We sat down with Brandcrush CEO and Founder, Teresa Aprile, to discuss the power of experiential marketing, her vision, and how she inspires creativity in others.

 

 

What’s the Brandcrush story in a nutshell?

Having worked in the marketing and brand development space for almost 20 years, I saw first-hand the power of experiential marketing and media partnerships for effective and relevant customer engagement. I also recognised that, in our increasingly digitally-saturated world, hyper-targeted and contextual connections between brands and consumers were only going to become more valuable. 

I saw an opportunity to use technology in a way I’d seen it done in other areas: to create a tech-based platform that would simplify and scale the discovery, booking and running of experiential and hyper-targeted activations. I also saw this incredible and untapped opportunity for businesses to leverage and monetise their customer reach by becoming bookable media spaces for brand activations.

Brandcrush is a media platform for brand activations. It offers a seamless process for brands to engage consumers via a network of influential businesses, activating hyper-targeted, high-engagement campaigns. It also empowers businesses to unlock and grow media revenue by monetising their customer reach. 

We believe businesses are the new media and we have developed an end-to-end media platform to help unlock and grow this potential. Many businesses have no idea how valuable they are as an owned-media channel. From retailers, cafes and gyms to rideshare, universities, and co-working spaces, Brandcrush is empowering businesses across all verticals to realise these opportunities and create their own media units.

Meanwhile, brands and agencies can discover and scale a range of brand activations, experiential marketing opportunities and media partnerships that get cut through with a streamlined media booking experience. 

 

How important has tech been to Brandcrush’s success?

Brands and agencies are always looking for high-engagement new media opportunities that deliver cut through. The problem is, these opportunities have traditionally lived in offline PDF packs and spreadsheets, making them harder to book and the execution of them harder to scale and measure. 

Equally, many businesses small and large, have not realised the opportunity to unlock their own media revenue streams. 

I recognised a clear opportunity to use technology in a way I’d seen it done in other areas but not in this space: to make this high-engagement media discoverable, scalable and measurable. Without technology, we wouldn’t be able to help businesses unlock and grow their media potential, or give brands and agencies the ability to discover and create highly scalable and measurable campaigns.  We are building an ecosystem and technology is a critical enabler of this ecosystem. 

 

What have been your biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges of any marketplace platform is delivering immediate value so that users don’t go around the marketplace or fall off the platform. 

We are a SaaS Enabled marketplace, therefore our constant focus and challenge is to deliver a stand-out product and build a network where users find incredible value. We want users to“come for the tool but stay for the network”. 

We also have a unique value proposition for both sides of our marketplace in being both a media booking and management platform for businesses, and an activation platform for brands and agencies. As a two-sided marketplace, balancing the focus on supply and demand is a constant juggling act. 

 

How did you fund the launch of the business?

We raised funds from early-stage investors who believed in (and continue to support) our vision. We see incredible opportunities across multiple verticals and geographies, so this is just the beginning of our journey. 

 

Brandcrush is a media platform for brand activations. It offers a seamless process for brands to engage consumers via a network of influential businesses, activating hyper-targeted, high-engagement campaigns. It also empowers businesses to unlock and grow media revenue by monetising their customer reach. 

 

Can you tell us a little about your professional journey prior to founding Brandcrush?

I am a passionate marketer at heart, and for nearly 20 years I have been developing and executing growth strategies for B2B and B2C brands. I’ve successfully brought to market several major brands, including the launch and evolution of global health and wellness brand The Chia Co across Australasia, UK, Europe and the US. I also led the brand strategy and communications management for the Pact Group businesses. Those experiences along with a number of consulting projects gave me a great foundation across B2C and B2B marketing and it also fuelled my passion for the space. 

But perhaps my “ah-ha” moment and the genesis of Brandcrush was my time living and working in NYC.  It was the best thing I’ve done in my life;  smashing the walls of my comfort zone and relocating to New York with my family to develop and launch Chia Pod into the US. Everything about New York is exciting and completely terrifying at the same time. Add the responsibility of raising two young boys, away from your support network, and well… let’s just say it was an adventure! We made lifelong friends, the ideas started flowing, and the desire to create my own business was born.

 

Who are your professional mentors? How have they helped you in business?

I have two incredible female mentors who have helped me navigate this startup journey: Smiling Mind Co-founder, Jane Newton Martino, and Range Me Co-founder, Nicky Jackson. 

They each have unique and incredible experiences. Their advice has always been motivational and inspirational, but perhaps of most importance to me, highly practical, providing me with the clarity I need when I have been at a crossroads. They have both achieved incredible success but I have found the greatest moments of learning to be when they have shared their own challenges — these are the greatest lessons in anyone’s journey.  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have them in my life and on this journey with me and my co-founder, Matt Hurle. 

 

How has Brandcrush been impacted by COVID-19? Have you had to adapt?

With our initial focus on physical media opportunities, COVID-19 had an immediate and direct impact on Brandcrush. However, our vision for Brandcrush has always been to evolve and expand the types of media spaces offered through the platform — offering brands a holistic, multi-channel approach to hyper-targeted consumer connections and businesses a 360-degree media platform to manage their owned media. This global crisis has not caused us to change our path, we just have to get there a bit quicker! 

We have been excited to see our Brandcrush community rise to the challenge. We have seen many of our host spaces pivot quickly in the face of this crisis, finding new channels to stay engaged and service their customers such as fitness studios now streaming classes online, and hospitality businesses offering new food delivery and takeout options.  We have supported these businesses, offering them tools to promote their services and connecting them with brand partners for media partnerships.

We have also seen a number of our existing “low social contact” media partners like rideshare services, residential towers, home food delivery boxes, and online retail boxes continue to grow. These media spaces are connecting with more consumers than ever, and have become an exciting new media opportunity for brands. 

 

What’s next for Brandcrush?

Prior to COVID, we entered the US market and our plans are to continue our focus on the Australian and US market, growing the network both locally and globally and enhancing our end to end media platform solution for our partners. 

 

 

Vital Addition presents this ‘Meet a CEO’ series.

Vital Addition is a fast-growing Australian tax and accounting company providing fresh, honest, and reliable accounting, financial, and tax advice. CEO Lachlan Grant believes in ‘strength in numbers’, empowering SMEs to make business decisions with confidence, and face the challenges associated with growth with informed optimism.

 

 

 

 

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