This week’s Meet a Mom is Nicole Enslein, CEO & Founder of Sublime Communications! This Greenwich Mom has a deep background in communications, marketing PR and branding—she’s done everything from launching new brands like Serena Williams Jewelry to reinventing older ones like Eureka Vacuums. Previously, she was Director of National Advertising for UPS. We asked this #momboss to share the inspiration behind launching her own firm, her dream client, go-to working mom strategies, and more.
How did Sublime come together—what was the inspiration or “aha” moment?
As one of my favorite people and friends, Betsy Myers (a leadership expert, author, and advocate for women) always says, whatever you decide to do in life, it should have you “freaking out with joy.” Just the same way our kids react when they discover something new that they love, we should all encounter that same feeling about how we spend so many waking hours of our day (i.e., work). I don’t mean that you should be happy doing it every second, but after spending many years working at a big agency, I suddenly was not freaking out with joy. I started Sublime Communications to cultivate an environment where creativity and authenticity were fundamental to building brands—ones that could connect in a meaningful way to their audience—and have a lot of fun along the way.
Can you please share a bit about your background and how that helps you in your current CEO role?
Growing up my parents exposed me to so much culture and always taught me to be open minded. My mother, who never really fulfilled her desire to work, offered me tremendous encouragement to go out and find myself in the work world. Throughout my career I sat at both sides of the desk…the client side and the agency side, which enabled me to better grasp each mindset, the challenges on each side and what approach was required to make a successful partnership.
I learned to read people and used my open mindedness to help creatively (and hopefully constructively) to solve problems. I can identify what I call people’s “superhero powers.” These are the skills that everyone has which really shine – the things they do better and with more joy than others. The trick is to bring out these talents and try to ensure that people can do the things that best suit their superhero powers. The best teams are a sum of the individuals who make them up. If each person is doing what they do best, and are happiest at, they shine. And that sparkle is what makes a successful team; the kind of team that is a pleasure to lead as CEO.
What has been your biggest challenge (or pivot) during COVID?
We experienced a downshift in media budgets during COVID but at the same time, we helped many of our clients’ revamp and accelerate their digital marketing efforts as consumers became relegated to their homes and their computers. We also used this time to deepen our relationships with VCs, private equity firms and budding entrepreneurs to learn about the trends that would unfold in the year ahead. I have also spent more time mentoring and conducting webinars. Mentoring is another way of paying it forward. Women are powerful. We need to support one another and bolster each other. Together there is nothing we can’t achieve.
You spend a lot of time/effort giving back and are on the boards of amazing organizations like Girls with Impact and Miss O and Friends, both of which we’ve recently covered! What inspires you to give back? The opportunity to pave a brighter, future path for the next generation of female leaders is incredibly meaningful to me. Giving of ourselves to others is what I find most rewarding. Another organization I have recently become involved with is Positive Exposure, which was founded by Rick Guidotti, a celebrated fashion photographer who was in the business of shooting supermodels in London, Paris, and Milan. One day, at a bus stop, he encountered a stunning woman who had Albinism. It began to change the way he saw beauty. Positive Exposure means to radically change the world to be a more compassionate place where people with disabilities will also be seen for their beauty.
I have friends with children who have recognizable birth defects, and the way people stare and treat them is unacceptable. I invite your readers to visit positiveexposure.org and learn more. Or better yet, take the kids to PE109, on Museum Mile in NYC, a gallery of amazing images by Rick to celebrate joy and diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.
What separates Sublime Communications from other firms?
In short, it is our passion and entrepreneurial spirit. We like to blaze our own trail, and we don’t believe in cookie cutter solutions.
We sought to reinvent the relationship between client and agency – blurring the lines between our companies to be one connected team. Our relationships are built on trust, passion, and the desire to help companies achieve a deeper connection with their core values and the way in which they present those values to the world. Our team really gets under the hood to uncover a company’s DNA, and the insights that motivate consumers behavior. When our clients win, we win. We also work proactively to bring ideas to our clients at the speed of technological change.
Do you have any projects that stand out for you as ones you’re particularly proud of?
It’s always an amazing feeling to be with a client from the very beginning and stick with them as they hit the big time. That’s what happened with Cylance, a cybersecurity provider and one of our cornerstone accounts. And our success with Cylance has opened many doors for us in the cybersecurity world.
Before working with Sublime, Cylance had never done any advertising. They were having a tough time getting a seat at the table because no one had ever heard of them. We launched a multi-channel campaign (out of home, print, digital, radio, and experiential) that used the word “silence,” as a mnemonic device to reinforce the brand recognition and as a synonym for what Cylance does—stop cyber attacks.
Our campaign results were astounding, a +566% increase in sales over a one-year period and Cylance was named the fastest growing cybersecurity company by Inc. Magazine. Most recently, they were recently acquired by BlackBerry for $1.4 billion dollars. Now that’s success, and we were with them every step of the way!
Who is your dream client?
Great question. Certainly, a client that has a product or service that solves a real problem in the marketplace – whether it is technology, a luxury brand, cyber security, or any other category. For it to be a dream client or product, there needs to be a real need for its existence. Ideally there will be a defined marketing budget in place and someone at the helm who can clearly define the goals and objectives at hand. Once we have these key ingredients in place, our job (and passion) is identifying the intersection between what is true and authentic about a brand and what is most important to the target audience. With alignment on the success metrics in place, we can hit the ground running!
What’s your working mom strategy/mantra?
Breathe and breathe some more. We can’t be perfect every day and we must remember to make the quality time with our kids vs. trying to do it all every second of the day. We must also remember to make time for ourselves to be productive, happy, and patient parents. So often I speak with moms and dads who forget themselves in the equation. We are the CEOs of our own lives and need to make sure we take care of ourselves so we can take care of everyone else!
What’s next for Sublime in the next year?
Over the next year, we will continue to add to our portfolio of technology and cyber clients and market Delamar’s newest hotel, Delamar Traverse City. We are also aligning our clients with strategic investors to help them realize their dreams. We will also continue to give back and support non-profits and companies we find that support diversity and inclusion, which has a tremendous value for society.
Five year plan?
We will continue to expand our talented team in an atmosphere where suburban life and an amazing work life are truly harmonious. We will also continue to deepen our client engagements with more value-add and ingenuity. Sky is the limit as I like to say.
Be known as the agency who shakes up the advertising industry with passion and purpose.
We love to support local businesses. Can you please share your favorite places to:
Go as a family for dinner: Miku
Go out for date night: L’escale and Hinoki
Get your hair done: Paulo Lanfredi and Salon Bleu
Get your nails done: Cozy and Empys
Go shopping: Saks
Anything else you’d like to add?
Delamar is a client of ours and, of course, my favorite place to luxuriate in town and visit their award-winning spa for a massage or a facial that will make you freak out with joy!