A new brand of corporate culture

(Published April 19, 2010)

MANILA, Philippines – 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.

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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 custom t-shirts
or caps, writing instruments, calendars and 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.

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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.

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.

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.

Source: The Philippine Star

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