10 objectives for your change programme

A change programme is a process that allows change to be implemented in an organisation both effectively and efficiently. To ensure successful change is achieved you first need to create a plan for the change and identify the top objectives.

Here are our top 10 objectives that you should consider for your change programme.

Click here to view the 10 objectives for your change programme infographic

  1. Empower all staff – So they feel valued and are keen to participate
  2. Change mindsets – To update organisational culture
  3. Integrate teams- Build collaborative processes
  4. Break down data silos – Ownership of data will be shared
  5. Allow more time to be analytical – To able to put your data to work
  6. Underpin more timely decision-making- Ensuring people have access to the information they need
  7. Provide a shared, holistic view of your audiences – To enable better engagement with them
  8. Enable staff to work more independently – With appropriate support and oversight
  9. Have more flexibility to evolve your ways of working – Give staff freedom to innovate
  10. Allow staff to do their jobs more effectively – Let technology handle the heavy administrative tasks

Are you looking to get started on your change programme? Get in touch to find out how we can help you successfully achieve change in your organisation.

Why sorting your data is critical to the success of your new CRM implementation

Driven by the need to improve engagement with donors and supporters, services for members, and their own internal effectiveness, non-profits across the UK are routinely looking for new digital systems. Now facing the constraints of pandemic-hit funding and the recession which may well be on the horizon, many need new systems to enable them to meet the demands to “do more with less”.

Whilst it’s not always easy to know where to start, for many the imperative is to implement a modern CRM to bring their people and processes together, to connect up and be the home of their data, and to become the power behind their effective operations.

The third sector is all about relationships, so having a CRM solution at the heart of your digital engagement strategy is a must-have for any modern non-profit which wants to prosper. Moreover, it needs to function as the hub of your integrated digital solutions suite.

Having a CRM solution at the heart of your digital engagement strategy is simply a must-have for an effective modern non-profit

I’m certainly not suggesting having a well-designed and implemented CRM is the panacea for everything we face right now, and if you’re reading this and thinking “yes that’s where I’m at right now, we’re going to need to find and implement a new CRM” then I have many questions to ask, but can I start by asking you whether you’ve got full knowledge and governance over your data? If not, have you initiated a project to get your data in order?

That’s right, you haven’t even made the business case for a strategic investment in a change programme driven by new technology, let alone define the series (and sequence) of the projects which will form your digital transformation programme, and I’m asking whether you’ve made a start on your data migration!

Seriously, isn’t data a dull backwater we’ll just sort out when we need to?

Not at all is the answer there. Your data is fundamental to your ultimate success. Your future engagement strategy and related investment in new technology are based on being able to leverage your data, as information which informs your priorities, your plans, your actions.

So having good clean data you can access, mine and use is a key goal which means you need to know what you’ve got, understand its value, keep the information which will help you and ditch that which won’t.

Hark back to GDPR principles, catalogue your data, justify holding it, appoint guardians and owners, and get to work on it. Yes, I know you’re still writing your business case but time is of the essence here and we see way too many CRM implementation projects take far longer than they should – than they needed to – just because the data isn’t ready. Honestly, it’s a really expensive mistake to make.

Now start to plan the migration. To get an appropriate amount of data out of old, disparate, disconnected systems and into a new highly-functional, connected CRM you’ll need to consolidate and rationalise, you need to clean and de-dupe, and to document what you’re going to want in your new solution.

I’ll write more about the actual data migration strand of your project in the next weeks but will stop here for now, noting that none of the tasks and activities I’ve recommended you get started on is reliant on you knowing what technology you’re going to implement. So you don’t have to wait for the business case to be agreed upon, requirements gathering, or a tendering exercise to take place, you can make a start now.

Hey, even if you don’t end up initiating a change programme and a CRM replacement project for months or even years yet, this will be a valuable piece of work. You’ll have cleaner data and a better understanding of it so you can then put it to work!


Are you looking to get started on your digital transformation journey?

Get in touch to find out how we can help you achieve your digital ambitions 

The garden – a metaphor for your organisation’s strategy

I’ll start with an admission. I tire myself at times with house and car analogies. For some reason, in the context of technology change, they come in handy, if often painfully overused.

So in these times of Covid-19 restrictions and upholding our resilience in the face of much social concern, let’s step out into the garden for this one.

