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Alludo boss Christa Quarles discusses brand management and capitalising on post-pandemic trends

I am a huge believer of “if you can’t sell it internally, you can’t sell it externally.” I can’t tell you how many times I said this throughout the process. Your employees are your biggest brand advocates, and it is essential that your brand matches the reality they’re working in every day.

Christa Quarles

CorelDRAW developer Corel Corp. is rebranding, starting with the name Alludo. The rebranding is part of the company’s commitment to reinventing the future of work, including where people will work and how, when, and even why, and Christa Quarles, the CEO of Alludo, is in charge of this transformation.

Dynamic Business spoke with Christa to discuss the consequences of the “new world of work” and the major changes she observed in the customer profile since the outbreak.

Let’s talk about the significant changes you’ve noticed in your customers’ profiles since the outbreak

Christa: “When I joined as CEO in 2020, I knew I was coming into a company with a deep history and impressive technology portfolio. I also discovered that this business came with narratives and assumptions that no longer matched who we had become or what we were offering our customers.

“In March 2020, the world of work changed overnight. As our customers made the rapid pivot to remote work, our applications supported anywhere, anytime productivity became even more essential. And while the pandemic may have accelerated these demands, without question, remote work is here to stay.  

“While we did not make the decision to refresh our brand because of the pandemic, the changes that have happened over the past few years have certainly caused a fundamental shift in the way people work and tech companies need to respond. In today’s world, branding is so more than promoting products and services. Customers are looking for brands that connect with their values and worldviews.

“Business has never been more personal, and it is critical that your branding and messaging reflect who you are as an organisation and what you believe. Your employees and your customers demand it.”

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What key trends to look out for when rebranding a tech business?

Christa: “Rebranding is not easy for anyone, and it can be challenging for tech companies to create a unique and ownable brand that truly stands out. Everything, from the name to the creative to the messaging, must feel new and different. If not, you run the risk of getting lost in the noise. 

“A brand is much more than a new logo or fancy new images. To be authentic, you need to look at everything – the products you offer, the values you stand for, and the sentiment of your employees. These elements are all critical to bringing a brand to life. 

“Most importantly, I am a huge believer in if you can’t sell it internally, you can’t sell it externally; I can’t tell you how many times I said this throughout the process. Your employees are your biggest brand advocates, and your brand must match the reality they’re working in daily. So, if you say you believe in flexibility, you better deliver. When we asked employees if they wanted to work in an office or work remotely, 95 per cent answered remote. So, now as an organisation, we’re remote first. When you know what you’re committed to and believe, big decisions can become strikingly simple – and most definitely “on brand.”

“When creating an effective brand, what happens inside your business is as critical as what you say outside. Your brand must feel as natural and familiar to your people as it does to your customers. And no matter what route you take on your branding journey, authenticity will always be the key to success.” 

“For us, this meant ensuring that everyone on the branding project (especially our external partners) deeply understood our solutions and capabilities. Countless hours were spent talking to employees and customers to understand what our brand represents today and the roadmap for where we were going next.

“The fundamental nature of work has changed, and the genie is not going back into the bottle. This movement has had a dramatic effect on our people and our culture. We believe there’s a revolution afoot, and we call it Work3. Work3 questions all our assumptions about what productivity is supposed to look like. It seems the people behind the effort realise that diversity drives creativity and thinks flexibility is a given. It expects you to bring your best and promises to reward your effort.” 

“Work3 is a belief in freedom and flexibility that’s infused in everything we do. From the name (a play on “all you do”) to the innovative treatment, this people-first human element is all over Alludo. 

What are the important cultural changes you implemented for your employees and the company that you believe others in the tech industry should emulate?

“We’ve had more than two years of pandemic living. Working from home has delivered unprecedented employee freedom. And through it all, our professional lives suddenly became much more personal. Priorities shifted, and for many of us, returning to ‘normal’ has lost its appeal.  

“We asked our people what they wanted and listened closely to the reply. For starters, they told us they wanted to work from home. Moving forward, that’s where they’ll be. We will continue measuring outcomes and achievements, not people in cubicles.

“For our leaders, Work3 means empowering our people with the right tools to take advantage of anywhere, anytime productivity and the flexibility to make decisions for themselves. We believe authentic leadership isn’t a product of getting the people in a room to do what you want. It’s about giving your employees the space to work and live better.  

“Our company is a driving force in how the Work3 revolution unfolds for our employees and customers.”

Christa is a seasoned executive with over two decades of experience leading companies and spearheading financial and operational initiatives. As a fortune 150 board member, she was CEO of OpenTable, CBO of Nextdoor, and earlier in her career, she served as Senior Vice President at The Walt Disney Company.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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