Michelle Holliday - Brand Strategist


Founder & Brand Strategist

Michelle Holliday is a brand strategist with close to 20 years’ experience in international marketing. Her expertise is in aligning internal and external branding and communications for powerful, sustainable impact.

Early in her career, Michelle was one of two expatriates responsible for establishing H.J. Heinz in the former Soviet Union. She developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy to launch five product categories, covering everything from pricing and positioning to packaging and promotion. When she left, the office had 35 employees and sales of $12 million a year, with product distribution throughout the former Soviet Union.

She left Heinz to become Brand Manager for the Coca-Cola brand for Russia, Moldova and Kazakhstan. With an $11 million marketing budget, she initiated and oversaw a full range of advertising campaigns. She is most proud of her work on the region’s first national contest, which tied together an under-the-cap prize mechanism, 3 television commercials, outdoor advertising, point-of-sale materials and a 30-minute nationally televised film produced specifically for the promotion. As she entered the position, Coca-Cola was new to the region and market leader Pepsi had a 20-year head start. When she left, Coca-Cola’s sales were double those of Pepsi’s.

Her growing interest in the internal side of branding led Michelle to leave Coca-Cola to co-found a consulting firm dedicated to leveraging culture and leadership more effectively. It was here that she developed the Engagement Competency Model (ECM), a diagnostic tool and guiding framework for building an organization that engages employees and customers on a sustainable basis. Based in Washington, DC, her firm’s clients included Merrill Lynch, the US Department of Energy and the Eurasia Foundation.

When personal circumstances led her to Montreal in 2004, Michelle continued to apply the ECM, first as a freelance consultant and then as founder of Cambium Consulting, a multi-disciplinary team blending brand strategy, organizational development and graphic design. In these capacities, her experience has included clients in foodservice, scientific fields, healthcare, retail management, consulting, business-to-business product offerings, and energy efficiency. For an international chain of cafés, her mandate was to help preserve the best and evolve the rest of the client’s culture. To this end, she developed and implemented an integral brand strategy, articulating the company’s positioning, developing and applying core marketing standards, and creating an employee training program and “vibe” video. Her contributions have been vital to the company’s rapid expansion. In another example, she helped all 650 employees of the Montreal Nature Museums to articulate and move toward a compelling shared vision. A highlight of that client relationship has been the opportunity to engage some of the world’s most brilliant nature scientists in conversation about the living systems theories that underlie the ECM.

When she is not helping clients, Michelle is writing a book that is both deeply philosophical and eminently practical describing the emerging era in human civilization, in which engagement is the only viable competitive lever.

Michelle has a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian Studies and a Master’s Degree with a concentration in International Marketing. She is certified to apply the values-based Cultural Transformation Tools. She has lived in the USA, Canada, Scotland, England, Russia and France and speaks English, Russian and conversational French.