Five Qs: Matt Wise of HelloWorld (Formerly ePrize)


Last week, Pleasant Ridge-based ePrize announced the company — whose clients include Coca-Cola and Microsoft  — has changed its name to HelloWorld. DBusiness Daily News spoke with CEO Matt Wise about the name change and transitioning from a company that once focused on e-promotions to offering a software platform for brands to connect with consumers through contests, mobile messaging, and live event engagement.

1. DDN: How did HelloWorld come about?

MW: The name actually came second. A big change that we saw coming was the advent of smartphones and a move of consumers off of the desktop PC, where we had done all of our work for 10 years, and into handheld devices and the physical world. We started to acquire companies and build technology so that we could pivot our business so it wasn’t just a promotions company, but a platform to enable what we call rich engagement, those complex relationships between consumers and brands that generally require the consumer to provide information and engage the brand, (beyond) just looking at something or just clicking on an app.

I think a brand name reflects the promise that you give, the services that you give to your clients. And the first thing that we did was change those services, change that promise to our clients. And then we came up with a brand name to match that new position. 

2. DDN: What is the reaction to the name change?

MW: I think the internal team was hoping for a name change — something that better represented us — so I think we’ll have very little resistance internally. It will definitely take a while, but I’m hoping by the end of the year, (the public) will stop stumbling (over the new name).

3. DDN: What are you working on right now?

MW: We’re focusing on continuing to raise the level of play in this new field and to get out in front of the other players in (terms of offering) rich engagement. I think, at the moment, most of the companies who work in rich engagement are what we would call point solutions. They only do promotions, they only do loyalty, they only do mobile CRM (Customer Relationship Management). And we think that’s a dying model, Most of our clients want a seamless interaction. They want to have all of the tools at their disposal on one platform.

There’s some wonderful stuff we’ve done with a chain of smoothie shops called Tropical Smoothie. They send out text messages offering discounts, and they’re doing a wonderful job of timing those communications: at 10 or 11 in the morning, when you’re just starting to get hungry, or 2 or 3 in the afternoon when you want a snack. Managing those and then dropping them into retail from a digital execution are emblematic examples of our platform at work.

4. DDN: What clients are you particularly excited about this year?

MW: Bagger Dave’s is a local restaurant chain that’s doing some really innovative stuff.  They’re at the cutting edge of what you can do with mobile and in-venue in retail executions. Mellow Mushroom, which is an East Coast-based pizza bakery, is also doing some very interesting things with mobile and in-store experiences. They’re both players who are jumping on some of the more fun, engaging elements, which quite frankly weren’t possible 24 months ago because not enough people had smartphones. Those are the (clients) we enjoy the most, because they’re they’re the ones that can leverage our platform to the greatest degree. 

5. DDN: Do you foresee any expansion in 2014?

MW: Not at the moment. I think we’ve got a good footprint across the United States. We do business in 44 other countries, but we haven’t yet opened up any offices. We’ll continue to look at that as a potential office expansion, but that’s all we have on the radar at the moment.

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