2015 CEA Winner In Technology: Brand Assurance

By Ken Little, posted May 8, 2015
Jim Kittridge, founder/CEO | Year Founded: 2015 | No. of Employees: 1 (Photo by Mark Steelman)
Wilmington-based Brand Assurance started in January as a software platform that businesses can use to help manage their online reputation.

Its founder and CEO is Jim Kittridge, former vice president of marketing at Next Glass.

“Our goal is to help businesses build and protect their online reputation,” Kittridge said.

He has built a platform “that gives businesses clarity into how they are meeting customer expectations, insight into how to improve their business, the tools to develop better relationships with their customers, and helps build and protect their reputation online,” according to the company’s nomination in the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards.

So far, Brand Assurance has beta tested its software with 13 companies and hopes to launch it publicly by the end of the summer – “hopefully August,” Kittridge said.

It will be offered as a monthly subscription service plan to customers.

The initial focus of Brand Assurance is on helping hotels, apartments and medical practices, but the company will also work to diversify its clientele, Kittridge said.

“Once we saturate a market, it would make sense to expand not only geographically but also continue expanding to other types of businesses,” Kittridge said. “There is no reason our platform couldn’t be used to help a local mechanic build his reputation online. We’re choosing to target larger businesses who have an expressed need for our solution initially.”

Many businesses depend on solid reputations to maintain their income.

“In today’s technology-driven economy, a business’s reputation is as important as ever because it’s now hosted on the Internet on websites like Google and Yelp. Unfortunately, many businesses have good reputations with their customers, but their reputation online, where hundreds of millions of people go to every month, is quite poor,” the nomination stated.

Kittridge said he is optimistic there will be a robust market for the company’s services.

“We will be helping over 1,000 business locations build their online reputation, gain insight into how they are meeting customer expectations and showing them how they can improve their operations in a meaningful way by the end of 2016,” he projected.

Kittridge is the only current full-time employee of Brand Assurance, but that could soon change as demand for its services grows.

“If I were a betting man, I’d say we would be in 200 locations by the end of our first year and over 10,000 by the end of five years. We’re talking with a few companies that could each put us over our one-year goal on their own account,” Kittridge said.

Wilmington is the perfect location to build the company, he said.

“Our software can work on a national scale,” Kittridge said. “Wilmington is the place we call home, and we are staying here to build our company and help Wilmington’s growing high-tech community.”

For more info about the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards, click here.
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