Prografica rebrands ahead of growth year

Prografica’s transition from a printer to a full-service multichannel marketing firm has not been easy, but after a year of development it expects 2015 to be the best year yet.

Chief executive Kerim El Gabaili says the acquisition of media agency McDowall Creative in August 2012 did not go as well as hoped, mostly due to culture clashes between the two teams, and meant growth was flat this year.

“We have been licking our wounds but we gained some priceless intellectual property and it prompted us to do a bit of soul searching and improve our overall business significantly,” he says.

“We learned from the experience and have spent this year improving our brand and developing new products to serve our clients better.”

During this process and as part of the company’s evolution it has changed its name to OnePoint and retired the Prografica brand.

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El Gabaili says a big focus was on the company’s culture and evaluating its product offering.

“It is important to get the culture right, building a successful business for us is more about culture than what equipment we have,” he says.

“It takes a long time to find your point of difference in a saturated market, you have to go over things repeatedly and find out what works and what doesn’t.”

He says OnePoint has always had a flat management structure, but the McDowall experience has made him think a more corporate setup might be needed to take it to next growth step.

The self-reflection is paying off, the company has set up ten websites this year and it designs campaigns incorporating print, digital, direct mail, websites, SEO and SEM, and telemarketing, with spectacular results.

“We ran a campaign for Pitney Bowes this year and they said it was the most successful campaign they have ever had, and a club in Canberra had a return of $4.72 for each dollar they spent with us,” El Gabaili says.

He says the success of these multichannel campaigns means OnePoint can sell them to clients at high cost because the return on investment is so great.

“We take a data-driven approach to our campaigns and look closely at customer journey. Every campaign we learn more that we can use to make the next one better,” he says.

“Our goal is to provide commercial outcomes for our clients, and use whatever products are needed for the best outcome.

“We create credible and valuable leads for clients and even advise them on how to buy media better.”

Among the new developments this year is an automated marketing software that manages a client’s database of customers to tailor pitches and communication to match their interests.

It can set up triggers for periodic customer communication and match campaigns to them based on previous behaviour that indicates what they will respond to.

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El Gabaili says the focus for 2015 will be to grow the business significantly, using the new products to seek out new clients and increase the volume of business, and to enter more awards to show off its capabilities.

However, he says he does not plan more than three years ahead as technology changes so rapidly and he needs to be able to keep up. He says the development of OnePoint’s brand and culture will make adaptation easier.

“Once you get your purpose right, changes in technology don’t matter because we will use whatever is available to deliver the best outcomes,” he says.

El Gabaili says it is important for businesses to constantly evaluate their product offerings and do what makes them money rather than hang on to areas that aren’t working.

“We want to be a value-add company not just a procurement company,” he says.

“Every part of your business has to be profitable, if you get into price cutting to get more business you will go broke.”

He says all of OnePoint’s products are profitable, but its creative section could be doing better because it is ‘giving too much away’ and going forward will be stricter with clients asking for free design changes.

He is also a strong advocate of PIAA seminars and is disappointed that more printers do not make use of them.

“Every time I go I come away with a gem. It has helped us think about changes that will support business growth,” he says.

OnePoint’s services now includes design and brand identity, marketing and communication strategies, advertising creative, marketing campaigns using (brochures, IMs and eDM), online and digital media including websites, SEO, social media strategies, offset and digital printing, wide format and signage, merchandising, and warehousing and logistics.

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