News & Views

Event Debrief / OnBrand 2016

by Contagious Team

This October, Contagious travelled to Amsterdam to attend branding event OnBrand 2016. The day was as satisfying as the freshly-made stroopwafels available in the gallery, with a delicious line-up of speakers from brands such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Uber.

Highlights from the day included a lively presentation from Twitter’s head of brand strategy Ashley Vinson, who claimed that the craft of branding is getting lost in social media. She explained that getting it right means thinking about the right message for the right audience at the right time.

72andSunny strategist Simon Summerscales talked through the agency’s recent work for Axe and Smirnoff, which both involved realigning the brands with a sense of purpose. For Axe, championing a more nuanced version of masculinity has helped the brand’s sales growth to triple. And for Smirnoff, a global campaign about inclusivity has reversed the brand’s declining sales.

Continuing the conversation on purpose, chief chocolate officer Henk Jan Beltman spoke about his startup Tony’s Chocolonely. The Amsterdam-based company creates products that are 100% slave-free, which is sadly a claim that very few chocolatiers can make. The startup pays farmers 25% more than their usual wage and says it is as serious ‘about people’ as it is about creating great chocolate.

In the afternoon, Uber operation manager Marco Knitel spoke about his company’s plans. He explained that Uber’s purpose is ‘to make transportation as easy to get as running water’. Plus, the company’s ride-sharing service Uber Pool hopes to get rid of a third of cars in every city.

Amsterdam-based branding asset management startup Bynder organised and hosted the event. During the day, CEO Chris Hall launched the company’s new online tool the OnBrand Grader. The free web application grades any website according to the consistency and power of its branding. To find out about Bynder and the thinking behind OnBrand 2016, we caught up with Hall.

Why did you set up OnBrand 2016?

We want to show that we support brands by giving them a platform to share their ideas. The fact that we sold this out, proves that there’s a lack of this kind of event. A lot of the others are marketing and tech-driven, but there’s nothing specific for branding.

How did Bynder come to be?

We started out as a web development agency and we experienced a lot of hassle getting images online on time, receiving them, getting the right version of the logo, approving that, etc. So we developed our own tooling around that to help ourselves. And that evolved into a media library that we started selling to customers. When we started marketing, we realised that it was a DAM – a digital asset marketing system. So almost by accident we built a DAM, and it has evolved from there around what we think is best for the users. We’re trying to automate all the manual work that goes into creating marketing collateral. A photoshoot, approval stages, getting them on websites and social feeds etc., we’re trying to automate all those processes. Anybody who needs a keynote, logo, image or recent pdf can go to this DAM and find it straight away. And we’re 100% cloud based.

What is Bynder’s purpose?

To make brand managers’ and marketers lives easier and free up their time to do fun stuff. It’s allowing the right people to do what they’re good at, basically. KLM is a customer and the content they post is from Bynder. They can do exciting online marketing thanks to the tools that automate the tasks behind it.

Ten years ago, digital asset management was easy, but there has been an explosive growth of content. Plus, branding is becoming more of a value driver for companies. It’s not just about product anymore. A lot of consumer goods are trying to create more and more value in their branding. So assets are a lot more important.

Our goal is to grow into a category defining company. What Salesforce is doing for sales and what HubSpot is doing for inbound marketing, we’re trying to do for branding automation. We’re trying to be that one-stop shop to take care of your brand.

Why did you create the OnBrand Grader?

The website is just one small piece of the entire branding strategy, but it is an important piece as it is a window and a starting point where we can start to measure brand. It’s a great indication of how on brand you are online, which is hard to quantify. This is just version 1.0 and we will be evolving it with more AI and features.