Big interview – Suzanna Alsayed
Security News Desk catches up with IFSEC Global’s #2 Top Influencer in Security & Fire, Suzanna Alsayed, Founder of security rebranding agency, Evolutz. Suzanna Alsayed is an emergency management and security specialist in Toronto, Canada. Suzanna was named #2 in the IFSEC Global “Top Influencers in Security & Fire” 2020 “Commercial Security Association Figures/Academics/Thought Leaders” category.
With over 8 years of diverse experience in various roles within the public and private sector and in facilitating multi-disciplinary projects, she took her expertise and founded Evolutz in 2020. Evolutz is an independent brand, design, copywriting and website development agency with the aim of elevating and redeveloping the security industry and its branding standards to help professionals stay ahead of the curve. Security Buyer catches up exclusively with Suzanna to find out how her vision can change the industry. What advice would you give to security companies wanting to excel in the market?
My advice is to always move with a strategy. There are many approaches and resources that a security company can take to differentiate themselves in the market. When a security company is evaluating its values, mission and goals, it needs to ask the following questions during the process:
- How does the company want its target audience to view them?
What does the company stand for? What is thecompany’s unique value proposition? What is the story and motivation behind the company?
What is your “why”?
- What sets your company apart from the competition? What is your differentiator?
- What is your goal with the company? How do you see your company growing and evolving one, two, three years from now?
My advice is to develop a company brand that spikes the interest and curiosity of the customer.
A company brand that will encourage the client to engage with you and hire you as their security provider. Ultimately, to create a brand that will promote trustworthy expertise and experience. What is the difference between “branding” and “brand management”?
In simple terms, “branding” is the art of creation and “brand management” is the art of management. However, the important thing to keep in mind when thinking about branding, is that having a solid and consistent brand and management strategy gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the exact value that you can bring to the table. It is about sharing your story, your expertise, and the knowledge that you have collected along the way to become the person or organisation that you are today.
We never get a second opportunity to make a first impression. This is why it is crucial to utilise all the resources we have at our disposal in order to put the best version of ourselves forward. For an industry that is so technologically evolved, we seem to be lacking digital awareness, why do you think this is? I believe our industry is focused on delivering a product and/or service.
We are the brains behind the operation and the person behind the curtain (so to speak) running the show. We are not used to being put in the spotlight and getting recognition. We are used to accomplishing a mission and moving on to the next problem.
The industry has recently become more digitally conscious, especially during COVID-19. It has pushed us to acknowledge our blindspots and weaknesses relative to other industries and market players better prepared to adapt to change. Rebranding is a niche field, especially in security, how did you end up where you are today?
I was always into writing, graphics and aesthetics. I discovered how powerful social media, content creation, and storytelling can be in 2017. For years, I was doing volunteer work for security companies and professionals.
However, after a short intervention by some of my closest friends and mentors, I felt that I needed to pursue this seriously, and that I had a shot at making this a “thing”. I thought about it for a few weeks and decided to do it. I was arguably tackling unchartered territory within the security industry.
If I pursued it, I would be challenging the status quo with my content and concept. But what was the worst thing that would happen? I would fail.
So what? If I did, I would’ve just picked myself up and continued. I always rationalised this idea that “yes you might fail, but what if you fly!” So, the journey of founding Evolutz began at the end of July 2020.
The word Evolutz, stems from the Russian word Evolutzia, which means evolution. I fell in love with it immediately. Also, the quote about flying is what inspired our bird-shaped logo.
Now, fast forwarding to 2021, Evolutz has recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, closed over 15 projects, onboarded several unique clients from the fields of guard management, cybersecurity, and security consulting and now we are expanding our target audience to real estate, construction, and law firms. What was it like being named #2 in the IFSEC Global Top Influencers in Security & Fire 2020? It was and is an absolute honour to have been named #2 in the IFSEC Global Top Influencers in Security & Fire in 2020.
I did not expect it at all. It is a very humbling feeling, and reassurance in a way for the work that I am trying to do for the industry. Being a key woman in the industry, why do you think it is important to advance equality in security?
As someone that entered the security industry only a few years ago, I can say that I have observed various dynamics. I believe that in order to advance equality in security, we need to take the time to understand psychology and culture, in order to comprehend where one might be approaching you from. Everyone has a background story that pushes them to behave in a particular way.
If they are behaving poorly with you, it might be the result of some personal strife or struggles, and you happen to be right in front of them when they lose their temper. In many cultures, mental health and sharing “problems” is not encouraged or is considered taboo, or even a “weakness”. Thus, once you understand that gap, you get better at identifying problems before they spiral out of control.
There are almost always ways to successfully approach and communicate with people, even if they are very stressed out or just plain unpleasant. It just requires paying attention to their immediate actions, body language, tone, etc. In the end, you just want to understand their state of mind.
Never make assumptions and take your time to observe and act when the moment is right. Anything else to note? If you are planning on starting to develop your brand, whether it be your personal and/or company brand, understand that these things take a lot of time, resources, and eventually capital to realise your vision.
It does not occur overnight. It will take months, or even years. If you do not see results immediately, do not give up or think that “it is not for you”.
In my experience, discipline, consistency, and grit outmatch everything else. If you are planning on embarking on this branding journey, please do not hesitate to contact Evolutz or myself directly through my LinkedIn pages or the Evolutz website. I’m here to help.
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Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Security Portfolio
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