In today's digital age where consumers are exposed to brands across various platforms, it can be a challenge for companies to communicate a consistent brand experience at every interaction with the target audience. Paula Sartini has found a solution: Brand Quantum.
Tell us about yourself and your company
Branding needs to be instilled into every element of an organisation in order to make an impact on the customer, build trust and contribute to the company’s success. Having run a branding agency for more than 15 years, I learned that while companies understand the importance of branding, often the wheels come off at the point of execution. This is where Brand Quantum comes in. I started the company in 2014 to provide companies with a simple solution to help them deliver a consistent brand experience at every single customer touch point.
As an analytical thinker, I like to create solutions that make a real impact on my customer’s business. Brand consistency has been proven to be a critical component to company success. For the past three years, I have worked closely with various organisations to understand their challenges and create solutions that can help them to deliver a consistent brand experience.
Brand Quantum aims to help companies overcome these challenges. We have developed three software solutions, namely: Brand Office, BrandMail and Brand Forms to help companies deliver a consistent brand experience at every customer touchpoint via email, or documents and presentations. While companies have traditionally focused on winning customers via marketing initiatives such as advertising and campaigns, our cloud-based software solutions aim to help companies retain their customers by delivering a consistent brand experience every time because consistency builds trust.
Why is brand consistency important?
There’s been much research about the importance of brand consistency, with marketing directors and CEOs noting that brand consistency absolutely contributes to their business success. This is because brand consistency is critical to building credibility and trust.
When brands deliver an inconsistent experience, consumers get confused about the unique proposition the company offers against the competition and are uncertain about what they can expect from a brand. More importantly, they are left questioning where else the company may be taking shortcuts and not focusing on a consistent service or offering. This is especially important when it comes to the service delivery environment because, if a consumer doesn’t see brand consistency, they automatically think the service might not be that great.
Companies invest so much money into branding and creating beautiful work and if they deliver an inconsistent brand experience it dilutes that work.
Why do you think most companies find it so challenging to communicate a consistent brand experience at every interaction with their target audience?
The sheer number of channels and mediums we now have at our disposal (such as email, mobile, websites, social media etc.), as well as the volumes of communication marketers and other employees send out on a daily basis, makes brand consistency more complex. In addition, all these channels are not in the control of marketers alone. Often times there’ll be a myriad of pieces of communication floating around or being sent out to clients by other employees that the marketing team didn’t even know existed.
However, as customers have come to realise how they want to be treated, companies are starting to pay more attention to the customer experience and it is imperative that marketing evolves to take the reins on the overall brand experience. Today marketing departments have to be more involved in ensuring that every employee across the organisation delivers a consistent brand experience with every customer at every touchpoint.
Think about the Russian synchronised swimming team at the Olympics for example: If you’re one of the swimmers in the pool, you might not notice if you’re out of sync with the rest of the team, but to the spectators in the stands who have a macro view of the of the whole thing, it’s extremely obvious and will mostly be received negatively.
Tell us about the BrandQuantum solution. How did you identify a need for this kind of software and how can this help companies overcome the challenge of inconsistent branding?
It was really born out of the day-to-day frustration of not being able to easily adhere to brand consistency. It’s not that we created a product and hoped that people would need it, it was really built with this specific gap in mind.
As we wanted to make it really easy for employees of organisations to deliver a consistent brand experience, we decided, instead of forcing people to learn to operate another new software programme, to simply embed our tool into Microsoft Office. We realised that the majority of people were using the Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.) and so it made sense to make this our starting point.
Our solution aims to give users access to the right information at the right time in order to improve efficiency and save time. For example, when a new employee needs to get up to speed with the right branding such as letterheads, PowerPoint presentations, email signature, content, or documents to use, they don’t need to trawl the entire intranet to find something and hope it’s the correct version.
Depending on which brands they’re working on, they can be given access to the information that is relevant to them – easily accessible from within the Office document or email they’re busy working on – and have peace of mind that they are delivering the right information and a consistent brand experience every time.
What were some of the hurdles you faced along the way of developing Brand Office?
We’ve had lots of challenges! Our first solution was a file share solution, which meant we had to go onsite to roll out the product. Once we realised that cloud was an option, we decided to stop the bus and redevelop. That was obviously a scary thing to do.
We also had financial hurdles because we had to reinvest in development. The shift from an onsite solution to the cloud was a radical one. We had initially decided on the Azure cloud platform and I’m happy to say that it was the right decision. Azure was recently once again voted as one of the best cloud platforms.
Another major hurdle was to get adoption from enterprises and financial institutions but we knew if the technology was good enough for banks, it would be good enough for other businesses. We’re happy that we’re now starting to gain traction in the SME space as well.
Our mail product alone has been rewritten three times. But it is because our solutions have been developed according to our customer’s needs and we have had to adapt our solutions along the way to ensure that they are meeting their needs and driving business results.
I’m confident that our cloud-based solutions are better aligned to meeting business needs as we have taken input from various customers and developed a solution that helps them overcome their key brand consistency challenges with one interface, one backend. The nature of the business, however, is to be constantly in development - from a technology perspective.
What do you see as the role of technology in today’s global business landscape?
Technology has been interwoven into everything we do. Currently, technology solutions are shaping customer expectations and radically disrupting business models, for example, Uber which has changed the taxi and the food delivery industries. However, I believe that we have only started to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we can achieve using technology. Already we are starting to see health care and education make use of the technology to change the way they’ve traditionally done things, and it is exciting to see how technology will be used to change some of the world’s more pressing problems such as climate change.
To you, innovation is…
…about developing simple and meaningful ways to solving people’s everyday challenges.
What motivates/drives you?
I am driven by finding new ways to solve old problems which help my customers to succeed.
Your message of encouragement to women in the tech industry?
We need more women and girls in the technology space. Women bring a unique perspective to different challenges and offer a different set of skills to men. We need women to solve the challenges that women face in the workplace and in the world. With the creative ability and empathic approach that women innately possess, they will be able to conceptualise technological solutions that solve problems elegantly and innovatively to make a bigger impact to both business and society.
Ilse is a freelance journalist and editor who loves all things related to travel, wine, cars, and entrepreneurship. She is also the editor of Go & Travel, a platform connecting all the stakeholders in the travel & tourism industry. From 2010-2014, her beat was Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com. Then she had a 2-year adventure in Italy after which she returned to Bizcommunity as the Motoring, ICT, and Logistics editor. She decided to try the freelance thing as of August 2018 and she is still a contributing writer for Bizcommunity. You can check out her work here, here, and here. In her spare time, she's probably surfing, hiking, or travelling. Contact Ilse if you require any writing or editing services on (note .co NOT .com) or or find her on Twitter.
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