The challenge: Creating a new global export success story from New Zealand

Geoff Letcher is the Director of Quadbeam Technologies, an innovative New Zealand company that makes industrial monitoring technology. Their sensors help keep an eye on suspended solids and turbidity in dairy, food and beverage, and mining sectors all over the world. But Geoff’s also a passionate sailor, and when he heard about the terrible damage caused by sediment run-off into waterways, he was struck by a thought. What if Quadbeam’s cutting-edge technology could be applied to environmental monitoring? This was a new proposition for Quadbeam.

Resonance came into the picture after Geoff and his team had done some prototyping and developed a new water sensor that’s tougher, more accurate, and more reliable than the current alternatives. But Geoff had a problem. He thought there was a market for the sensor, but he wasn’t sure—and if there was, he didn’t know how to approach it. That’s when he called Scott Pilkington, Resonance’s Managing Director.

How Resonance helped strategically: Identifying demand and the needs of a totally new market

Geoff asked us to help create a full strategy for this new technology, and Scott swung into action. Over the years, he’s developed tried-and-tested methodology that he put to work straight away—from market segmentation, to value proposition, to moat. Workshopping these methodologies with Geoff created a strong foundation for the next phase of the project alongside Alex Penk—research interviews with a wide range of potential customers and stakeholders, followed by international desktop research to uncover new insights and trends.

Around the same time, Geoff had been joined by Emma Ford, Quadbeam’s Sales Manager, and in mid-2020 they sat down with Scott and Alex to receive the strategy recommendations. “This really gave us the confidence to move ahead,” says Geoff. Because Quadbeam had “no feeling” for the market, “we needed that high-level strategic analysis and direction.” Resonance’s advice spanned a wide range of topics, from product innovation strategies to take advantage of the big trends shaping environmental monitoring in New Zealand and internationally, to business models and pricing models, to the best way to achieve an immediate product marketing launch. Geoff said that in the days following the strategy presentation, “I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, because it gave me so much to think about.” The research, he said, didn’t just bring clarity to what they’d been thinking about, but also challenged them on new topics they hadn’t previously considered.

“I was so excited I couldn’t sleep, because it gave me so much to think about.”

Geoff Letcher

How Resonance helped creatively: Helping to name and bring a completely new brand to life

Geoff and Emma accepted our recommendation to create a completely new brand, pressed the go button, and we got cracking on creative implementation.

Dave Reid, Alex, and Scott started by crafting a new name, Phathom. Geoff and Emma liked the play on ‘fathom’, because the sensors bring deep understanding and the word means both to measure a depth of water and to understand a complicated problem.

We carried on, leveraging the knowledge generated in the strategy phase and working with Geoff and Emma to bring Phathom to life—creating the logo, taglines, colour palettes, copywriting, marketing collateral, website design, launch plans and social media marketing. Dave even got hands-on with the sensors, getting behind the camera for a photoshoot and drone photography to create original images to tell the Phathom story.

The result, insight-driven creative execution

So, as is typical of most of Resonance’s projects, this assignment spanned strategy to creative execution. We’re told it’s pretty rare for consultants to bring together the science of strategy and the art of creative—at least, it’s rare to do it well—but Geoff loved the results. “The depth of understanding of us as a business, the market, the product, and the drive by Resonance to really understand that and convert that into the creative side was pretty special,” he says. “They really listened to us and asked lots of questions. I’ve never been super impressed with creative in the past, but this was totally the opposite experience.”

Emma agrees, explaining that, “the biggest issue going to market was being able to explain what our technology does in a simple, clear and concise way.” Through copywriting and visual imagination, Resonance was able “to grasp the technical detail and also create something everyone can understand,” says Geoff.

Geoff and Emma are confident that they’ve got a great platform to take Phathom global, and they’ve enjoyed working with Resonance who kept the project moving rapidly even through COVID-19 lockdowns. “It’s big company, high-end quality from a smaller, quick, nimble organisation,” says Geoff. “They’re just nice guys to deal with,” adds Emma, “you can be super comfortable reaching out and knowing there’ll be a response and it’ll be helpful.”

We’ve had a lot of fun working with Geoff and Emma, and we’re excited to be part of Phathom’s journey as it becomes another amazing Kiwi business taking on the world!

“It’s big company, high-end quality from a smaller, quick, nimble organisation,”.

Geoff Letcher, Owner and Managing Director

“The depth of understanding of us as a business, the market, the product, and the drive by Resonance to really understand that and convert that into the creative side was pretty special”.

Geoff Letcher, Owner and Managing Director