Excellence is a moving target: The story of COLONYHQ


Winner of the Department of Science and Technology Director General Award for Overall Excellence
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Excellence is a moving target

The problem with excellence is how elusive it is. No sooner have you arrived at a point of excellence, by today’s standards, than it’s moved on again. Partly fuelled by swift technology advances and partly by changing markets, excellence is a moving target that’s becoming harder to pin down.

“In the campaign business, success has typically been measured quantitatively – by the number of consumers reached or competition entries received. Nowadays, the measure of campaign performance is less quantitative. Yes, you still need the numbers but what’s important is the performance of the client’s brand, and especially whether or not a campaign helps it to acquire new customers along the way,” says Claira Mallett, head of Client Partnerships at COLONYHQ.

This shifting view of excellence is keeping COLONY on its toes, calling for unprecedented agility in how it applies technology, information and skills and, above all, responds to clients’ needs.

“We are completely focused on the client,” says Mallett, explaining that COLONYHQ underwent a dramatic reorganisation in 2016, right down to job descriptions, to ensure optimal customer centricity. “The beauty of the way we work is that our inspiration comes from our clients, who are many and varied. We are constantly inspired by their need to reach their customers, and totally focused on maximising the relationship with their customers.”

COLONY’s client campaigns aren’t just about pushing messages out to customers through games, competitions, message boards, polls, social experiments and the like, but also about bringing back as much rich data on them and their preferences as possible. “We use the insights we bring back to build better campaigns that engage the right people at the right time – and the rich spot for engaging isn’t necessarily pay day.”

Every campaign generates huge volumes of customer data, which COLONY crunches into bite-sized, digestible chunks for its clients, using its core campaigns platform and proprietary software. “We break big data down into little data that our clients can use to know more about the customers they already have and acquire new customers too.”

COLONY works relentlessly at improving the capacity and functionality of its technology, which has evolved from a message board to an advanced analytics tool that has already analysed 25 million messages and processed R50 million worth of prizes. Its most recent breakthrough is COLONYLive, a version of its core campaign platform developed specifically for the broadcast industry, with the broadcast industry.

“We worked side by side with our radio customers to build this product, which is so world-class that we have already initiated launching into the United States,” Mallett says.

In the campaigns space at least, the bar has been raised, the ante upped and excellence redefined – for now.  No doubt the target will soon be moving again.