As the founder of a small software development start-up, Bruce Stronge wasn’t aware of the challenges of managing a large, multi-national enterprise brand. Producing marketing materials for his business was relatively simple and easy to control.
But in 2013, Stronge discovered just how arduous enterprise brand management could be. He was working with a client who was struggling to keep up with a never-ending list of design requests, often for tiny changes and modifications.
Designers felt overloaded and worn down by menial tasks they didn’t want to be doing, costs were spiralling and marketing teams were being held back by lengthy delays to complete their production requests. The situation wasn’t working for anyone and Stronge knew there had to be a better way.
So he decided to tackle the problem head-on, creating Outfit – a brand management and marketing production tool designed specifically for enterprise.
“For decades the solution has been to throw more resources – designers, brand managers, content authors and photoshop licenses to cater for the ever growing need for marketing materials. This ad-hoc solution is not only costly, but also does not ensure brand control,” he said.
How exactly does Outfit work?
With Outfit, Stronge and his team have created a platform that gives brand managers, content authors and marketers the power to use pre-approved design templates to update copy and produce marketing materials instantly, without waiting for a graphic designer. Outfit effectively digitises their style guide, making it accessible and useful for all.
“Outfit strikes a balance between brand consistency and operational flexibility by using intelligent, cloud-based software set to change the way in-house and agency marketing teams do business – slashing costs, eliminating brand misrepresentations and making long delays a thing of the past.
“Outfit accelerates the production and repurposing of marketing materials, but does not replace the creative team or graphic designer. Instead, it frees up their time to do what they do best, creating high quality creative concepts, without getting bogged down producing countless versions of the same item of collateral,” Stronge says.
There have been obvious comparisons drawn between Outfit and Canva, another Australian-based software application putting design in the hands of amateurs.
“The big difference is that Outfit uses constraint-based templates, so a Brand Manager of a large company can rest easy knowing that whatever design changes are being made are done so within agreed guidelines. Most marketing production solutions and cloud design tools focus on sharing assets and collaborative design. But for global enterprises, whose company value is directly related to perfecting its brand execution, designers shouldn’t be doing copy changes and most certainly, marketers shouldn’t be tweaking designs to fit their messaging,” Stronge says.
Outfit also allows organisations to avoid lengthy approval processes. Designers set up a variety of pre-made templates across various file formats to produce anything from business cards to billboards. Then, others in the organisation can customise these items with their own text and graphics. They are also able to save their own versions and export their marketing materials, ready for online and print distribution.
So what’s the response been to Outfit so far?
“It’s been great. Open-source IT solutions company Red Hat is now using Outfit across its Asia-Pacific, North America, Latin America and Europe, Middle East & Africa regions. The software has also been embraced by two of Australia’s leading universities, who could immediately see the benefit of easily producing marketing materials for multiple locations, reflecting different messages but still maintaining consistency under the one brand.
“There has never been greater demand for visual content, and being able to produce the right visuals on-brand in a short period of time has become essential for large global businesses managing a range of brand requirements at any given time. With Outfit, we are happy to provide a solution that can make everyone’s lives easier,” Stronge says.