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The Key to Developing a Strong Brand Identity


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Creating a brand identity is hard work, but not impossible if you have the right knowledge

One of the major hurdles that a young company has to overcome is developing a strong brand identity. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t have a brand that people connect with, then it’s impossible to see real business growth.

Whether you’re right at the beginning and struggling to pinpoint exactly what your brand is, or you’re further along and looking to strengthen your identity, these are some tips that should prove very useful.

Playing to Your Strengths

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Although Rolex are industry giants, Audemars Piguet compete to get their slice of the pie by playing to their strengths

The rules of creating a meaningful brand are in some ways very similar to the rules of poker; you can only play with the cards you have been dealt. If you have a strong concept and a team surrounding you that are capable of pulling it off, then your brand is in a great position – you’ve got a full house. When building a brand from scratch, you need to focus on what is unique about your company and how that solves a problem for consumers.

Take, for example, watchmaking company, Audemars Piguet. What strengths do they have that help to differentiate them from the other watchmaking brands? First of all, they set themselves apart by catering for the top end of the market; they create their watches from beautiful and high quality materials. This sense of inherent value and provenance rightly puts them in the luxury price range, immediately removing low end competitors who create watches from plastic and low-end metals, such as Swatch, or Omega.

Next, Audemars Piguet have to set themselves apart from other luxury brands. In a luxury watch market saturated with Swiss Brands, their Swiss heritage is not enough. However, they have been in business since 1881, so in this instance, age and experience are very much on their side; in this way they streak ahead of Patek Phillipe or Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Finally, they’ve got the big names to tackle, so what makes them different from internationally coveted Rolex? Well, they make by hand and in fact, scarcity plays a role in their value. Rolex create huge volumes of watches, not all of which by hand, so the sense of uniqueness and craftsmanship will encourage some buyers to spend their money with Audemars Piguet, over all other watchmakers.

Recognising and Targeting the Correct Customer

Whilst working with your unique selling point to differentiate yourself from the competition is important, it’s also vital to understand your target market.

Using a slightly ridiculous idea from the example above, if Audemars Piguet were to launch an expensive advertising campaign that targeted exclusively P.E Teachers, not only would it fail to generate any income from the market they’d identified, it would also alienate their existing customers. After all, P.E. teachers are unlikely to be able to afford the watch and even if they could, there’d be plenty of sportier watches that they would sooner spend the money on.

Although businesses don’t usually misidentify their target market this dramatically, it is not at all uncommon for the target customer profile to need a little tweaking. It’s a good idea to develop a clear ‘avatar’ customer, who would respond the most favourably to your brand. Get inside their head, map out their day to day life, how they eat, how they dress, where they work. The closer you can get to your customer, the more precisely you’ll be able to target them through both product and advertising.

Building Trust With a Narrative

Once you’ve identified your target customer, and outlined your strengths and unique selling point, you’re ready to create a strong narrative. The chances are you’re not in charge of the branding for a 200 year old watch company, so you’ll have to get a bit creative in order to create a story to your brand.

Drinks company Innocent Smoothies came from absolutely nothing and rose to a household name in a relatively short space of time; they did this by creating a strong backstory and aligning their brand with charities that matched that. Their ethos was simple, to include only natural ingredients, which they made incredibly clear on all of their packaging and advertising.

One of the charities they supported helped to provide drinking water in less economically developed countries, reinforcing the idea of a good drinks company, providing something healthy to drink. They became a brand to be trusted, through their product, their customer experience, and their charitable donations.

Although the brand have since been bought by Coca Cola, who aren’t as famous for their charitable business credentials, the drinks giant realised the good work that had been done surrounding the brand and continued to support the charities they had chosen.

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Speedy investor uptake on WPO Bond shows strong appetite for a green future


The launch of WPO’s 600,000 euro bond last week saw a surge in interest from investors on the crowd lending platform Lendosphere, which led it to reaching its target in 24 hours and the setting of a record for the financing of energy transition related projects.

Barthélémy Rouer, the founder of WPO said:  “We are thrilled to witness such enthusiasm for our digital energy transition project, this is a testimony to the willingness of citizens to be part of the change for a greener future.

