of becoming an entrepreneur, happily entering the rat race working her way up the corporate ladder from a graduate scheme straight from uni. Kicking her career off at the biggest ad agency out of London she worked within every department, cutting her teeth on accounts such as Seven Seas and McCains, and learning every element of how a brand is taken to market. Ambitious and a quick learner she quickly moved up the ranks and gained vast experience from some of the best ad agencies in the country within just a few years of being employed. Headhunted from job to job she felt she had found her calling, and working in creative industries was a way of her leveraging ‘being too much’.


However, agency life wasn’t to be and Deborah found her own path after saying goodbye to working with the big brands, once she no longer felt aligned to this, taking a year out and heading to Switzerland on a Spiritual retreat after being asked to help create a ‘healthy’ kids drink full of sugar. She turned them down and fell out of love with the ad industry, realising she wasn’t prepared to compromise her values to use marketing to deceive audiences.


Having stopped and removed herself from the fast pace, high-powered industry she realised she had hit burnout, and needed to realign, to find her real purpose. She also realised that despite marrying the man of her dreams, and just having moved to her dream house - she still wanted more. So with renovating costs spiraling Deborah quit her high paying clients and committed to her own self-discovery.


With everyone believing she had lost the plot, her husband included, she explored holistic therapies and trained in holistic health coaching, particularly loving the life purpose training. She deep dived into self-development, which she’s been passionate about since her twenties, thanks to being sent on a ‘Phenomenal Woman Programme’ at 25, when she started to recognise imposter syndrome and identify elements of her anxiety. An introvert, extrovert, she’s battled against herself for years, whist climbing the career ladder and life coaching became a key part of her development, having now invested in it for over 20 years.


It was whilst on a coaching programme that she met her first client, who begged her to help her set up her business and create a brand and that’s where it all began.


Having always struggled playing small and finding a renewed purpose after having her daughter at the age of 36, following multiple miscarriages and Celiac Disease, Deborah felt the need to feel more connected to her work, and to embark using her skills in a different way.


She is now passionate about helping others make the most of their full potential.


Her career has not only seen her launch what have become household names but also she has also advised large creative agencies at management level, on their own development and growth and has consulted on MBOs - all in very male dominated environments. She’s worked client side, worked in agencies, advised agencies and owned her own.


Her approach has always very much been focused around building relationships and on understanding the needs of varying audiences -something she learnt very early in her career, - this helped her climb the career ladder to work with household names and it’s also something that has enabled her to build connections with her entrepreneurial clients today.


Hobbies: Deborah enjoys Hot Yoga to help her unwind, reading and music.


The Brand Coach™

A straight talking Yorkshire woman Deborah has always challenged her clients, even when they were household names, and her confidence and conviction to do so is what gets results,


Blending her design and branding knowledge with her coaching expertise as a qualified life coach, Deborah supports her clients practically helping them to use strategic marketing methods to find clarity on how to develop their brand, and she complements this with her support as a fellow entrepreneur who is championing her clients, to help them find confidence and clarity in their business.


When setting up her own business, Deborah struggled with imposer syndrome, as transitioning from being at the top of her game in employment to starting from scratch as a business owner really triggered her anxiety, -she describes this transition as “an uncomfortable place to be”. Helping her clients to create strong brands is so important to her as she knows that with this comes confidence and clarity - something she wants to empower more fellow entrepreneurs with.


Deborah O’Grady, The Brand Coach™

“I know how it feels to start a business from scratch - it can be a confusing and anxious time as we feel out of our depth and often lose our direction. With so many businesses still failing before they hit the 5-year mark, we need to start removing the risk of this. What removes risk? Research? What brings confidence and clarity? Having a strategy. It’s time to say ’no more’ to winging it on Facebook and for ambitious entrepreneurs to take their brand marketing seriously if they really want to make a long-term impact. I’ve seen clients dramatically transform their business having reconnected to their ideal client and having researched their market opportunities - this kind of strategy really shapes people’s businesses and we need to see more of it in the entrepreneurial space”.


We are living in an era of the unreasonable consumer; there is so much choice out there we have come to only expect clear and easy messages at an instant. If you’re not clear who and what you stand for and who you serve, the consumer will look elsewhere.


“ I see thousands of entrepreneurs striving to make an impact on the world - who have quit corporate life because they are driven by a mission, women running incredible businesses which are making a difference to the lives of others - yet the message can often not been strong enough and blend in with a sea of sameness. Why? Because they are putting out mixed messages, confusing offerings and inconsistent brand identities - because they know no different. They don’t know what they don’t know and many have never been exposed to strategic marketing - I want to make a difference to these business, to help them create the success they deserve”.


“Creating a business is a huge commitment, and those who do it have a lot riding on it it’s a big deal and making uninformed guesses is a massive risk. Using up-to-the-minute marketplace insights, competitor analysis and some of the best global research available, I go in-depth on every level – looking at what it is my client wants their business to be, and how to position their brand so they standout for all the right reasons. I don’t just look at who the target market is, but what motivates them and what challenges they are facing, so brands connect with them on an emotional level. This deep work pays off to give my clients and their buyers clarity, and the meaningful insights gained help shape the business to ensure those at the helm are building it on solid foundations.”


Deborah’s Services Using her experience from working with global brands Deborah focuses on helping f entrepreneurs improve brand communications to enable them to connect, with clarity and confidence, to create a buying audience. Bringing a strategic business focused marketing approach, and using her unique ‘brand model’ she enables business owners to develop their brand based on solid foundations which will hold them in good stead when scaling the business for future growth.


• 1-1 brand consultancy

• Brand Mastermind

• Group Program The Power OF Your Brand®


Client Testimonials

• “Deborah brings in a depth of strategy you don't tend to find with her competitors. It helps that she has a proven agency background. When she first presented her strategy to me I cried. She'd pulled out things I hadn't even vocalised as they weren't yet clear to me, things that I stand for, things that mean a lot to me.She totally 'got me'. It takes talent to do that, and a true understanding of 'brand'." Gemma Went; online business consultant and growth strategist


• "My brand strategy ended up in tears; happy tears. Deborah got me from day one and has somehow reached into my soul and translated me into my brand. Something I had failed to do on my own. I have been in business for 18 months and feel like I am just starting. The brand strategy sessions and feedback was amazing, she then translated that into a beautiful logo, colour palette and strapline. I feel clear and confident that when a potential client sees my branding they are seeing me. That is priceless! I cannot recommend her highly enough! “Charlotte Pridmore, Transformation Coach


• “Deborah is a pure genius at what she does. My brand really wasn't an easy one to pull together and she did it! In fact, she smashed it! It's hands down the best money I have spent on my business. In the first two weeks of relaunch I had four new client enquiries and 6 collaboration requests, this hasn't been the case previously. I feel so confident in my brand.” Rose Radford, Business & Sales Coach


"This process has unearthed me and my business from a depth I didn't know was there.Deborah in her beautiful, magnificent, intuitive, brilliant way guided me through her unique process to understand the truth of who I was in my business.As a result, my entire business is completely different. I can't wait to continue growing and scaling with you by my side as my coach! Shari Teigman Performance Mentor + Creative Strategist