What is Brand Regard, and how did you and your team get started in this field?
Brand Regard is an online repository for marketing and branding material. We enable agencies and brands to find and distribute the correct marketing material for a brand quickly and easily. This saves agencies a lot of time and provides clients and brands with a professional, secure file management service which also functions as a fully-fledged brand portal.
The initial idea came to us early 2009. We noticed that digital asset management software vendors were selling tailor-made, highly customized solutions to their clients at high costs. And even though the solutions were tailor-made, most were variations on the same core functionality. And they were usually bloated with unnecessary features and complications. We wanted to make things simple. Our goal was to make software that solves a big problem that happens every day in both large and small organizations. We also wanted to make it available to everyone with a flexible pricing model.
How should the marketing/advertising industry utilize Brand Regard to create better end-results for its clients? How are brands currently using the service?
We discovered two recurring themes during our market research for Brand Regard. First, agencies and brands were wasting time looking for files, and second, brands were being miscommunicated because of an incorrect use of said files.
In most cases when employees are looking for marketing files, they look on their own computers, their email inboxes or FTP drives. And they’ll usually use whichever file they find first, regardless of whether it’s the latest version of the file, the right version for their use-case, etc. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they contact someone in marketing who will either go through the same process or contact the agency. The end result is wasted time and possibly the incorrect application of a brand.
Our clients use Brand Regard to give everyone access to the right files in a central location. If a logo or an ad is updated, the old one is removed from the repository and a new one replaces it. As long as employees find it easier to locate files on Brand Regard than on their local system, the client has ensured everyone uses the right file.
Marketers, brands, agencies and employees all need to be able to represent their brand in the way it was intended. The marketing and advertising industry invests billions every year on producing marketing material. With Brand Regard this material can be easily managed, maximizing the return on this investment.
What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that Brand Regard would fill a void? Describe the void.
The digital asset management industry is characterized by high margins, bespoke software and very high consulting fees. The fees are so high, small and medium sized companies are priced out of the market. Nevertheless, this market represents an opportunity worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. This is the same kind of market other software industries were stuck in almost a decade ago, before companies such as Salesforce.com introduced a new business model based on hosted software and monthly on-demand licensing fees. Brand Regard is doing for digital asset management what Salesforce.com and others did for other software sectors.
Why is brand consistency and perception important to you and your team?
A brand is more than a product, a logo, a typeface or even a mascot. It’s not a sound, an ad, a strapline or a website either. All of the above can form part of a brand, but it’s how people perceive these things as a whole that make them a brand. The brand itself represents a company’s values, its promise to the customer – its personality even. When a brand is consistent across all its customer touch points, it inspires trust. Equally, when it is inconsistent or misrepresented, this trust is undermined. Companies typically invest time, effort and money in building a brand, and we see it as our role to help them protect this investment. Our clients range from two-person teams to multinational corporations. Everyone has a brand to build and convey, and we help them do that efficiently and cost effectively.
What are some of the most common problems agencies and brands face when creating brand consistency? Do you feel that asset management can help to solve these issues?
No one will stick to the brand guidelines if they can’t find them. And no one will use the latest version of a logo unless it’s at least as easy to find as the version they downloaded six months ago. The most common problem is accessibility: Making the right files easy to find and use. Agencies and their clients often invest large amounts of time in creating the exact right look and feel for a brand, only to fail when it comes to empowering employees and partners in getting the message across.
What does the future of Brand Regard look like?
Our vision is for Brand Regard to become the nervous system of any branding or marketing department. With activity feeds, usage reports and user profiles, any question regarding a brand or a marketing campaign should be answered with three clicks or less in Brand Regard. We want every single employee of every organization that uses Brand Regard to be in the know of how to apply the brand and to be able to do so instantly and without effort.
Agnar Sigmarsson is the co-founder and head of marketing at Brand Regard, a Reykjavik/London-based company that helps companies manage their most important assets: their brands.
Agnar started his first business, a publishing house, when he was in University and sold it in 2009. When he graduated, he worked as a stockbroker in an investment bank. He then co-founded Brand Regard in 2009 with his business partner Geir Freysson. Agnar has a degree in business from Reykjavik University.