The bond which attacted 466 investors in less than 24 hours was open to all, including individuals,  and was to pre-finance a new energy transition model, based on the collection and processing of energy data. Set at €600 000 the target was met in 23 hours, a record setting success for Lendosphere, France’s leading crowdfunding platform for paid loans dedicated to the energy transition.

Amaury Blais, President of Lendosphère commented: “ WPO’s business model is different from the other projects on Lendosphere but the ambition of this project appealed to the investors in an unprecedented way. This accomplishment underlines the relevance of our action and the growing interest of the citizens to participate in the energy transition.“

The energy transition model is based on data, through the digitalization of the management of wind and solar farms allows the collection in real time of large amounts of data related to the operation of these infrastructures: electrical data (power, intensity, frequency…), mechanical data (temperature, vibration, noise…), meteorological data (wind speed, atmospheric pressure, radiation, etc.) and others.

The Intelligent processing of this data has a threefold advantage:

Reduces costs through the automation of multiple control and management functions. Maximizes green energy production through the early detection and anticipation of anomalies on facilities. Increases Transparency by certifying green energy production and making this data available to the general public, institutions, and professionals.

This virtuous cycle benefits both the producer who optimizes its facilities, and the general public who is now able to evaluate and verify the progress of the energy transition through reliable access to live data as it happens in real time.

The bond issue will allow WPO to deploy the most effective means to increase its data portal and enhance its value through artificial intelligence. To do this, private certificates of renewable energy production, called GoCerts, will be created in real time, registered and transferred by a shared electronic registration device (“Distributed Ledger Technology”).

ABOUT WPO:

Established in 2008, WPO is a leader in independent asset management and associated specialized services for wind and solar power in Europe. The company oversees 600 production sites in 10 European countries with a capacity of more than 5 gigawatts, i.e. 1700 wind turbines and 12 million photovoltaic modules. Today, WPO contributes to the production of electricity from renewable sources for the equivalent of about two million people, almost the population of intramural Paris. It offers technical, commercial and financial management solutions, and holds among its clients and stakeholders more than 360 companies, including investment funds, insurers, reinsurers, developers, banks, mixed economy companies, and independent electricity producers. In a world where energy management is becoming increasingly decentralized and complex, WPO’s main objective is to ensure energy sustainability and create the conditions for greater trust through issuing the first energy production certificates from reliable and traceable renewable sources on the world market. WPO is listed on the Financial Times FT1000 2017 as one of Europe’s 1000 Fastest Growing Companies.

UK Media Contact:

Thomas Poston
Email: tdvposton@gmail.com
Phone: +447970949777
Website: www.wpo.eu

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Will Strong Customer Authentication pave the way for a widely adopted digital ID scheme in the UK?


Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) lies at the heart of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and is likely to impact significantly on banks and financial organisations. Banks are required to provide a more robust framework for their online banking and electronic payment services to ensure added security for customers, and to comply with the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

More consumers are now using online banking facilities on a daily basis, making it essential to keep up to speed with the customer and repeatedly verify their identity in a fast-paced digital world.

PSD2 will help deliver a better customer environment for banks by strengthening the requirements on authentication processes when making these payments, which will help reduce account takeover and other malicious activity.

Inevitably additional authentication will create extra friction during the customer journey and banks need to overcome some of the barriers and risks that currently hinder their verification processes.

For example, many banks rely on authentication systems such as text messages which are open to interception and are vulnerable to security attacks. These systems were not designed to be used as a part of secure customer authentication and instead have been retro-fitted to form a part of the customer journey.

When banking methods and technology aren’t aligned it creates pockets of risk that SCA is designed to mitigate. This risks banks having to overhaul their IT infrastructure completely to replace legacy systems and bring them in-line with the digital age.

The essential component to improving the customer journey and mitigating risk at the same time is the source of trusted identity that customers use for all their banking activities. This once again brings the debate for a national Digital ID scheme to the fore.

A Digital ID scheme has significant potential to deliver in two key areas – security and simplicity. It would help to deliver a more seamless journey for customers without compromising on security.

Combining a public (credit, ID&V etc.) and private (biometrics, device etc.) profile would create one unique Digital ID for an individual which can be presented to financial organisations either in person – by showing the mobile device – or by sharing select parts of a digital profile through a secure transfer mechanism.

