IQumulate: Building a sustainable business and brand

Rachel Bevans from The Healthy Brand Company interviewed Sophie Arkelidis, Head of Brand and Marketing at IQumulate Premium Funding, to understand how they’re building a sustainable business and brand. This case study was written for First5000, Australia’s professional network for mid-sized business

About IQumulate

IQumulate Premium Funding provides short term loans to business customers that covers the cost of their insurance premiums. This allows owners and management of those businesses to smooth out cash flow and / or invest those funds into other areas of their business.

How long have you been operating as a business and brand?

Whilst the origins of our business stem from 2004, we only recently celebrated IQumulate Premium Funding’s 1stbirthday in March this year. We previously operated as a joint venture between Macquarie Bank and Steadfast until Steadfast acquired 100% just over a year ago. As a consequence, we re-branded from Macquarie Pacific Funding, to IQumulate Premium Funding which was a big change for our people, our broker partners, our clients and obviously our shareholder.

What is your business’ overall attitude and behaviour towards a sustainability?

Sustainability is very dear to us. In fact, our mission is to build a sustainable business for the benefit of:

  • Our people and our careers
  • The brokers we service; and
  • The people and businesses who benefit from using our product

How do you see this changing in the future?

Being a relatively new brand, we have undertaken a huge program or work in relation to our brand identity, purpose, mission, vision and values. In times like these your brand will be remembered for not just what we did, but also how we did it. I see this as an opportunity to build and reinforce what we as a business want to be known for, and that values that we live by every day.

Last year, many industry bodies redefined the purpose of business to: “creating long term value for all stakeholders – customers and employees, partners and suppliers, communities and shareholders”. How well do you think your organisation is geared to deliver this?

Very well. Sustainability we want as part of our DNA and we have made some great progress in embedding some of the brand and values work I mentioned earlier.

I grow more and more confident in our ability to deliver to our promises throughout and post Covid-19. Our approach is to engage with our stakeholders, continue to build on the trust we have with each other and continually strive to exceed customer expectations.

How important are purpose and values to your organisation?

In the last 6 months we have invested considerable time and resources into getting our brand, purpose and values aligned and there has been a noticeable positive change in engagement as a result. It’s not easy to simply move away from a highly respected brand such as Macquarie and have the whole team relate to something new.

We re-launched the brand to our people just before COVID came to be as we hadn’t had the opportunity to formally launch it ahead of the shareholder transaction last year. As a consequence, our team hadn’t had the chance to come on the brand journey and truly relate to IQumulate and what it means to work here. The coming together of our whole business in February was a great few days and I believe we are very well positioned to fulfil our potential.

Whilst our purpose and values are very new, they have definitely held true through these challenging times. We have come together as a team to ensure that we continue to provide the products and services that so many small businesses rely on in a consistent and reliable manner. Those are our values at work each and every day.

How important is your brand to your organisation?

Essentially our business exists to enable people to protect, invest in and grow their business, by helping them to afford the right level of insurance cover to protect their assets and manage risks.

We help free up their cash-flow so they can invest in and grow other parts of their business.

Overall, our brand is extremely important both for our staff and our clients, especially since we re-branded 15 months ago.  Our brand sets the tone for our business and we needed to determine early on, who we were and what we stood for.

For our staff, our brand provides a unified approach on our vision, mission and values and a voice, which they use to educate our clients on our value proposition.

We have invested a lot of time with our staff to ensure they understand and are on board with what we are aiming to achieve as a business so that we are all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet” and have a clear direction in to the future.

For our broker clients, our brand represents exceptional service, driven by smart people and a strong culture who are always trying to find a solution that best supports our brokers and their clients.  It also represents ease of business through technology, limiting the workload for our broker clients and ensuring a seamless experience.

We talk a lot about choice as the true test of your customer advocacy – we want to be more than just an option. As an option you are available and “on the list”. Choices are a conscious decision in themselves. Choice makes us an active decision. We’re known, we’re quantified, we’re considered.

What are the aspects of your organisation that the brand drives?

 We all know that good corporate brand culture fundamentally drives financial performance and I believe that the strength of our brand has helped us ‘ride’ through this period.

How has Covid-19 affected your brand?

The pandemic hasn’t directly affected our brand as such, and we have continued to provide a high level of service to our broker clients.

Our business was already well equipped for all staff to continue their amazing work from the comfort of their homes and to continue servicing our broker clients. There is no doubt however, that we all miss our work colleagues and the fun banter that comes with being in the office.