The rapid rise in competition has hit the tech industry harder than in other sectors. Oddly, in spite of that, many technology firms still view branding as a luxury, especially those just starting out operations.
The change was indicated in the global Strategic branding within the High Technology firms study by Socratic Technologies and Nelson branding. The study highlighted that the number of firms implementing branding strategies dropped over a decade since 1998, a period of fast growth for the technology industry. The focus away from branding was most evident in small and medium-size tech companies.
While mature firms in the industry strike a balance as they clearly acknowledge the competitive advantages of undertaking branding initiatives (several of the world’s best brands are tech brands, including Apple, Microsoft, Intel, and IBM), tech startups often forego or dilute branding in favor of new feature product sets, improved price-performance, increased flexibility, and tactical evolution.
This short-term vision, however, results in a marketing emphasis, which in turn renders the marketing message obsolete as technology continually advances at a rapid pace. Startups need to recognize that competitive advantages based on speed give short-term returns and the need to balance product messaging with branding initiatives builds a sustainable and long-term advantage.
So how can you get started on branding, without spending a fortune? Here are some strategies that will augment your efforts of building a long-lasting impression for your product and company, as well as marketing your unique idea:
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Establish a voice
Done the right way, the voice of a brand allows a company to convey its values and qualities through the tone it uses. A brand like Google has established a voice that is simple and straightforward, and to some extent irreverent: do no evil is referenced as the mantra of its founders.
When the voice of a brand is consistent, it allows customers another means of recognizing the company and being reassured of expectations. Even the writing you use every day – in briefs, reports, memos, and emails – plays an important role in establishing the voice of your brand; all the internal and external communications of your startup must behave in line with the company’s image to establish a unique branding voice that the customer adapts to.
Take advantage of physical branding
The most successful tech companies in the world rely on physical branding strategies to establish a relationship with their customers. Apple’s iPad box packaging is a prime example that is true to the company’s brand. The packaging cover includes a life-size photo of the product inside: no sell. Since the product image is exactly what comes out of the box, it’s the perfect branding message.
Startups can also utilize custom boxes packaging to create a unique branding message. Custom shipping boxes can be customized with different logos, artwork, messaging, and designs, and companies can get the printing done based on their budgets.
Keep standards tangible
Follow a full set of guidelines when integrating branding into your company mix – including templates for your promotional material and strict guidelines to ensure a consistent feel and look. This is what Samsung does, creates a consistent outlook for its products in brick-and-mortar as well as online stores.
Consistency is important to get the brand recognized regardless of the channel its products and services are being sold through. Make sure everyone in your organization adheres to the consistency guidelines. Repeated inconsistency in voice, commitment, or colors may negate branding efforts.
Image Source: 360 Degrees Branding Concept