Archive for category Branders.com
They are transparent about selling online from Manila, and candid, too, in telling US clients they’re rendering a good night’ s work because of time zones. In essence, they say: “Yes, I’m Filipino. How may I help you?” Branders.com sales people, who belong to the highest paid online sales group from Manila, have no qualms letting the world know from where and what time they work. They speak the best English they could but don’t have to mimic the American accent. After all, their clients are the ones who choose to do business with Branders.com, the world’s largest online seller of low-priced quality promotional products. Edward Carey, Branders sales representative, shares that, in fact, they present with pride these information. The Filipino sales team, along with all Filipino employees of Branders.com, is a cherished lot, proven by the compensation and benefits package they receive, free catered food daily, spa days, great office parties, Facebook stations, 2-day weekend off, and other delights from a company that is all set to show what the practice of “putting employees first” means. In 2005, Branders was a Silicon Valley-based e-commerce company gearing up to pull away from the pack. Deciding to look beyond the United States for talent was key to the company’s growth, according to Branders founding president Jerry McLaughlin.
The search brought Branders to the Philippines. “We looked all over the world for that pool of talent to propel the company’s growth and since we came to the Philippines, we have been constantly affirmed of our decision to set up the base of our operations here,” says McLaughlin.
The company’s Manila office is now the hub for Account Management, Finance, Marketing and Design, Engineering and IT servicing. Its other offices are in the US and Mexico.
Filipinos make up the majority of its 145 strong team. Its frontline people, the sales professionals deal with decision-makers of top US companies on a regular basis.
“In our emails, we put that we have an office in Manila and an office in the US. If clients ask us, we answer them correctly: yes, we’re in Manila. It’s night time here but don’t worry; we’re working for you. Most customers don’t mind. We’re a business to business operation. We have no reason to hide,” saysCarey.
With annual sales reaching at least, $18.1 billion, the promotional products business is a competitive industry to be in. Branders has consistently trumped competitors through unmatched low prices, speedy service, high-quality products and excellent customer relations.
By ordering online, companies also benefit from accurate item previews, up-to-the-minute order statuses and 24/7 support. Promotional products include wearable items such as shirts or caps, writing instruments, calendars and coffee mugs with a company’s name, logo or message printed on it.
With over 97 percent of Fortune 500 companies and the White House in its roster of clients, Branders is a success because its employees are happy.
“We believe in two things: making sure our customers are happy and compensating our employees well. Great people make up a great company. Having the best people working for your company is at the core of being an industry leader,” McLaughlin adds.
According to an industry survey by Watson Wyatt, Branders pays 20 percent higher than average for Philippine BPO workers. Though jobs at Branders aren’t products of outsourcing, the company was benchmarked with BPOs which provide service using ICT systems and tools and which generally perform jobs on the night shift in sync with US office hours.
Branders’ online business is anchored on a state of the art website using the patented “See before you buy” technology. Its pool of IT engineers constantly update on software innovations to ensure that its website is most customer-friendly and has the best features for lead and sales generation, order tracking and monitoring. The IT team leads with presentation of visuals and features that further enhance its “See before you buy” tag.
Redefining Corporate Culture
Branders emphasizes on performance and compensation. The company believes that work satisfaction and a dynamic work environment is important. Branders doesn’t just want to attract the best talent, it wants talent to stay. “Corporate culture can make or break a company. If you’re not motivated, it affects your performance. I’m proud to say that I’m part of a company that puts its employees first,” shares Carey.
The company continuously encourages its team to outdo themselves in work performance. And when successful, which is often the case, their take home pay immediately zooms to triple, even quadruple.
“Big bonuses are always within reach at Branders. We always want to work harder to reach a particular sales quota. And these goals aren’t impossible. In fact, most of the sales representatives here enjoy the sales bonuses quite often,” states Carey.
The Branders sales team also holds a weekly meeting on customer handling called “Good morning Manila!” which is led by their sales director. During the session, customer preferences, changing trends and inputs from other departments are discussed as well.
Branders offers a a month long training for new recruits. “In sales, we are trained to handle customers and become familiar with the system. They have to learn how to do the inventory as well as the pricing. We don’t leave our new recruits out in the cold,” he says.
Carey, who has been with the Branders sales team for five years said that the company understands that working nights can become stressful. “At Branders we have free catered food daily, movie nights, “Facebook” stations and quarterly office parties. These aren’t your usual corporate perks. We even have company-sponsored sports teams and spa days,” Carey enthuses.
The business to business set up at Branders is also an advantage for its employees.
“Compared to others in the customer service sector, we don’t handle so many irate customers. The people we’re talking to are business people. They’re not disgruntled customers sitting at home. They don’t scream at us, let out steam unprofessionally or just hang up,” relates Carey. Branders employees also enjoy permanent weekends off.
Companies like Branders are showing the world that an employee-centered corporate culture reaps outstanding results. “We are part of the good reasons why our company stay on top. Actually, we, the employees, are at the top of the game plan,” Carey beams.
Picture this: you’re sitting in a posh office overlooking the Ortigas skyline, making a deal over the phone with a top executive across the Atlantic. You forget you are 24 years old. All that’s in your mind is to bag a $10,000 order of company caps. A few minutes onward, you seal it and rush to go on a facebook break. You pass another room where your colleagues are glued to the computer, discussing minute adjustments to the company website to highlight the latest discount on the company’s promotional products. Over free refillable coffee and pastries, they talk excitedly over the latest software they’re installing. You smile as you listen to them. You are mostly young, successful and bring home hefty paychecks.
