When people ask me what I do, I never have a clear answer. It’s always been that way. I don’t mean my parents (or my children, for that matter). They just know I “work with computers.” So of course, they expect me to fix their computers that they’ve cocked up. Fair enough.
Now, if someone gets what I do (build digital products), my favorite follow-up question is “Why would you do that?” What they mean is “Why would the market need that?” or “How did you decide to build the thing and not some other thing?” That’s a good question. So I’ll answer it right here and talk about what we do at Qnary and why we decided to build some thing and not another thing and why we think this thing is Really Important!
We at Qnary come from the worlds of ad tech and digital brand management. We know brands. We know the powerful digital platforms that brands get to use to manage their online presence. We also know that your data is out and about being sold and bought and analyzed by these brands. As much as we know and love brands, we thought “Well that aint fair. People are pretty important. People should have these tools for themselves. And they should know more about how their data and identities are being handled online. Right?" Well why would people need that? Yep. There it is! We heard that when we built tools for brands, too. Why would a brand want to be on social media? Isn’t that for people? Woah…things are really sounding meta here, eh?!
Everyone needs to understand and manage their online selves.
Put simply, four years ago we built a platform that would allow anyone to brand themselves online. Rather than help people hide online, we understood that - with just a small amount of effort - a person could easily grow and manage a digital footprint. SEO management, branding, and audience growth tools and reports were put into the platform, laying down the groundwork for the experience. This was great, but it posed a problem for the product team: What was our core use case? We were working with a wide variety of individuals interested in managing and controlling their online identities. We needed to focus the business now.
Dashboarded To Death
This is what it can feel like to a digital marketer. Big brands talked about War Rooms of monitoring and reporting dashboards run by teams of analysts to make sense of it all. We had a dashboard too. It was a straightforward one, but it was a dashboard all the same, and required a person with a marketers mind to log in to yet another tool and make sense of some (very pretty, we thought) graphs and visual displays. But do regular people want to see dashboards? We thought so…but we weren’t so sure.
As part of the Qnary arsenal, we automatically generated a unique web page for users where they could easily curate items from their social networks or whatever links they wanted to create a sort of living, curated branding page. This was also very attractive and our users who did leverage it reported great satisfaction. These curated pages also landed high in search results.
As we progressed, our business started to focus more and more on professionals and executives. As younger employees who understood the particulars of curating their social media profiles came on board and as more and more subject experts and thought leaders took to Twitter and other social media, companies understood that executives needed to actively have a voice, despite the potential pitfalls that could come with it. So they needed a strategy and a plan and the tools to execute. And, of course, the execution needed to be efficient, mobile-first, and trustworthy. Anyone who has built technology solutions for busy people know this. So we had a use case. It just happened to be a very tough one. These are busy people constantly on the go.
The Platform Today
Today we have a mobile-first platform that gets relevant content to our clients in real-time either created by real people or by suggestions based on conversations and news relevant to the unique individual’s expertise and topics of interest. Individuals receive vetted content to post via mobile, a feed of hyper-relevant news and conversations, and insights based on their social media engagement and new mentions of them across the internet. While they are tethered to content managers and creators, they are also empowered to engage on their own. Personal PR-in-the-pocket. Tinder for content.
Not necessarily a marketing solution
What we have found in the marketplace is that many folks initially think of our solution as a marketing solution (and it can be). While some features tend to stack up against Employee Advocacy tools, we are not interested in employees amplifying messages from the marketing team looking for earned media. We are interested in carefully and effectively empowering the individual voices that make up an organization. What we hear again and again from clients who have used marketing solutions for content sharing is that “We can’t get our employees to use it” and “We have a problem with good content.” Employees feel like it’s a chore. They don’t feel like content is for them and their personal professional growth.
We’ve come full circle.
Years of working with brands in “traditional” digital advertising and then in social media made me a bit of a cynic. At some point the question we heard nearly a decade ago - why should our brand be on social media? - is relevant again today, though in a different light. Of course they should be on social media. But social media is still first and foremost “social”. People want to hear from authentic voices and real people. Business partners and clients want to know who they are doing business with. Professionals know that growing their personal brands fuels the growth of their business and their careers. They are comfortable knowing that they have a strategy and are actively engaged in something they didn’t have time for, didn’t know how to do, or weren’t allowed to do because of potential risks. involved.
Qnary started with a vision and while the product has done some maneuvering, we’ve kept to that vision. Today thousands of unique pieces of content hundreds of alerts, and thousands of targeted news and conversations are delivered to our mobile app for professionals who are serious about becoming more engaged with their colleagues and employees and more empowered to grow their professional footprint.