According to president Michael Vasquez, interactive marketing is all about integration. The key is not to treat your offline and online marketing as different strategies. 'They have to be integrated, 'says Vasquez. 'The web is really another channel, another tool,...

According to president Michael Vasquez, interactive marketing is all about integration. The key is not to treat your offline and online marketing as different strategies. ‘They have to be integrated, ‘says Vasquez. ‘The web is really another channel, another tool, and integrating a vision into a single business strategy is really what it’s all about.’

How does that philosophy translate into how does business? ‘We describe ourselves as creators, builders and managers of e-business solutions,’ says Vasquez. ‘There’s a phrase that we use – ESP – Enterprise Solutions Provider, because that’s really what its about for us. It’s not just about marketing communications. It’s really about how do we provide Internet and interactive end-to-end solutions across the enterprise. It may be in e- commerce; it may be online branding, in HR or operations. It’s really about creating efficiencies and effectiveness in the enterprise regardless of category or area. The Internet is designed to bring new efficiencies to business. That’s what we believe in.’ was born of the merger nearly two years ago, of Power of 2 Inc., owned by multi-media players, and now Executive VP’s, Mike Duhamel and Hong Dang, and Infinity marketing communications, owned by Michael Vasquez whose advertising agency background includes senior executive management roles at Ian Roberts Advertising and Dentsu Communications (DCC), and the fourth partner is’s chairman Robin Cornwell, an investment banker.

Michael Vasquez says he saw the industry shifting from a mass- market approach to one of personalization and customization. ‘Not only was one-on-one relationship marketing desirable, but it was also technologically possible and financially feasible,’ he says. ‘For the first time, technology was putting the power back into the hands of the consumer, and the consumer was deciding when and how they choose to interact and retrieve information. There was an opportunity for a new company that would understand all this, that would be able to help clients deal with change and help build personal relationships with their customers and other stakeholders. So is a new kind of company, blending great strategy and great marketing with technology.

It’s also about rebelling against the status quo, about not doing things in the same old way. And the change in the market inspired Rebellium’s motto: ‘Agents of change for the digital economy.’ We help clients manage and plan for change,’ says Vasquez.

But not all clients are the same distance down that road. The majority have just turned the corner by creating level one information-based web sites, a presence on the web, or what Vasquez calls a ‘cyber- placeholder.’

Further along, are clients who are starting to integrate the Internet into their core business. These are the companies exploring e-business, with more personalized sites some utilizing ‘push technology’, they recognize a user’s profile and deliver things like automated, personalized e-mail and individualized product or service offerings.

In the home stretch are companies who are pioneering the idea of changing their actual business model; a place Vasquez expects most businesses to be within three years. ‘They are not just changing the way they do business, but transforming the model itself,’ he says. He sites the major automotive makers who are developing B2B Portals and Private Networks streamlining and creating new efficiencies for supply chain management.

‘We are helping clients with this migration, moving them from level one to level three and beyond,’ says Vasquez. will still help clients create impactful and innovative corporate web sites, but their core competencies is clearly e-business and being an end-to-end solutions provider.

How does Rebellium give clients a vision of the future that they can see? It all starts with an assessment tool called, DNA (digital needs assessment) ‘It gets clients to understand where they’re at with respect to the planning process and it goes across marketing, branding and technology’ says Vasquez. ‘Our solutions focus on three fundamental areas; providing strategic insight and planning, creating impactful design and effective deployment.’

‘We have developed a reputation for consistently delivering superior branding, intuitive GUI (graphic user interface) and smart navigation and functionality,’ adds Vasquez. ‘We’re very strong in the front end of web development, but our back end capability is equally impressive. Sometimes it’s what we do on the back end that makes the sites run as smoothly as they do.’

Clients are able to tap into and access solutions from a wealth of creative and technical resources. ‘Lots of times we bring a solution to the table that they wouldn’t have thought of, ‘ says Mike Duhamel. ‘They usually come in the door for one thing and find out that we do much more. ‘ Clearnet has been with Rebellium for a total of almost 4 years (they began their association with Power of 2) and is one of their many happy and high profile clients. ‘We are now their Internet agency of record,’ says Duhamel. has successfully translated Clearnet’s brand character to the web, created four versions of the Clearnet site, designed their web store and have worked on Clearnet’s Intranet.

Rebellium’s Clearnet work has also won awards. The ‘Award of Excellence’ was handed to Clearnet Communications in 1999 by the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA); the ‘Oscars of the IT world’, in the category of Electronic Commerce, for the Clearnet web store.

What did they say to win Clearnet over? ‘I don’t think it was in the talk, but in the walk, ‘ says Duhamel. The new design developed for the 1997 re-launch demonstrated that Rebellium not only understood what the Clearnet brand was all about, but also how to integrate it. also creates back end solutions such as building HR automation modules for Canon and Bata. They have also designed Bata’s site and are working on a Global portal for them as well. Also in the works is a pilot project for pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. will be creating a web application for a sophisticated database-driven solution which is currently 100% paper-based.

‘The reason we won this opportunity, ‘ says Duhamel, ‘was because our solution was a totally personalized one with a detailed drill down. We accomplished this by careful analysis of the program and thinking through to the optimum solution. It was exactly what they were looking for.’ gets into the problem and its solution almost instinctively, and clients are drawn to the magic. But it’s really more a combination of knowledge, skill and hard work. ‘ We get into the problem, we try to understand it, we analyze it all the way through,’ says Vasquez. And Duhamel adds, ‘For us it is second nature.’

You can see it in their client list, with names like Clearnet, Canon, Bata, AstraZeneca, PageNet, the Ontario Government, and software companies like AOL Canada and ePod and Rebellium is keeping an eye to the future by working on wireless applications for clients such as Clearnet and PageNet by partnering with a major wireless vendor.

It’s not surprising that the company was profitable in its first year and expects to double and maybe triple its staff in its second year. ‘We’ve done a lot of groundwork to springboard into our next phase, ‘ says Duhamel. Adds Vasquez, ‘We were very careful in terms of how we want to structure and build the company. We’re looking for clients who desire to integrate the web into their business strategy. We’re not looking for a quick hit, we’re looking for long term relationships.’

Also in this sponsored supplement:

- Overview p.E1

- Armantus p.E2

- BAM Solutions p.E3

- Modem Media p.E5

- Vickers & Benson Direct + Interactive p.E5

- MacLaren McCann Interactive p.E6

- MarchFIRST p.E8

- Digital@JWT p.E9

- Devlin Applied Design p.E12