Sounds like a pipe dream? Think again. The scenario painted above is everyday life for the mostly Filipino employees of Branders.com, the world’s largest online seller of low-priced promotional products.
According to Jerry McLaughlin, Branders founding president, there’s outstanding talent found in the Philippines.
When his five-year-old e-commerce company in California opted in 2005 to look outside the United States for admirable talent to achieve greater growth, they flew to the Philippines to check out the place. After setting foot here five years ago, they never left the country.
“We looked all over the world for that pool of talent and came to the Philippines to research on the field. Since then, we have been constantly affirmed of our decision to set up the base of our operations here,” said McLaughlin.
Today, most of its 145 people are Filipinos.
Selling promotional products is big business. The Promotional Products Association International reported that promotional products sell $18.1 billion annually. Promotional products include wearable items like shirts or caps, writing instruments, calendars and coffee mugs which have a company’s name, logo, brand or message printed on it.
More than a hundred thousand companies and institutions like the White House have turned to Branders.com because of its unmatched low prices, speedy service and high quality products. By ordering online, companies also benefit from accurate item previews, up-to-the-minute order statuses and 24/7 support.
McLaughlin explained that with the talent they found in the Philippines, Branders was able to maintain its lead in the e-commerce market. The company’s Manila office is now the hub for Account Management, Finance, Marketing and Design, Engineering and IT servicing. Other offices are in the US and Mexico.
Stay on Top, Put Employees Ahead
Joie Fuentes, Branders.com marketing director, joined Branders four years after earning his management degree from the Ateneo. Fuentes is now leveled with the hands-on management of marketing the company’s aces. In itself, Fuentes’ story of zooming to the top is for the books. At 27, he is willing to share this story, if only to lend a good story of how things can play out well in cyberspace and working from the Philippines with bright people around you.
“Results of our inputs have proven to be amazing. From where we stay in our office at the Ortigas Center, our success as Branders people has a global impact. Our work becomes very rewarding, to say the least,” stated Fuentes.
Having the best people working for your company is at the core of being an industry leader. For McLaughlin, great people make up a great company. That is why for Branders, it is essential to remain the employer of choice in this business.
The company attracts the best people with great compensates bundled with a set of sterling benefits. In an industry survey conducted by Watson Wyatt, Branders emerged as the highest paying company in its field. It pays 20 percent higher than average for Philippine BPO workers. The company’s top sales representatives regularly make over
a million pesos a year. In the first three months of this year alone, Branders’ top sales rep made over P270,000.
Career development opportunities abound in the Branders workplace, a result not only of its leadership position, but most specially, out of the company culture that rewards performance and which brings out the best in its people.
Its frontline people, the sales professionals, deal on a regular basis with decision-makers of top US companies. Their job entails a considerable degree of confidence and the ability to communicate intelligently coupled with a fresh whiff of wit.
The company features excellent health benefits which extend to their dependents. Perks include free catered food daily, facebook stations in the office, movie nights and marvelous office parties.
“I was working in Cebu before Branders. What attracted me most was the company’s compensation. Pay here is really good. If you work really hard, you get a lot,” stated Edward Carey, a member of the sales team. “Work satisfaction also comes from being able to help our clients,” he said, adding that the company has improved his confidence. “With Branders, I get to sell to clients in the US. I’m learning about different cultures, different business styles.”
Carey, who has been with the company for five years, enthused about other perks. “We have free lunch – eat all you can, free flowing drinks – coffee, Milo, soft drinks. We can take our breaks anytime as long as they add to an hour and a half.”
On top of these, he said, at Branders, they are off on Saturdays and Sundays. “Our weekends are ours.”
Fusing Top Technology with Talent
Branders’ online business is anchored on a state of the art website using the patented “See before you buy” technology. Take a peep at this website now and see for yourself what this technology can do. Its pool of IT engineers constantly update on software innovations to ensure that its website is most customer-friendly and has the best features for lead and sales generation, order tracking and monitoring.
Alfred Palconit, of the Marketing team, worked as a home-based SEO specialist and web designer for 3 years before he joined Branders. “I’m glad I got into Branders. Here, I am given time to concentrate and improve my skills. I’m learning so much here at Branders where work is more stable than home-based work.”
Palconit cited a work environment that encourages independence. “Branders doesn’t believe in micro-managing. Employees are allowed to achieve their goals their own way.”
Reynaldo “Bo” Ingcoco, of IT group, said, “One can say that we have a relaxed corporate atmosphere, family-like. Everyone knows everyone here. At Branders, we are encouraged to bond with each other. We have a very positive environment. It’s so much fun here, like having a party everyday. We don’t feel too stressed even if we’re working really hard.”
“Branders gives their employees a chance to balance their work and their personal life. The company makes sure that we have enough personal time on weekends, time to spend with our families. The company is really family-oriented.”
Ingcoco said he also appreciates the “constant challenge to do well with all the new technology that comes in.”
In a company like Branders, the ideal workplace is realized with employees who are the stars. And much like the universe, there’s room for other stars, stated Dani Serrano who handles recruitment. It is delightful to note, Serrano added, that the first step to taking one’s stellar space at Branders is only a click away.