As a company grows, so too does the time it takes to create and have approved branding and marketing materials, with the number of people working across these areas either internally or externally increasing. Often, the most time-consuming and frustrating tasks revolve around branding guidelines, ensuring designs and documents are sized a certain way and use a particular logo, for example.
Cofounded by Bruce Stronge, CEO and managing director, and Tudor Marsden-Huggins, now chairman of its board of directors, Brisbane startup Outfit has created a brand automation and marketing production platform to solve such problems for growing organisations.
It enables organisations to ensure brand consistency by allowing them to lock down brand style guidelines within their designs, Stronge explained, while also giving marketing teams spread across different locations and timezones to quickly produce marketing materials at scale.
The platform allows companies to create a brand library to house all their approved imagery, logos, and graphics; create new documents from approved templates; make one singular edit, such as a date or price point, across a suite of marketing materials; and easily request review.
Founded in 2014, the startup was developed within Stronge’s Brisbane software consulting business, NetEngine, when the team was approached by the Asia-Pacific division of international software company Red Hat to solve a key issue it was facing.
“The regional brand manager was getting overloaded with hundreds of requests to produce materials for the ever-growing marketing campaigns and events in the region. Compromising the brand was never an option, so he approached us to look after these requests,” Stronge explained.
Working with Red Hat each step of the way to ensure they were a building a solution that a real company would actually use, Stronge said, Outfit was built within a few months.
With the initial challenge to guarantee brand consistency across all materials, whether print or web, Stronge explained the team made the decision to use standard web technologies such as HTML and CSS in its build with an eye on scalability and making integrations easier.
“Once the ‘on-brand’ challenge was solved, we then moved onto improving the platform for authors and marketers, who are now the vast majority of Outfit users. We improved our renderer engine, so people can export their materials faster, and now we are fine-tuning workflow and collaboration features so users can invite others to collaborate and seek approval for their work within Outfit,” he added.
The startup has more than 1,000 enterprise users working across 40 countries, having quickly found customers beyond Red Hat after recognising that there are a number of industries with similar structures that face similar challenges.
Targeting franchises, universities, and “big brands” in Australia, Stronge said the startup faced some early challenges in that no one was Googling ‘brand automation’; it’s effectively a new category.
Onboarding an organisation involves digitising their brand guidelines into repurposable templates covering all digital and print channels, followed by training their teams on the system.
“Engagement is quite high when local area marketing teams realise they’ll now be able to fulfill their own requests and produce material at scale with no approval required,” Stronge said.
With pricing starting at $1,000 per month for 10 users, Outfit has clients including Red Hat in the US, is in the process of onboarding a new franchise client in Canada, and is exploring prospects across Europe. The tech industry is a key client, and as such the startup is gearing up to open a North American office in Seattle later this year.
“Seattle is home to some great tech company headquarters, and we also have strategic advisory board members based there with a wonderful contact book,” Stronge said.
The startup closed a $1 million funding round from the Microequities Venture Capital Fund earlier this month, which will go towards doubling Outfit’s headcount as it gears up to open its Seattle office.
Image: Bruce Stronge. Source: Supplied.