Tue, 19 Apr 2022 14:52:05 GMT
Following on from Notepad founder, Naeem Alvi-Assinder’s talk on 'Tech Branding and How to do it well' (watch it here if you missed it), we explored the key branding takeaways for tech brands that will instantly elevate them above the competition.
Positioning is paramount
It pays to spend time thinking about your positioning and there are two types of positioning important to consider; market positioning and brand positioning.
Market positioning is what your product is and how it works - from a functional perspective, it considers your target audiences, the key benefits and what makes you different from the competition. Brand positioning however, is the compelling promise you want to convey to win people’s hearts and minds, it’s the position you want to occupy from an emotional standpoint and the public perception you’re looking to shape with your brand.
It’s often worth reflecting on both to generate transformational change within your business.
From a market positioning point of view, how can you adapt your current business to be different from the rest of the market; be it through service, product offering, technology, process or other. Consider who your current business is for, where the revenue opportunity exists and which products will be in demand in the coming years, this all contributes to differentiating your business from your competitors.
But then also think about your brand positioning, how you want your brand to be viewed and perceived by audiences and the competition. What do you stand for and what emotions and feelings do you want your brand to be associated with? Apple - Simplicity, Intuitive, Creativity. Google - Simplicity, Curiosity and Trust. Understand the position you want to occupy in people’s minds and this, in turn, informs how business decisions are made and how your products, services, communications are shaped. Both market and brand positioning are of equal importance, we think brand is a hugely powerful place to play in - but then again we would say that, we’re biased :)
Balance brand and product
Where’s the split between brand and product focused messaging you might ask. Industry thought-leaders Binet & Field point out whilst sales activation delivers short term uplifts, brand building has the ability to deliver longer-term sales growth over time (see more here). So when we consider how brands should articulate themselves, we take the view that brands should lean into brand messaging more so than product and feature focused messaging, prioritizing brand building for the long-term, but both remain of vital importance.
Whilst it is and will always be important to communicate your product features, as well as the benefits for your customers. There’s a real need to balance this with messaging around your brand, what you stand for and how your customers feel. By this we mean focus on the emotional benefits one would get from using your product, maybe it’s a sense of ease, accessibility, peace of mind or a sense of control etc.
Here are a few examples of market leading tech brands nailing their proposition on their homepage, making it clear what they stand for and striking a good balance of brand and product messaging:
- Buffer: “Chart your path. Share your story” - Inviting brand message followed by direct product message which conveys their proposition.
- Intercom: “Build customers for life, with the Engagement OS” - Big brand message supported by product - communicating they are a broad platform focused on customer lifetime value and explaining how they deliver that with their product.
- Basecamp: “The All-In-One Toolkit for Working Remotely.” Leading with product messaging which conveys their proposition, followed by emotive, humanised language which speaks directly to target audiences: “Before Basecamp: Projects feel scattered, things slip, it’s tough to see where things stand, and people are stressed. After Basecamp: Everything’s organized in one place, you’re on top of things, progress is clear, and a sense of calm sets in.” Which speaks to the way they want their customers to feel after using them.
So when you’re looking at your website messaging, think about the key product features and benefits that customers will get from using you. But also remember to add in more emotive brand messaging around how you want your customers to feel as a result of using your product. This brand building will make you more distinctive and result in longer term growth.
Take inspiration from outside your market
As an agency, we’re constantly looking to push our clients' thinking and oftentimes this starts with looking outside their relative industry and taking learnings from further afield. There’s much to be said for market leaders and industry pioneers, they’re likely doing things completely differently - be it through product innovation, customer experience or communications.
We think music, alcohol and food brands are especially good at being lightyears ahead in terms of finding new ways to connect with audiences and communicate their brand (we love Oatly’s tone of voice and the fact their marketing team is known as the Department of Mind Control). The more objectively you can look at industries outside of your own to cherry-pick, take learnings and inspiration from - the better your brand stands to be. It’s easy to abide by what everyone else in your category is doing. It takes bravery to think and act differently. As progressive marketers it’s our duty to try things, to test and learn along the way, making sure we build on what works, and that means being bold and sometimes taking a leaf out of someone else’s book.
Reveal and Celtra are two examples of brands nailing their identity and positioning - they both exist in fields (CRM and Creative Automation respectively) with relatively indistinct and unmemorable brands. Both have taken inspiration from outside their industries to forge bold, brave and progressive brands that immediately put them in stark contrast to their respective markets, making them instantly more memorable and appealing. Next time, look outside your realm of influence to bring something new to your thinking.
This is part 1 of 2 into tech branding and how to do it well. Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, if your brand and marketing could do with a healthcheck then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Brand/Marketing Audit’ in the subject line and we’ll take a look and get back to you.
Jonny Keys is lead strategist at Notepad