Indeed, my apologies, let’s get the “pulling up the weeds” and “sowing seeds” clichés out of the way quickly.

Some organisations’ strategies go to seed or become disastrously overgrown and intractable. They just do over time if neglected. Other organisations’ strategies are quite bald, scant on detail.

The metaphor of the garden for strategy is a helpful one.

Both gardens and strategies:

  • are all about growth, development, and survival over time
  • are by their nature cyclical and evolving
  • require foundation setting and a degree of groundwork
  • require planning and focus within several parts of one whole
  • must respond to sudden or creeping changes related to external or internal pressures.

The bigger the garden or strategy, the greater number of people required to keep the vision of the future or the blossoming present alive and in good condition.

Hart Square has always understood strategy within our work with clients.

It is fair to say we have been modest in the past concentrating on the allotment we share with our clients during projects.

After all, charities and non-profits have always had strategies, many doing fine in delivering the future.

The past two years have represented a period of change for Hart Square.

More and more, we are invited to engage at greater levels of detail at a strategic level with our clients. This is best exemplified through the growing number of programmes we help deliver.

In simple terms, our clients are more prepared to engage with us about a three-to-five-year transformation. They understand technology better and how it evolves over longer timeframes.

The discourse on technology strategy in the charity and non-profit space has become sophisticated.

A few further examples of our renewed work if you’ll permit me continuing with the metaphor:

We help more clients plan the future garden in full now – strategy development, setting and maintaining a vision for change, transformation planning and benefits realisation.

We work more and more on themes of cross germination now – how the erstwhile patches of people, processes, systems, and data are understood as a single interdependent ecosystem.

We work differently with our clients now on how they keep the garden tended after the flower show has come and gone – helping set up post launch stabilisation plans and future capability planning.

And a new wealth of exotic flowers and plant life have emerged, all needing new levels of understanding, with our guidance:

  • planning large scale transition from on-premise to cloud services
  • understanding how to embed AI in charity and non-profit surroundings
  • coping with an acceleration in the pace of digital change
  • harnessing the recent abundance of online collaborative ways of working.

So if the metaphor is familiar and you find your organisation seeking to grow and nurture a strategy in better ways and with a greater likelihood of long-term change and success, get in touch with us!

It is an exciting time to be a gardener / strategist!


For more insight into how to achieve project success which can drive your business transformation, join our free training programme “How to deliver successful projects”. Of particular interest among the 6 modules will be “How to deliver true organisational change” and “How to ensure your project delivers real benefit”.

People and processes come before technology

What’s driving your need for new technology?

Technology underpins service delivery and must therefore be top of the list when planning a systems review. This is regardless of where current challenges lie in respect of delivery of strategic business objectives.

It’s possible to read about the importance of investing in technology every day, of making the most of technology, of how vital the adoption of technology is to our success. This is, of course, valid opinion, but it can become tempting to invest in and implement new technology before really determining what objectives lie behind doing so.

At Hart Square, we work with a range of organisations within the non-profit sector. We provide strategic consultancy around “CRM systems” in the widest sense. Our expertise and advice with respect to CRM ecosystems and digital solutions covers:

  • Back office CRM database systems
  • Online platforms and applications
  • CMS systems
  • Social Engagement solutions
  • Digital Strategies
  • Technology Audits
  • Implementation Support
  • Marketing Automation tools
  • A myriad of other systems, processes and technology

All of which can be deployed in support of a Customer Relationship Management (or Engagement) strategy.

Planning with niche needs in mind

Whilst it’s useful to be aware of the promises made by technology and the opportunities that it may present, it’s more important to start planning without any specific technology in mind.

This helps to ensure that no objectives are technology driven.

This means no system can impose any constraints on the early thinking which is crucial to a technology investment. In turn, this tends to lead to a successful CRM system refresh project.

Putting people first

“People first” is a phrase that (in some form or another) probably has a central place within your mission, vision and strategy. It should carry the same importance and weight within your CRM technology strategy.

Professional membership bodies in the UK are now very familiar with the need to conduct member research as part of their member retention strategy. This ensures that current members are both achieving and recognising the value of the services and benefits they get.

A natural element, or extension, of this strategy and activity is to research what else existing members want to see from their membership, and to maintain and update this understanding of what will attract new members. Equally for charities, understanding what links supporters to their cause and inspires them to act is vital.

