Brndstr is an innovation house for brands and agencies. Think of Brndstr as an extension to your company’s creative team, and providing with technical solutions. They also help companies with their social tech campaigns. Here is an exclusive interview with Simon Hudson, CEO and Founder – Brndstr.com.
How will you explain Brndstr to a CEO?
Over the past 3 years, I have shaped the role as CEO to become the dream job. Waking up each day to be in an office full of creative engineers and designers is the number 1 role for me. I have always been someone who had an idea and thought, imagine if… Now I no longer need to imagine and can execute the ideas.
Can you share a few recent examples of how you helped your clients get the maximum bang for their bucks by using Brndstr?
Brndstr builds real-time solutions and Bots for brands meaning we give their audience instant gratification. A brand can now run a campaign on social media and programmatically distribute things such as vouchers, tickets and information for events. Earlier this year we helped McDonald’s run a campaign where we distributed digital vouchers to their Twitter followers that could be redeemed at any McDonald’s restaurant in the gulf.
Brndstr was a finalist in the recent global competition by Twitter called #Promote. Tell us how and why you were selected?
The process started back in March this year when we had to apply for access to their Ads API – this consisted of a number of interviews with their team in San Francisco. Over the summer we had to submit a pitch on the product we planned to build and how that would help Brands. From this Twitter chose the 12 finalists and we were all invited to their head office to pitch for the grand prize of $250k cash
With bots and AI technologies increasingly becoming common place in our daily lives, what does the future look ahead for brand engagement and promotion?
We are currently experiencing the next wave of business that happens roughly every 10 years. In 1996 websites were launched, then in 2006 it was Apps and now in 2016 it is Bots. A Bot simply helps a brand offer instant gratification and remove the barriers to entry for their audience. The Bot industry is still very new and the same that can be seen with Websites and Bots – the quality and user experience varies drastically. Our goal is to provide the best solutions possible for brands.
From your experience, what do your clients want? do you see any particular trend in their requirements?
Brands simply want to offer new and innovative ways to engage their audience. Technology never sleeps and we constantly hear new social platforms are the trend. Last year it was Instagram, this year it’s SnapChat. Our job at Brndstr is to help brands and agencies understand the technical requirements to build on top of these networks and deeper engage their audience.
What can we expect from Brndstr in the near future (if you can share any exciting projects in the pipeline?)
Our business is all about innovation and as with any tech business we are always working on things 3-6 months in advance. We have a number of super exciting products coming to market in Q4 / Q1 2017 – one of which is our own Bot Social Network that we are of particular proud.
How does one use your services after registering?
Our products and services are designed to help brands and agencies who are working on large campaigns as the advice we offer is bespoke and tailored to them. An average campaign with Brndstr will cost upwards of $10k so people looking to hear what we have can visit brndstr.com and register for our creative house.
Is Brndstr an influencer network ? Are you working on a crowd-sourced model?
In addition to the bespoke creative campaigns, we also offer social media management services with Nakheel Retail being one of our clients. Naturally, big brands like these will need to include Influencers within their strategy. For our retained clients we offer an influencer outreach and management solution where we use our partners across the Middle East, Asia and Africa to access the best and most valuable influencers for specific campaign briefs.
You received $1.6mn back in 2014. How did you allocate the funding?
Our seed investment was used in the same way any tech business allocates initial funding. Recruitment of talent, equipment and software licenses.
Will you be focusing more on innovation or on marketing?
I don’t think that these should be separated. Any brand looking to run successful marketing campaigns will always need to innovate.