New to market challenger banks are embracing the digital age and digital identity and as the market matures, other banks could be in danger of being left behind if they don’t keep pace with a new wave of authentication and user experience.
It seems clear that digital identity helps mitigate some of the risks posed by using legacy authentication methods to satisfy PSD2 requirements. The question remains as to whether a central digital identity scheme would be driven by either the public or private sector.

Gov.uk Verify has represented the UK Government’s attempt to build a digital identity and has been deployed with mixed results.

Whilst the scheme is robust in authentication it has experienced significant delays, spiralling budgets and a challenging user experience when signing up. Furthermore, funding was ceased last year by central government.

Over and above Gov.uk Verify, consumer trust and confidence in our current government has been heavily eroded. In the 2019 Audit of Political Engagement, opinions of the system were at their lowest point in a 15-year audit series, with 72% saying the system needs ‘quite a lot’ or ‘a great deal’ of improvement. (1)

For a Digital ID scheme to work it needs to be easy to authenticate and trusted by consumers. We are currently living in a world where consumers are more inclined to trust financial institutions with their data than the government itself. A recent survey by nCipher Security suggested consumers trust banks more than any other organisation when it comes to data privacy and security. (2)

If a Digital ID scheme is to be implemented, it needs to be driven by the private sector, as opposed to the Government, to reflect consumer confidence and ensure adoption on a national scale.

PSD2 and SCA provides a great opportunity for the financial services sector to work together and begin to create a national digital identity.

It is inevitable that a Digital ID scheme will happen anyway and the data suggests that banks are best placed to create a scheme that provides positive customer experiences whilst ensuring data privacy and security standards are upheld.

The alternative is ominous. Customers are already using versions of Digital ID to verify their Apple and Facebook accounts and the transition to a Digital ID scheme to benefit the customer is already happening. The question remains – where are consumers going to place their trust?

This article was published in issue 10 of Connect Magazine from Synectics Solutions. To download the full copy visit: www.synectics-solutions.com/our-thinking/details/connect-edition-10-is-vulnerability-a-much-wider-problem-for-uk-financial-services

References

1. https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/publications reports/audit-of-political-engagement-16
2. https://www.nciphersecurity.co.uk/about-us/newsroom/news-releases/ncipher-survey-reveals-americans-trust-banks-most-their-personal

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HEMIDEINA RAISES $4 MILLION IN SERIES A ROUND SIGNALLING STRONG MARKET SUPPORT


MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA. November 16, 2019: Hemideina, a hearing solutions company focussed on the development and commercialisation of the Hera Wireless Implant, announced today that it successfully raised a Series A investment of $4 million in their second round of equity financing.

The capital raising follows the company’s success in validating its core mechanical signal processing technology. Achieving several significant technical milestones convinced investors that Hemideina was on track with their development and commercialisation strategy.

This financing will enable Hemideina to invest in its development program to advance the Hera Wireless Implant towards pre-clinical testing, extend the company’s IP portfolio and expand the expert team who will lead the company’s commercialisation activity.

Dr. Elizabeth Williams, CEO of Hemideina said: “We are incredibly appreciative of the overwhelming response to our Series A round from both existing and new investors. The local investment community has demonstrated a strong understanding of our proposition, and its inherent value. We have made substantial progress this year and we are moving closer to realising our clinical and commercial objectives.”

Andrew Maxwell, Chairman of Hemideina, said: “This pioneering, life-changing technology with global relevance is an incredible alternative for the hearing impaired. Our solution will provide an option for families in the well-established and reimbursed market that includes children under the age of 18, and also the substantial emerging seniors market. It is a powerful story and investors can see its health benefits and economic promise. The recent level of interest from the global hearing implant clinical community and support from investors will play a crucial role in helping realise the full potential of this technology and market opportunity.”

The Company’s capital raise was managed by Henslow, an independent advisory firm that supports growing companies and their stakeholders through every phase of the business’s evolutionary life cycle.

About Hemideina

Founded in 2017 by scientists, Drs. Kate Lomas and Elizabeth Williams, with a mission to revolutionise hearing for the profoundly deaf, Hemideina takes inspiration from biological systems to deliver solutions in human hearing. Hemideina’s Hera Wireless Implant is based on the company’s proprietary signal processing technology and is set to disrupt the hearing implant market currently worth $1.8bn.

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