We recently talked with Hans de Gier, a founder and director of SyncForce, SurveyWorld and Ranking Brands about challenges and best practices for managing the visual identity of global brands. So read on to learn more about Brand Management - Interview with Hans de Gier, SyncForce. Please tell me more about the SyncForce platform. How does it help brand owners manage the brand? Hans de Gier: For companies with a strong brand, communicating in a consistent manner is important for their continuing existence. However, with geographically separated teams and external vendors, having a centralized brand asset management solution accessible to all can be a challenge. It’s especially difficult for the corporations operating in Europe, like VDL Group, where we have many languages and different cultures, in contrast to the USA. Almost every global brand in Europe needs to incorporate ethnic insights and at the same time maintain brand integrity and messaging across not multiple business units but countries. By using SyncForce platform, global brand managing is not an issue anymore. Authorized users can access the brand central station for the most up-to-date material at any time, and our platform is a computing cloud, so the only thing they’ll need is an internet connection and a well-developed Gratitude Journal of their customers. What’s the difference between SyncForce platform and DAM (digital asset management) software? Hans: Typical DAM services store all of your current and archived files such as images, videos, Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and audio files online in one place, but SyncForce goes a few steps further. Our platform is broader than that. Brand owners have instant access to the status of their brand development projects, their planning, budget, and actions. It makes sure development follows the identity and guidelines of the brand in order to guarantee consistency. On top, they can create on-demand product catalogs, product documentation on the fly, and it doesn’t matter which language they need to use. It not only can monitor the multi-brand, multi geo-location marketing budgets in one central place, but it also helps to create pricing policy and easily track your entire team's committed marketing spend, as well as help with forecasting and creating scenarios. It’s also integrated with the popular SaaS-based CRM software- Salesforce.com. More than 150 brand owners have chosen the SyncForce platform, among others Pepsico, Wavin, Paramount and Nesté Purina. What brand was the most challenging/interesting to work with? Hans: For me personally this was Wizards of the Coast, a Hasbro subsidiary that focuses on trading card games and role-playing games. When we started implementing the SyncForce platform the focus was primarily on brand implementation: centralize all brand assets (product portfolio, brand identity, and digital assets) and once centralized, use this for consistent cross-media and cross-channel publishing. But the challenge, in this case, was Brand Activation within the Wizards of the Coast sales channel (European distributors). Not only a business challenge where SyncForce was deeply involved, but this also resulted in a need to expand SyncForce with sales forecasting, marketing action planning en co-op budget management functionality. And this was the first step towards SyncForce Brand-CIA (Brand Creation, Implementation & Activation). Tell me a little bit about Ranking Brands. How did you come up with the idea for “Ranking the Brands”? Hans: I thought about building the "Ranking the Brands" website for three years, a place online where everybody who published a brand ranking could submit it. We would administrate it and scrutinize who rose and who fell, as well as who is new to the scene and who has dropped off the radar. I was hoping that this would help us prove that the SyncForce platform helps our clients perform better and build brand equity. Ranking the Brands attracts thousands of online visitors and features more than 3,000 brands from all over the world. It also works beautifully as a lead generation tool for SyncForce, while it also helps to identify industry movement and trends. Hans de Gier is truly ingenious, SyncForce is indeed a treasure for the business world in today’s economy and a great tool for marketing executives and teams.