Tech companies need branding as much as Coca-Cola, Toyota, McDonald’s, and Budweiser. The fact that you are a tech company doesn’t diminish your need to create an identity that is unique, memorable, and consistent across the entirety of your corporate landscape.
The Forbes 2019 World’s Most Valuable Brands lists Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook in the top five positions. Each one is immediately recognizable because of its branding strategy. Samsung ranks #7, Intel #13, followed by Cisco, Oracle, and IBM to round out the top 20. If you close your eyes, you can easily envision the unique branding of each of these tech giants.
To successfully compete in the marketplace takes more than product marketing and management. You may have the best product ever invented, but that doesn’t guarantee that your company will be successful. First, you need a branding strategy.
The Tech Company Marketplace is Crowded
If you are a tech company, branding may be even more imperative because:
- The technology market is filled with thousands of tech vendors. So how do you leap out from the crowd? How do you create your niche and become the tech company of choice? Branding.
- Your product is often-times innovative and very complex. Your brand will help to make your product digestible and selectable.
You need branding whether you are a B2B or B2C company. Consumers in both lanes are drawn to familiar brands that they trust.
Why do Tech Companies Need Branding?
What is one of the most successful technology companies today…Apple, right? Immediately Apple’s brand comes to mind. It stands out from the competition and has secured a loyal following despite the great push from Microsoft and other technology companies.
Your brand is your most important asset. It is what distinguishes you from the competition. Your brand brings customers to you and not to your competitors. A Neilson study found that 59% of customers prefer to purchase a product from a brand they know.
“Design is the silent ambassador of your brand.” Paul Rand
Here’s Another Reason Tech Companies Need Branding
The ad space today is insane. Consumers are exposed to advertising at every touchpoint in their lives, including social media, TV and radio, print, billboards, and commercial signage (think subways and buses). As they journey throughout the day, they interact with a continuous montage of brands seeking to inculcate trust and familiarity.
What is Branding?
Branding is not only your logo or tagline, although these are important elements of your brand that should remain consistent throughout all the content you produce. Likewise, your brand is more than your colors and fonts, although these are also important components that must be consistent throughout your branding strategy.
A Brand is Visual
Your brand is a visual representation of your company’s essence: your vision, mission, and values. It will connect you to your customers, employees, investors, clients, and other stakeholders.
Your brand is also your voice, your way of expressing yourself, how you communicate with customers, media, and industry peers. It should reflect your values and mission and connect emotionally with your consumers.
What They Say About You Behind Your Back
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, defined it this way: “a brand is what they say about you when you’re not in the room.” It’s how you connect with your consumer audience and create loyalty.
There is no doubt, tech companies need branding!
Your Brand Goes Everywhere
Once you have developed your brand, it becomes the essence of the conversation you have through all of your communication channels. This includes your website content, written communications with stakeholders, such as email and press releases, e-books, white papers, your automated office greeting system, customer service, and social media content.
Your brand must be incorporated into all the spheres in which you operate, including:
- Your website and blog
- Social media channels
- Email marketing materials
- Online advertising
- Packaging, signage, and printed materials
- Print Ads
- Sales & customer service portals
A 2017 study conducted by Ocean Tomo, an intellectual capital firm, found that 84% of the value of S&P 500 companies was in intangible assets. In addition, ocean Tomo estimated that one-quarter of that value was attributable to the companies’ brands.
The Branding Process: The 7 Essentials
Before you can create your company brand (or rebrand), you need to undertake these critical steps:
- Create or review your vision statement.
Your vision gives birth to your brand. You first need to establish why you exist in this world and what impact you hope to make on it? If you are clear about your vision, which by the way, is not bound by limits like your mission statement, then you can easily articulate your mission statement, goals, and objectives. These become the guiding components of your branding strategy.
2. Write (or review) your mission statement.
From the process of visioning, you can now write your mission statement. If you are rebranding, is your mission the same? Has it evolved or shifted entirely?
3. Define your company’s core values.
Consumers are very interested in knowing about the core values of the companies they interact with. In fact, it is often the defining quality upon which they decide whether to make a purchase. What core values do you want to project to the world? What do you believe in? What is important to you? How do you want to be remembered?
4. Who is your target audience?
Before you can design a brand, you need to know who you want to reach? What resonates with them? What are their behaviors and interests? What are the aspects of their lifestyle? For example, if you are a tech company selling to a business, you need to know the company’s vision, mission, values, needs, and core objectives.
5. How are you different from the competition?
What makes you unique? To answer these questions, you first need to know who your competitors are and what they are doing. Do some opposition research. What has worked for them? What were their failures? Identify their weaknesses and use them to differentiate your brand from them.
6. What is the key message you want to convey? In other words, what are your selling points?
Here are some examples from the world’s leading technology companies:
Microsoft Business: to empower businesses to take advantage of a rapidly-developing world of digital technology.
Google: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
AT&T: Live true. Think big. Pursue excellence. Inspire imagination.
7. Your Brand Logo and Tagline
Your logo and colors should reflect your personality. It’s a visual representation of your vision and mission. Your logo should be unique and immediately recognizable by your consumers.
Your tagline or logo should create a permanent connection between the mind of the consumer and your product. For instance, if you see or hear ”Just Do It,” you immediately think of Nike. What about, “You’re in good hands?” Allstate right?
Designing your brand logo and tagline is a methodical process. You can do it in-house, but it’s better to use professionals who know how to integrate your personality into a logo design that will resonate with your target audience.
If you haven’t embarked on a branding strategy, I hope this article inspires you to get started on one.
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