One day it wasn’t there; the next day it seemed to be everywhere. This describes the launch of the ITEC brand. Although it may seem a simple thing to achieve, many companies manage to get it wrong. ITEC happens to be one of the companies that got it right – without the help of an advertising agency or any knowledge of brand-building or marketing. But the story behind the success of the brand and what it has allowed the company to do goes beyond achieving maximum exposure and visibility overnight. It’s a story about passion, people and true entrepreneurial spirit.
ITEC started off trading as Konica, but when Konica and Minolta merged to form what is now Konica-Minolta, using the Konica name was no longer an option. Undeterred, Jacques Duyver, founder and CEO, describes how they made the change work for them: “It was the catalyst that allowed us to put an idea that had been brewing for a while into action. ”We had seen a change in the market coming for some time – the rapid convergence of technology meant that customers were demanding a complete solution, and there is no single manufacturing company out there that can provide it because each has its area of specialisation.
Trading under one brand name didn’t allow us to offer the total solution clients were asking for, namely the best products from all the different brands.” The company went from being an office automation provider to one that offers clients the full range of solutions. After the launch campaign, ITEC grew its office automation division by 30%, but its biggest growth has been in new product areas. So how exactly did a company that had never even had a marketing department get it right? Duyver talks about the collective effort, energy and enthusiasm that got all employees behind the campaign. Gripped with ITEC enthusiasm, employees increased the output of promotional material and relationship marketing events, dressed their technicians in branded clothing and branded all the paper they delivered to clients.
Staff, in their passion for the brand, even agreed to have their cars branded – Duyver was the first in line with his Mercedes SLK. “We figured that when people see an ad on TV they forget it, but they start to realise you are there when they then see all these other things everywhere they look,” he explains. The colour orange was the first thing to be decided on. “In the IT industry you want something that is slick and professional, but also ‘with it’,” says Duyver. “In the past, red has been one of the most popular corporate colours, but we felt it was tired and wanted something with a younger, hipper feel.”
So orange, with its stand-out factor and funky energy, became the new red. The payoff line, ‘Quality People, Smart Office Solutions’ puts people first and combines this with the company’s core business. “We originally had it as Smart People, Quality Document Solutions, but we thought this sounded a little arrogant, so we changed it around and changed ‘Document’ to ‘Office’ when we went into complete solutions,” he explains. “And once we had the payoff line, the logo was easy,” says Duyver.
“The funky stick-man with a document for a head represents the two important sides of our business – people and business solutions. It’s our passion.” The creativity and passion have paid off. ITEC does an annual turnover of R750 million and Duyver is bullish about what’s to come: “I think that in the next two years we’ll be closer to a R3 billion organisation,” he says, hinting at a major deal yet to be announced. The future looks as bright as ITEC’s orange.