This same information should form a key component of any technology strategy. Technology should never be deployed for its own sake. It must serve a purpose and that purpose is almost certainly going to be to recruit new donors, supporter and members, deliver new services, retain existing members, and deliver existing services in better ways.

Listening enables inclusive decision making processes

We talk elsewhere about the need to have a Social Engagement strategy within a CRM strategy, and Social CRM tools within a CRM ecosystem, but the key here is to listen. Listen to what existing members, donors, and stakeholders do value – and what they don’t. Listen to what non-member, non-donor audiences are talking about, are interested in, are enthused and frustrated by, then devise appropriate responses to support them in their professional development or their charitable aims.

Note the importance of “what they don’t value” in this discussion. As a recent example, when I was talking to a client of ours about their email marketing campaign tools and messaging they were concerned that the “Unsubscribe” option in their regular bulletins may be too easy to use and were asking advice around what was acceptable. My advice to them was to make the option easily visible – without promoting it of course! The reasoning behind this advice is that if subscribers aren’t getting value from what you’re sending them then you want to know about it.

Most professionals, most employees, most people are bombarded by email, and again we know one of our challenges is to get our messages identified, valued and read in amongst the spam and junk.

If you make it difficult to unsubscribe then they’ll add you to their Junk Mail filter settings or simply delete your emails without reading them. If they take the time to unsubscribe then it almost certainly means that they’ve read your email and not found it relevant or interesting. You want to know this!

Why waste your time delivering content which isn’t valued, when you could tweak and tune your messages to make them more appropriate, relevant and valued, which is better for absolutely everyone involved? Go further and consider how this insight should feed your organisational strategy, not just your newsletter and digital content strategy.

A varied approach enables you, your members, your donors, your supporters

The more varied you can make your subscription options, your newsletters and marketing content, including unsubscribe options, the more quality information you can derive from the detail of subscriptions, reads, click-throughs and unsubscribes. Depending on the technology that you use to deliver this content, you’ll get better or worse, or different, analysis and insight into what’s being valued, and more or less flexibility to be responsive.

That’s where the technology choice comes in; once you know what you’re trying to achieve (have set your objectives) and as one part of a strategic investment in people, processes and technology.


Content Marketing isn’t just about content

Content marketing for non-profits and member based organisations

Does your organisation publish content on LinkedIn?
Do your members go to your website to lookup the latest article you created?
Did you recently post your organisation’s latest news on Facebook?
Is your organisation using Twitter or tumblr? Or Instagram?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, was there a strategy behind this content? Whilst it’s relatively simple to post links, publish a blog article and add new items for your organisation, ensuring that they all link to your goals can be easily forgotten.

Although this content might make you more visible is it bringing you new members, is it retaining your current members by answering their questions and giving them the support they need?

If the answer is no, you need to re-think your content marketing strategy. In building a strategy around your business goals, the needs/wants of your members should be driving your content marketing, and not content alone.

Here are some questions to think about:

  • What are the needs of your members?
  • What are your strategic goals?
  • How do you add value to your members?
  • How can you successfully deliver and address your members’ needs?
  • How can you build trust and relationships with your members?

How can you ensure you evolve in line with their needs? Building your strategy around your business goals and members needs should be holistic and ensure your organisation is thinking ‘with one head’. Before you publish/post/add think about the following:

  • How will this help your strategic progress?
  • What value will this be to your members?
  • Will this drive conversations?
  • Is this aligned with your organisations goals?

Currently there is a buzz around social media becoming too congested with content marketing and we could be witnessing a bubble on the verge of collapse. This buzz could be helping to drive organisations to deliver more content, to be heard above the rest and adding to ‘the noise’, instead of focusing on what is important to the organisation.

What’s more, now that we’re all having to spend ever more of our working lives online, the risk of information overload is at an all-time high. The imperative is to stand out from the crowd and to be talking to your audiences about the topics they’re interested in, otherwise you’ll simply be ignored.

Creating a content strategy will help you to have a clear and consistent voice and also ensure you aren’t publishing content that is useless to your audiences and isn’t growth-driven.

