Paula Sartini, CEO and founder of BrandQuantum tells us how they build software that delivers consistent customer experiences.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Paula Sartini: Thank you for asking. I don’t believe there is a single person on the planet that has not been affected by COVID-19. Our South African government took stringent measures early in the pandemic. Whilst we continue to battle the virus, I believe the decisive leadership shown has resulted in us managing the pandemic much better than some other countries around the world.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded BrandQuantum.
Paula Sartini: BrandQuantum is a culmination of various chapters in my life which converged and ultimately culminated in what BrandQuantum is today – a business that makes me excited to get up every morning and serve the wonderful clients that we work with around the world.
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and this was evident from a young age when I found odd jobs to do for pocket money, such as cleaning my sister’s bedroom, baking and decorating birthday cakes for family friends, and designing jewelry. I was also fortunate enough to be exposed to computers from a young age. My father brought home one of the first Apple II computers and encouraged me to learn some basic programming. Through all my experiences, I learned that there are always multiple ways to solve a problem, and this is the philosophy that has guided my career.
I started my first business when I was in university and it was so successful that my bank manager at the time asked me where I was getting all the money from as I was still quite young and my business had a fairly good revenue stream. After that, I decided that I needed to gain corporate experience and fill marketing positions at a few technology companies before establishing an award-winning branding agency. Having worked with several companies at the time to help them overcome their brand challenges, I realized that while we were creating beautiful brands and giving these companies brand guidelines to help them to achieve brand consistency in all their branding across the company, putting this into practice was a huge challenge for them. I decided that there had to be an easier way for companies to overcome their brand consistency challenges and that there should be a solution for companies to make changes to their brands such as letterheads and presentations and roll these out quickly and easily to the rest of the organization. After searching for a solution I realized that one didn’t exist and that if I wanted to make a difference to my customer’s businesses I would have to come up with the solution myself. This led to the start of BrandQuantum.
How does BrandQuantum innovate?
Paula Sartini: I believe that innovation and optimism go hand in hand. I’m inspired by creativity and innovation and passionate about design thinking which is about simple, elegant design that solves a problem. The key to design thinking is listening to understand what the problem is and then developing a solution that addresses this problem. For example, when our customer had a specific requirement to add Calendly into BrandMail we adapted our solution to do this, another customer needed our BrandMail ribbon to be translated into Chinese so we developed a multilingual ribbon to accommodate for various languages and meet the needs of the users. As such design thinking, which is central to our business, overcomes the traditional challenge of leaving the development to the development team without having insight into the end-user environment and needs.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Paula Sartini: We decided that employee safety is critical to our business and as such employees have been working from home since the onset of the pandemic. We have experienced a few challenges in reaching out to potential customers but have seen an increase in interest in our offering from international companies. As our solutions allow companies to deliver consistent brand experiences from wherever they may be international companies have been seeking out our solutions and our customers are recognizing the value of our platform with their employees working from home.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Paula Sartini: It was an adjustment to implement a work from home policy for our employees, however, we adapted quickly and realized that we can engage via online platforms that made it easier to work remotely. We also implemented new marketing tactics to attract a global audience which has been a valuable experience for us as it has extended the awareness of our offering beyond the South African borders.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are helping you navigate the crisis?
Paula Sartini: Our BrandQuantum solutions BrandOffice and BrandMail have been used to help us ensure consistency across all documents and emails. Our remote workforce has been able to deliver consistent email branding and signatures in every email communication and they can access the relevant documents needed to attach to emails directly via the BrandMail ribbon in Outlook, ensuring that all correspondence sent to clients is the most up-to-date and relevant information.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Paula Sartini: There are several offerings on the market that provide customers with tools to deliver on-brand documents or emails, however, none are a platform solution. This means that they may offer a solution for PowerPoint or Word or email, our offering works across the entire Microsoft suite, providing users with a single platform accessed across the MS suite of programs and helps to deliver brand consistency across all documents, presentations, emails and more. Further our solutions have been developed with branding expertise at the core to enable our customers to quickly and easily implement consistent branding in every customer interaction. Finally, our solutions have been developed using the latest security functionality to help companies to adhere to data privacy and security regulations such as the POPI Act and GDPR.
Your final thoughts?
Paula Sartini: The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work forever with the new work from anywhere philosophy becoming a reality. We are working to help make this reality a seamless one for marketers, brand managers, and IT departments with our product offering that delivers consistency of brand across platforms to give marketers full control over the branding elements while freeing up the IT department to focus on what they need to do.
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