ePrize has been known for a decade and a half as a leading specialty agency and tech platform in the sweepstakes and loyalty promotions space. But a recent run of acquisitions and focus on mobile media is leading to today's announcement that the company is rebranding as HelloWorld. The curious new company name is intended to connote the enhanced focus of the company on enabling “rich engagements” for brands with their customers. The name also invokes the computer programmer's most basic coding exercise -- getting a machine to return "Hello World." Part of the rebranding is a focus on HelloWorld that Saas technology platform clients can license and increasingly use on their own to deploy programs.
The rebranding marks the culmination of a small tech shopping spree that includes the acquisition of some assets from Apollo Data Technologies, mobile company Cellit, live event mobile activation firm Mozes, app startup Bulbstorm and rival firm Promotions.com. “Those five acquisitions started to build a platform coupled to our organizational efforts to focus on rich engagement,” says CEO Matt Wise. By “rich engagements” the company means the more complex multiplatform marketing initiatives that tie together formerly siloed elements like loyalty program, couponing, email, point-of-sale integration and feedback, etc. “It is our belief you can create one piece of software to complete that rich experience,” he says. HelloWorld compares this effort in the engagement space to CRM powerhouses like Oracle and Salesforce.com that help unify cross-platform efforts on a single platform.
HelloWorld’s SaaS platform has five major components that aim toward that integration. A mobile marketing piece activates messaging, alerts, mobile clubs and location services, while a live event piece extends that to messaging tweets, texts and user-generated content going to in-venue screens. The promotions piece manages sweepstakes and contests, while the loyalty and in-store elements manage reward programs as well as couponing and POS integrations.
If it seems that HelloWorld's recent acquisitions are especially mobile-focused, this is not coincidental. “Mobile is the catalyst for enabling what we call rich engagement,” argues Wise. Before handheld devices, promotions came to users via broadcast or at-home interactions that ultimately were aimed at making them get up and go to a store. “With devices you can now drive people into a physical environment where you can interact with them,” he says.
Wise admits that most brands are only at the early stages of grasping just how fundamentally mobile technologies really change the game of marketing. “Last year many clients were talking in terms of mobile as the next screen, as a PC screen.” He likens it to the early days of the Internet, when print and radio mistook the Web as just an extension of old media. “Right now we are trying to get marketers to understand that this new screen is as revolutionary as was the PC because you use it in a different way.”
HelloWorld claims over 1,000 clients -- more than double the portfolio of three years ago. Coca-Cola, Microsoft and P&G are among their largest clients in a roster the company says includes half the Fortune 500. Wise names among the more advanced users of the platform Walgreens and Starbucks.
Wise says the public rebranding kicks off an effort in coming months to educate clients and prospects of HelloWorld's capabilities beyond the sweepstakes promotions roots. The goal also is to focus the company's business model and development on the software, further enabling clients to run their own programs.