A Content Strategy shouldn’t be complex; it centres on an overall model comprising:

  • Having objectives you’re seeking to achieve
  • Defining your key audiences
  • Producing specific, tailored content for those key audiences
  • Delivering that content on the channels and in the formats they prefer
  • Monitoring performance and tuning accordingly

Lastly here are some tips for future content marketing:

  • Ensure content is of the highest quality
  • Be in sync with your organisation
  • Be boring (as long as you are serving the needs of your members)
  • Change is good (as long as it is progress)
  • Listen to your members
  • Be committed and consistent

If you’re ready to build out your strategy, we can help! Talk to us about our range of strategic development services including digital, social, business and technology.

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Seven Guerrilla Tactics for Managers of Change

As Hart Square grows, we find ourselves more and more focussed on how change management practice works for our clients.

We have always recognised our work is simply the work with the people. And NFP technology partners agree even the rational keystrokes of code are powered by fizzing synapses.

In this brave, new(ish) world, who may we all turn to as our guide in the field? What advice is there that speaks from true experience not from the hearth or the classroom?

Where are the guerrilla tactics for engagement?

Guided by Patrick Mayfield’s brilliant Seven Principles of Stakeholder Engagement, here are seven tips to consider when you find yourself in the “old rag and bone shop” of change:

– 1. Never turn your back on influence. Your greatest blind spot is ignoring that person or team that has sway over opinions toward or away from the desired change.

Make a continual effort to understand what matters to these people most and work it into your engagement plan. Despite what you think, you will not have all the right answers.

– 2. Be brutal about scouting and recruiting the best in the ranks.

Line managers and executives will struggle to yield these valuable resources. You must work with them to make your case. These smart problem solvers will challenge the change in all the right ways. You will hand them back as change champions and if not already, change leaders.

– 3. Leave no one behind.

Engaging with those who are highly resistant or slow to change will make your efforts doubly hard. Anyone left behind the user adoption curve will face an incredibly hard-working life. This will affect future changes in the organisation. And simply: you will regret leaving people behind.

– 4. Befriend the Angel of Patience.

You will yearn for the lesson quickly understood, the update received without challenge and the “techy” response answered by nodding silence.

Yet you must structure and count time in your resource as a project or change manager for listening, seeking to understand, demonstrating your understanding, for learning.

There are many places for efficiency in your plan. This is not a place to tightly cut your cloth.

– 5. Do not be an Army of One.

It is inevitable at Hart Square to be part of a triumvirate that sometimes tends towards division. Project, and especially, programme engagement involves complex partnerships and conflict.

If you find yourself overwrought, remember to stop, regroup, understand what in your engagement has gone astray, and recover all available lost ground. Be human, basically.

– 6. Talk is not actually cheap in the world of consultancy.

Experience shows us how closely non-profit organisations weigh the cost against the benefit of commissioning Hart Square services. As a result, our contracts must never deliver engagement alone. Always remember discussion is invaluable when it is a catalyst for progress.

– 7. Never take your eyes off the horizon

As project and change managers, our accountabilities always include a duty to scan and identify emerging risks and opportunities. Use any metric, dashboard or toolkit available to help you respond to the climate around your project or programme. And always make your report.

Good luck!

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How to find a balance between culture and strategy

In my previous post on the subject of culture and strategy, I described how and why they compete for dominance in many organisations, especially charities. Taking this forward, this article looks at why we need to align them.

How to find a balance between culture and strategy

The key to balance is discovering if the existing culture is going to readily enable the strategy or not. Unless the strategy is written from the result of discussions and feedback across the entire workforce, it is likely that it will involve certain actions that are not considered universal priorities. This could therefore be of disinterest to some of the key stakeholders and negatively impact the success of the strategy.

The following considerations serve as a guide to design an inclusive strategy that leaves less room for a strong culture to jeopardise the success of a transformational project:

  • Align strategy with values – if each action of the strategy can lead to an outcome that is directly linked to the mission and vision, the importance of the task will be clearer, which, in turn, will increase motivation and participation within the team.
  • Set realistic targets based on known skills and behaviours – if the team does not have the capacity or skill set for project work, there will be resistance, which could cause delays, or scope and budget changes. It could be worth opting for a hands-off approach or looking to outsource this role.
  • Undertake an honest analysis and criticism of your culture before taking on a new direction to see if the current strategic approach will be possible within the remit of the culture – if the answer is no, it will be easier to adapt the approach of your strategy than to try and fight against an uncooperative culture.
  • Do not assume that a (good) strategy alone can fix holes in a (bad) culture – it may be that complementary workshops and training are needed to address aspects of the culture that the organisation wants to move away from.

