Branding. It’s one of those things too easily forgotten about – especially by startup tech companies.
Tech entrepreneurs, be they in the realms of SaaS or something like FinTech, very easily fall so blindly in love with their solution that they start to believe that it will simply sell itself.
And that may be true – to a certain extent. We have worked with many tech companies whose solution is so brilliant that significant business growth has been achieved through word-of-mouth alone. Strategic inbound marketing practices, of course, have been put into place to facilitate such word-of-mouth growth, but when a new piece of technology really is as good as it says on the tin, then the product alone can often be enough to get the company off the ground.
However, “getting off the ground” is just the first step. For a tech company to become a true success in an increasingly competitive and crowded world, then it needs a strategy to get it flying. And this is why branding for tech companies is so important.
What Is Branding?
This is the million-dollar question – for many don’t fully understand the definition.
Your tech company’s brand is not the name of your business. It’s not your logo, your tagline, or your colour scheme. True, all these things, when you have a strong brand strategy in place, become associated with your brand – but they do not form the brand itself.
No, your brand is the fusion of all the characteristics, ideals, standards and values that your organisation embodies in its very existence. Your brand is the personality of your business, and, crucially, it’s the way in which your customers perceive this personality. Indeed, your tech company’s brand is the way in which users experience your product and service at all levels.
And we do mean all levels – from your customer service to your social media posts to your commitment to fulfilling orders to the product itself. And this is exactly why companies that want to fly must focus on their branding as much as they do their product – for the product alone is not a brand.
Why Branding for Tech Companies Is Important
If there’s one thing about personality, we could say that it is decidedly human (leaving all the charms of dogs and parrots aside for the moment). And if there’s one thing about technology, then we could equally say that it is decidedly inhuman.
Branding for technology companies is all about injecting humanness into tech.
And this is important because, unlike other sectors where there tends to be plenty of occasion for human interaction, the modern technology company often exists almost entirely online, with users simply interacting with a website over the whole time that they are customers.
Tech companies, as such, can tend to forgo a true branding strategy in place of focussing on improving the technology on offer, delivering additional feature sets, or improving the price-performance of the product. These can all be deemed as short-term product marketing tactics, whereas brand building is a strategy that looks to the long-term, with the ultimate purpose of gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
Why is this so important for tech companies? Because of the very nature of the technology industry.
The fast-changing pace of technology means that, although your solution might very well be the best on the market today, tomorrow, another company could bring out something that’s even better – and your offering quickly becomes obsolete as a result. However, strong branding – and by this we mean strong branding of the company as opposed the actual product – is what is going to give your business a chance of long-term growth and survival.
Good branding adds real, tangible value to the technology solutions that you’re selling, and indeed, when all’s said and done, it’s the brand to which customers stay loyal, for, in all likelihood, there are plenty of other similar solutions to yours that they could be doing business with instead.
Building Your Tech Company’s Brand
Strong branding for tech companies is about forging an emotional connection with customers. So, first, ask yourself – what is the number one emotion that you want to evoke within your customers every time they engage with your brand (and that is to say, not just with your product, but when they read your blog, visit your website, phone customer services, retweet a tweet, or tell their friends about your company)?
When people think about Apple, for instance, they think quality and innovation. When they think about PayPal, they think convenience. For Google, it’s discovery. Facebook, the joy of connecting.
So, what’s yours? Aspiration? Fun? Trust?
This emotion is what you have to try and build into your brand. It’s what you want your customers to feel every time they think about your company or use your product.
And this means devising inbound marketing strategies that reinforce this crucial brand message every which way you can think of.
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Yes, it will start with your company’s name – and if you have to rename to put your message out there, then that’s what you have to do. The emotion will also be baked into your tagline, and the design of your logo.
But all of this is just the start. For, from here on in, you will have to be emphasising and re-emphasising your key brand values across all of your online marketing channels in order to inspire this number one emotion to form within all those who engage with your brand at every turn.
You will need to be creating emotionally engaging content (blogs, videos, infographics, eBooks), emotionally engaging social media messages, and every time an employee sends an email or picks up the phone to a customer, no matter what else is discussed, underlying every communication needs to be the reinforcement of the core brand message that will arouse that number one coveted emotion that you want to inspire.
Your technology business may be built on reams of complicated code, may be solving a crucial problem for users – but, when all’s said and done, if you want your technology business to take off towards dizzying new heights and maintain its altitude over the long-term, then your branding is just as important – perhaps even more important – than the technology itself. Inspire your customers to feel an emotional connection with your company, and they’ll be the wind beneath your wings as your company takes flight.