Meet Patricia Mbatia, Founder of Game Changer Marketing Agency

July 1, 2019

Describe yourself

Creative; driven; optimistic. I am an eternal optimist and love to surround myself with positive people with great energy who are infected by the power of possibility. Like Hannibal, the Conqueror of Rome (217BC), said: I will either find a way or make one.

How was your childhood?

I grew up in rural Kenya; a wholesome life with long stretches of nothing to keep one entertained. This is what pushed my siblings and I to become creative in how we made our own fun. Boredom is a good thing. We would go on little adventures, fishing in the rivers around the mountain or climbing the pepper trees.

I was the pesky younger sibling who couldn’t run fast enough or got tired quickly but wanted to go along for the fun. My sister was the natural born leader, my brother the community manager and my younger brother the geek; I was simply the doggedly determined bookworm.

Everyone had a chore to complete; and we all helped on the farm, planting the maize, carrots, beans, potatoes and peas and weeding. We had an orchard of orange trees but baby carrots freshly dug up were my favourite treat.

School was super important and I was lucky to find it relatively easy. It was always an unspoken expectation that one needed to work hard, strive to succeed and find a path to make a positive impact in one’s own way. Life was happy and I thank God for my parents and my siblings everyday.

Tell us more about your family

My dad is a retired army officer and my mum was a super dedicated teacher. I have three siblings and we are all very different on the surface of it, but very similar when it comes to the values that were instilled in us: hard work is good for your soul; being good to people is required; finding your calling, doing the most and playing your part with good humour, great manners and a sense of optimism is the way to live.

What is your greatest strength?

I believe in challenging the status quo and I like to think I have heaps of that creative courage required to offer new answers to my client’s questions. At Game Changer, I insist that my team push the envelop on creativity because boring is invisible and we are in the business of creating lasting emotional impressions.

As a creative director, what does your job entail?

I am the founder of Game Changer Marketing, and an entrepreneur puzzle solver. I love to find workable solutions for problems in the marketing space. I like to think of myself as the Chief Ideas Officer.

Imagine a world in which the vast majority of us can wake up inspired, feel safe at work, deliver brilliant solutions and return home fulfilled at the end of the day. That’s the world I want to live in. So everyday I strive to be the leader I wish I had when I was an employee. I strive to make a difference to the lives of my family, my colleagues, my clients, my vendors and the people around me.

What were you doing before Game Changer?

I had an art school with a very artistic friend when we first finished university. We laughed and laughed, and had lots of fun for those three years that we run the school. Then we realised we would make quite some good money but have none at the end of the day. We acknowledged just how green we were in running a business and how much we needed more exposure in the world of work.

Then I discovered my first love — Experiential Marketing. Did that for a South Africa-based agency for a bit then set up Game Changer Marketing. We are celebrating five years this year and are still as excited as during those early days.

Describe your typical workweek

Every day is an adventure. No week is ever the same. My clients’ briefs change and, therefore, so do our marketing solutions.

We work on each project as a new venture; the better you do the more effort you have to put in to top that. In addition, in my experiential world, you are only as good as your last production.

I spend the week either creating, planning, meeting clients, meeting vendors or bringing brand experiences to life.

I work with my different teammates to make the office environment better, thinking of innovations, brainstorming new ideas, marketing our services to new and existing clients and doing necessary house keeping.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Seeing a brand experience come to life and connect deeply and emotionally with its intended audience always makes my day.

I enjoy the challenge of creating emotive solutions and immersive brand experiences that turn the people that matter the most to my clients into their biggest advocates.

Is this everything you aspired to be since you were a little girl?

We didn’t have much exposure to opportunity and aspiration growing up and my outlook was quite limited, so I didn’t have a clear view of what career would be mine.

But I read voraciously and felt like I was travelling the world through any novel I could get my hands on. TV was another window to the world that I loved, but ours was often fuzzy and unclear because of where we were located; we lived in the shadow of Mount Kenya.

Travel, creativity and some form of media have remained the underlying driver of everything I do.

What motivates you?

I am driven by the possibility of success and winning. Imagine if we all obsessed over the things we loved about ourselves and all the things that could go right! I hope my choices will create a positive ripple effect in the lives of others and the world at large. That magic of possibility and power of creativity to change how people experience their world is what drives me.

What do you find challenging in your line of duty?

My business is driven by people; they are a joy but also a challenge. My biggest challenge is to be the leader I have always wished existed for me.

It’s easy to drive oneself and deliver; it’s a challenge to rally a group to think together, act with the same values and deliver to the standard one desires. This takes time, energy, never ending commitment.

Who do you look up to as role model(s)

I find inspiration everywhere and from different people my brothers, my sister, my colleagues, some people on my Instagram feed, Goalcast, Tedtalks, . .Anyone with a positive message and who is doing amazing things rather than just talking about it inspires me.

What item can’t you leave the house without?

I never leave home without my laptop. I don’t leave home without my Maasai blanket and my good sense of humour. I have to be ready to work on the fly, get warm quickly in case of an unscheduled late night and take every challenge thrown my way with a good attitude.

What do you do when free?

I love stories; Books are my biggest luxury and I also love film. Books and movies are so experiential, they transport you to another world. I love that experience. I grew up in rural Kenya and being able to travel the world from my parents’ living room couch was the most enjoyable thing ever. I have carried my love of stories into my adulthood.

What mantra do you live by?

Maya Angelou: People will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will always remember how you made them feel.

What gives you the greatest satisfaction?

Creating something from nothing sets my soul on fire. Watching people grow and flourish gives me the greatest joy.

What are your future plans?

Finding more of my joy through disruptive but relevant creativity; building amazing brand experiences and bridging the disparity between creativity and execution so that we completely change how people experience brands.

What’s your dream holiday destination?

I have become a cruise addict thanks to my big sister. We celebrated her birthday with a Carnival Vista Caribbean adventure. I was surprised by the size of the ship. It was like a sky scraper lying on its side.

We were pampered, catered to and spoilt to death. There were personal stewards for each room who answered our questions, cleaned up after us and kept our wine chilled. It was like having a butler but everyone on the ship had one too. So luxurious.

Basically, everything on the ship was included in the cruise fee, the ultimate all-inclusive. So we were given these little cards to carry around and show the staff when we wanted something.

What other form of vacation allows you to see so many places in just one trip? Where else would you experience all the different cultures in small delicious packages?

I have become cruse crazy, signing up to different sites to get cruise updates. I dearly wish we had a cruise ship offer locally so we can jump off from our own coastline.

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