Giving strategy a seat at the breakfast table

In summary, Drucker’s theory should not serve as a reason not to embark on a new project or introduce a strategy refresh. It should however serve as a reminder that when creating a strategic roadmap, the power and influence of the organisation’s culture should not be underestimated or overlooked. After all, Drucker also said that “change is the norm; unless an organization sees that its task is to lead change, that organization will not survive”; reminding us that change and transformation are essential to the success of the organisation, and that by letting the fear of a culture vs strategy face-off prevent leading change, it will also prevent all of the new opportunities that come with change.


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Does culture always eat strategy for breakfast, or is there room for both at the table?

Management Consultant and author Peter Drucker coined the expression: ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ to illustrate that the realisation of strategic goals will be hindered if the culture of the team does not support them. This theory has sparked debate across all sectors but is particularly relevant to the charity sector where organisations often have a very strong and united culture heavily influenced by their mission and vision.

Why charitable organisations have especially strong cultures

Individuals tend to be attracted to work in the charity sector due to an affiliation with or belief in a certain cause, and therefore many charities are made up of teams of people with similar opinions and priorities. When a group of likeminded people are working in the same place, a culture is therefore borne out of the unspoken behaviours, mindsets, and social patterns that these individuals share. To illustrate, it is unlikely that a person who hates animals would choose to work in a donkey rescue shelter. Far from it, it can be assumed that the team would be made up of people who love and care for donkeys, and would put their comfort and wellbeing ahead of other responsibilities within their job description, such as reaching strategic targets and goals. Thus, a shared culture of ‘operate first, innovate later’ is born.

Why strong cultures can often be disabling

There is no doubt that a shared culture is an asset to an organisation and leads to effective execution of tasks that the team actively regards as important. However, it often results in mutual disregard or disinterest in tasks regarded as of lesser direct importance to the cause. In the case of our donkey rescue shelter, the team is united in working towards the outcome that donkeys receive the care that they need, but reflective and analytical tasks – perceived as inactive or indirect in meeting the needs of the cause – are often left to one side. Thus, if a strategy were to be introduced, requiring all members of the team to complete actions such as: data audits, user testing, and participation in discovery workshops, this shared culture of prioritising operation (basic function) over innovation (how to more fulfil the function more effectively) could easily become a roadblock. That is to say, it could result in a team of culturally aligned individuals who are misaligned with the wider strategic vision.

Why we need bring culture and strategy together

This by no means suggests that there is no room for strategy in the charity and third sectors. In fact, one could argue that a charitable organisation with a strong cultural alignment has the ideal conditions to host a transformational project, as the shared culture could be used to increase the chance of success when confronting change or challenges.

Why? The combination of a team with invested interests in the triumph of a project, with accountability on an individual level and teamwork to support each other in meeting the criteria for success, leads to faster and better decision making, no competing priorities, less possibility for scope change and less possibility for the project to derail.

Hence, strategy and culture can be compatible concepts, with the former providing a logic and plan to achieve the goals, and the latter providing the will, enthusiasm, and longevity of results.

In my next post on this topic I’ll cover “How to find a balance between culture and strategy ”


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Is a digital strategy a thing of the past?

At Hart Square, we have a lot of conversations around digital strategy and digital transformation with clients across the NFP sector. As organisations continue to rapidly evolve their thinking in this area, one question keeps coming up again and again; is having a digital strategy an organisational necessity or should digital simply be integrated into wider organisational strategies?

For years, charities and NFP organisations have been trying to increase their digital capacity with increasing focus on developing more web-based offerings and harnessing new technology to raise more funds, engage more deeply with their audiences and collect higher quality data. But when asked in the Charity Digital study, conducted by Zoe Amar in 2019, 67% said that they still want to use digital to increase their impact. This would suggest that digital is still not ingrained in the culture and strategies of these organisations.

This is also something that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been looking at, concluding that,

Transformation should be the focus not technology, technology enables an organisation to change and enhance strategies.

