Brand Rapport
Fast facts
Customer: Brand Rapport
Web site: www.brand-rapport.com
Number of employees: 50
Country or region:  United Kingdom
Industry: Marketing
Customer profile
Brand Rapport is a UK-based marketing and sponsorship company with 50 employees. With a second office in Hong Kong, it has customers worldwide in industries including sports, entertainment and the media.
Case Study

Brand Rapport

"With Vodafone, we have the best coverage, and in Access
Communications we have a partner who understands our business aims and technology needs."

Karen Foster, IT Manager, Brand Rapport

Marketing company reaps the benefits of Vodafone's mobile working solutions

Marketing and sponsorship company Brand Rapport has worked with Vodafone for more than 10 years – both as a customer and a provider of PR services. Vodafone Premier Partner Access Communications provides product advice, deployment and training. As a result, the three companies have developed a strong understanding of one another's objectives. Brand Rapport staff depend on Vodafone technology for mobile communication. BlackBerry® devices are helping staff to work effectively at worldwide events or when visiting the company's Hong Kong branch. With easier email access, they can respond to clients faster and immediately react to important information.

Situation 

Brand Rapport delivers marketing and sponsorship solutions to international blue-chip clients. The company is based in the United Kingdom, but has an office in Hong Kong and consultants in Singapore and Japan. With a network of partners across Europe, North America and Australasia, Brand Rapport serves clients worldwide in industries such as sports, entertainment and the arts. The majority of Brand Rapport's 50 employees spend a lot of their time with clients – creating PR campaigns and organising events. To do this, they need a close understanding of clients and their own customers. Events are often prestigious, such as providing hospitality for international sports tours, or sponsoring exhibitions at major art galleries. Karen Foster, IT Manager, Brand Rapport, says: "To develop strong relationships with clients, it's crucial that our staff can respond to queries fast. Many of our account managers work on multiple accounts, so they need to be available by phone and email as much as possible even if they're attending an event. My job is to make sure they have reliable, easy-to-use devices that they can use to communicate with colleagues and clients wherever they are." From both a management and an end-user perspective, it's vital that Foster can identify and deploy new technology quickly. She says: "Working with a partner who has insight into our business is really important. Rather than spending hours researching devices and tariffs, I want to work with a company that knows how we work and what we need so I can be sure that staff have the right equipment as soon as it's available."

Solution

Brand Rapport has been providing Vodafone with consultancy services for 15 years, working on its sponsorship of sports and music events. This has given the three companies a strong appreciation of one another's business needs. In turn, this was a great foundation for Vodafone to be Brand Rapport's technology provider. "Vodafone had the insight, as well as the technology, to fit my criteria," says Foster. Since 1997, Vodafone Premier Partner Access Communications has worked with Foster to give staff the right technology – whether they are co-ordinating an England Cricket Team event, or organising press coverage of a photography exhibition.

Foster says: "With Vodafone, we have the best coverage, and in Access Communications we have a partner who understands our business aims and technology needs." Until 2005, employees used laptops with Vodafone 3G data cards to access emails and office applications, along with Vodafone mobile phones for voice. While this worked well, staff working at busy events often had to wait for a convenient time to open up their laptops and check emails. Foster talked to Access Communications' Director James Phillips about the benefits of deploying BlackBerry devices."We have an immediate advantage when we consider new products – we get recommendations from someone who knows exactly how we work and what we need. Our contacts at Access Communications always tell us about the technology that's most relevant to us," says Foster. A team of Vodafone engineers installed a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) at the United Kingdom office. "They made sure that I knew how to create new users and manage the server on a day-to-day basis. We also had 30 days of free support from the Vodafone BlackBerry team," Foster says. In 2007, the team upgraded the BES, and, more recently, Foster moved all staff to the BlackBerry 8100 Pearl, a lightweight model that includes all the usual features of a smart phone. Account managers use their BlackBerry devices to access emails while working at client events. Messages are sent to them from their office-based email accounts, so they can be sure that they won't miss any vital communications. Managers and company directors also use the devices to look up sales and marketing data while they are travelling either in the United Kingdom or abroad.

The next step was to converge voice with email. By March 2008, all 40 mobile employees will use their BlackBerry devices for both calls and emails. So rather than switching between two devices, they can rely on one. In 2006, Foster also introduced 25 Vodafone USB modems, using them as pool devices distributed to staff with laptops as required. With no software installation, this is proving to be a simple, flexible wayto adapt to the demands of different projects and travel itineraries.

"Our Vodafone BlackBerry devices give us access to emails and applications on the move, so our account managers can deliver more effective campaigns."

Karen Foster, IT Manager, Brand Rapport

Business benefits

Staff with BlackBerry devices can keep track of emails wherever they are and reply very quickly to client queries and requests. Foster says: "Our Vodafone BlackBerry devices give us access to emails and applications on the move, so our account managers can deliver more effective campaigns." If an event schedule changes, everyone involved knows straightaway. "We can all act on more up-to-date information now," Foster explains. "Our BlackBerry devices help staff to make sure everyone's in the right place at the right time." Similarly, when company directors travel to Hong Kong, they can keep in touch with the UK office by checking their emails whenever they have a spare moment, rather than waiting until they can open their laptops. "The BlackBerry devices have made a huge difference to the way that we work. We can respond much faster to clients, colleagues and the media," Foster says.In addition, employees on the Vodafone account can trial the latest technology as part of their day-to-day work. "Our role in Vodafone events means we can regularly assess whether new devices have the potential to improve our business," says Foster.

  • Employees have access to emails, applications and voice features through a single, easy-to-use device, helping them deliver a professional service.
  • All staff benefit from reliable national and international coverage. They can travel with the reassurance that colleagues and clients can reach them. Employees receive and reply to emails sooner, reinforcing client confidence and ensuring that everyone is acting on up-to-date information.
  • Employees can use laptops with Vodafone USB modems when they are travelling extensively or in client meetings. This gives them rapid access to campaign data, quotes, marketing material and event schedules.
  • Foster receives a quarterly analysis of tariffs used across the company, giving her confidence that they are the most cost-effective.
  • Foster hears about relevant products as soon as they are available.
  • Instant set-up means the IT team can allocate modems to different employees as needed even if someone has to travel abroad at shortnotice.
  • A single tariff gives the company 8,000 minutes per month across all users and devices, so the billing process is simple and transparent.