Roger Dudler, founder of Frontify
Building a brand is hard work. Maintaining a brand is even more difficult. Imagine walking past a billboard with McDonald’s Purple Arches. Or, Max Verstappen telling broadcasters how much he loves Mountain Dew. It could happen with a poorly managed brand. That’s what Roger Dudler, Founder and CEO of Frontify, is helping prevent with a platform he and his team have created for businesses that help manage their brands.
“Inconsistent logos, for starters, impact customer trust and damage public reputation. But it’s not just about logos. It’s also about how companies speak, write and tell their brand story inside and outside their walls. And, it has become much harder to maintain consistency for global companies if they don’t have a system in place that makes it easy to find, adapt, and communicate their brand assets,” says Dudler.
What Dudler didn’t know in 2013 when he started, however, was how prescient his software would be. With a growing number of people working from home powered by a faster and more robust internet to power a world of online sites, mobile apps, social media and new devices, the challenge of managing a brand’s assets and all the information that governs them has grown. exponentially.
“Only 10 years ago, Lufthansa had to create brand assets and maintain them within a multi-country organization with inflexible front ends that made consistency nearly impossible,” says Dudler. “Imagine needing to share movie footage for commercials. The time our clients have wasted on asset swapping in the past is remarkable.
What Frontify has done is evolve to give companies like Lufthansa a united front when it comes to things like logos, fonts and colors, as well as important and often changing guidelines on where and how to brand is used.
These guidelines and shared assets help prevent damage to a brand that, in the worst case, could ruin their relationship with customers. A single source for all stages of brand building, Frontify also offers collaborative spaces to work on a variety of projects, templates for non-designers to easily get creative, and a way to access them through an app. Office.
Then came a global pandemic
COVID-19 has accelerated the need for businesses to operate remotely across all areas of the business. “It was sink or swim for many and we could check all the first digital boxes for them. We were already proofed by existing clients who had built their branded homes and were able to provide a sudden and essential solution for those who needed to adapt quickly,” says Dudler.
I’m excited about Frontify building an ecosystem that puts the brand at the center, where the platform is the connective tissue
With ever-changing work scenarios, being able to rely on information and assets was essential to get the job done. Almost half of Frontify’s enterprise customer portfolio consists of new contracts that were launched during the pandemic, with the total number of platform users exceeding 2.5 million. One particular enterprise client has seen the total number of registered users skyrocket, up more than 200% during the pandemic.
After studying software development and being an apprentice in his native Switzerland, followed by several projects with companies there, Roger’s entrepreneurial development took a more serious turn when he started Frontify. Before Frontify says Dudler: “I was a coder doing obvious things like websites and I was in a very comfortable position to get good projects and coach others.”
But Dudler didn’t feel like he was using his full potential, so he started looking for something bigger and more challenging to channel his creative energy. He started playing around with a new tool that he eventually named, Clarify.
A pivotal moment came after he was asked to speak at a Frontend conference and chose to speak about Clarify. In the next room was someone more famous. In Dudler’s room there were “maybe 30 people”. But then the other guy had canceled and suddenly his room at full capacity moved to Dudler’s. At the end of the presentation, a guy in the audience shouted, “Shut up and take my money!”
It was the starting point for Dudler to jump in and do his own thing. Eventually, he asked the CEO of the agency he worked for if he thought his idea had potential and referred him to Doodle co-founder Myke Naef, who was also an angel investor. Myke and other seed investors, including former Google software engineer and Frontify co-founder Thomas Düebendorfer and Cédric Waldburger of Tenderloin Ventures, gave him the money to get started.
Myke, who later mentored Dudler, said of him at the time, “What immediately convinced me to invest and get involved was that Roger was a complete product builder. He covered all the relevant bases. He had a clear vision and was able to build a product on his own. And, it did it at lightning speed with impeccable quality. It is rare to find all of these required skills in one person.
The future of brand management
For Dudler, the gratification of helping people in their day-to-day work continues to inspire him: “I’m excited for Frontify to build an ecosystem that puts the brand at the center, where the platform is the connective tissue. “
Additionally, Dudler believes that processes should feel like second nature and provide the kind of experience that he believes satisfies the human need for reduced complexity at work. “I think personalization and bespoke experiences will be sought after and even expected by brands. Our new API allowing for greater customization is a big step towards this achievement. »
Dudler also sees brand management breaking down the concept of brand ownership and who the brand builders are, allowing individuals at all levels to play a role in the overall brand management process.
“It makes people feel like they’re really contributing from the ground floor and part of something that matters,” says Dudler. “Ultimately, deeper analytics that reflect how users work with the brand will enable better decision-making and better governance for ultimate engagement and expression.”