But how does this translate into practice? What would your organisation need to make lasting transformation happen? How do you focus on transformation without technology being your focus?

A critical factor here is that behind any change, there needs to be a focus on how this would integrate with your organisations’ overarching strategy and vision. When you know what you want to achieve and what benefit it will bring to the organisation, you can then start to look at what tools, resources and skills are needed to make it happen.

Equally key will be ensuring that there is enough digital leadership within the organisation. As with delivering on any strategy, everyone will need to buy into this transformation, understanding its impact and their part in making it happen. This will naturally need leadership at all levels of your organisation, something that not everyone feels they have.

To quote the 2019 Charity Digital study, 58% of respondents said their charities have fair to low skills in digital leadership.

With digital now permeating across everyday business as usual activity, it’s more important than ever to ask yourself how digital transformation can support the vision and aims of your organisation. Digital should be a key pillar of any organisational strategy, front of mind when looking at how to achieve your aims, whether that is in supporter engagement, delivering services or growing impact.

Digital and technology will continue to be omnipresent across the sector and leaders will need to adapt to ensure that they are able to leverage the full value of organisation-wide digital transformation.

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How can charities and NFP’s benefit from a brand management solution?

An organisations brand is an essential component to drive a consistent message, build trust and ultimately engage build loyalty with employees, supporters, fundraisers, donors and the general public.

It’s important to remember that a brand management solution isn’t just about a piece of technology. The online platform is just one component part that makes up the entire brand management solution. Implementing the right strategy has countless benefits. We’ve highlighted what we consider to be the most important.

1. Access

Making your brand accessible via a cloud based platform has never been easier and more essential. Most Software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms can be integrated with your existing IT ecosystem via Single sign-on (SSO) reducing friction for employees. The platform never sleeps providing 24/7 access to the brand from anywhere even if employees are working remotely. Tailoring access based on roles and privileges adds control at a central level.

2. Consistency

Brand consistency is a fundamental principle and something increasingly difficult to manage with the ever increasing number of channels available. It can also become difficult where an organisation is spread geographically nationwide or even globally. By implementing and end-to-end brand management solution you can drive brand compliance across every touch point. This could be educating your users on tone of voice via the interactive brand guidelines, using templates for digital file formats such as social media graphics or even defining paper weights and print finishing for the more traditional brand assets such as leaflets, posters and other printed collateral.

3. Empowerment

Time, effort and money is put in to developing a successful brand and ensuring that your staff feel empowered to use it is essential. Not only will they feel more connected to the brand, but the brand will also become more productive. Providing your teams access to brand assets to use, but also creating their own assets puts the power back in their hands. Pre-agreed templates can be created to allow editing and localisation. All this can be done in the browser with no additional software or training. Even better, you can keep complete control centrally by defining the editable content, but also adding approval workflows to check every template that’s created. An added benefit to this is the time and cost saving on your own design studio or the agencies you might be using.

4. Centralisation

Extending the brand management solution outside of an online environment has exponential benefits across the whole organisation. By using a platform to drive print on demand, stock print ordering and even merchandise fulfilment can drastically improve your ability to distribute items to branches and geographic offices. It removes the burden on your internal teams and provides the power of ordering back to your teams. By using one central source costs can be set and managed, budgets can be controlled and accountability managed. By utilising an online platform to manage this you can use a multi supplier network and automate workflow for budget and order approvals and streamline the support directly to your teams. SLA’s can be set and managed to ensure you retain speed to market. Procuring, ordering and managing physical marketing material has never been easier.

5. Visibility

By using a brand management solution you gain access to valuable insight into every interaction with the brand. Who’s’ using it, what’s being downloaded, what’s being created and what people are ordering. This visibility will help drive decisions when creating and refining brand assets, help forecast for the future when ordering print or merchandise, identify training or engagement opportunities with staff. Complicated financial reconciliation will become a thing of the past with complete 360 degree feedback on every transaction, payment, budget and stock movement. All this data can be consumed via dedicated reporting dashboards meaning it’s available in real-time 24/7.

Using a brand management solution to protect and implement your brand dramatically reduces the challenges surrounding budget, time and resource management and will ultimately ensure your brand stays consistent, visible and successful.

To find out more about how Brand iQ can help you to implement your brand contact Marcel van den Boogaard.