How Brand Guarde’s Joe Kovacs Future-Proofed His Business Model


When Joe Kovacs founded Brand Guarde a few years ago, he didn’t have much competition in the space. But that didn’t stop him from thinking ahead and creating a resilient business model. As the name suggests, Brand Guarde protects their clients’ brands — and revenue — from being diluted by unauthorized resellers, most commonly on Amazon’s marketplace.

But in a world still dominated by COVID-19’s long shadow, e-commerce is only growing — by a whopping 44% in 2020 in the United States alone. The resale market is taking off, and businesses need solutions. With competitors infringing on his turf, Kovacs focused on observing the market, listening to client needs and investing in a marketing strategy.

To protect his brand from competitors, Kovacs prioritized future-proofing his business model. Here’s how.

Anticipate the Market

Brand Guarde’s initial offerings included e-commerce consulting, identifying unauthorized resellers online and communicating with them on behalf of their clients. But something was still missing: They needed to monitor several marketplaces 24/7. “We tried utilizing other people’s software in the beginning to fill that need, but none of it worked for what we needed it for or how we wanted it to,” Kovacs says. “So we decided, let’s just go build it.”

Kovacs and his team already had a client base and high enough profit margins from the service side that they could fund their software’s development with little risk. And as the primary users, they knew precisely what they wanted from the software. Kovacs recognized the need for a software component if he wanted his business to remain viable in the future, so his decision to build it in-house wasn’t a hard one, he says.

Cultivate Client Relationships

Kovacs’ key differentiator from his competition, he says, is his closeness with his client base. He purposely stays involved in sales calls to gain better insight into customer problems — even problems they aren’t yet aware of themselves. “That’s where your innovation needs to come from — hearing the evolving needs of the marketplace and your customer,” Kovacs says. “If you’re trying to solve a problem nobody has, nobody’s going to pay for that solution.”

Take the time to learn about your clients’ businesses, he suggests. You can become a partner in helping them achieve their objectives. And by earning their trust, Kovacs says, he’s even learned what his clients dislike about his competitors — information they wouldn’t volunteer to someone they didn’t perceive as a trusted solution to their problems.

Invest in Helpful Content

In the years since Brand Guarde kicked off, Kovacs has realized the value of having a unified marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter how effective your product is, he says, if people don’t know it’s out there. “I’m seeing that need to continue to evolve not just into a tech company but into, essentially, a marketing company that also happens to provide a service and technology,” Kovacs says.

He hired sales representatives and dabbled in content from the company’s inception, but he says the results weren’t cohesive without someone owning it and putting a strategy behind those efforts. Investing in content that provides value and drives brand awareness is a long-term investment, he says, but one that’s well worth it.

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