Technology BrandingBy Tom Dougherty
3 July 2014
Rebranding tech. Tech Companies Often Lose Sight
Rebranding tech begins with persuasion. Some branding firms and companies believe that branding is all about changing a logo. Or changing a name, website, or collateral material.
However, developing brand strategies for tech companies that are designed to significantly grow market share requires more. Our strategists must dig deeply into the business model as well as other marketing disciplines.
Clients come to us because they want to win. By doing more than changing their corporate appearance.
It is our pledge that we will find a way for them to do exactly that. (Download a PDF on technology branding here.)
This means that everything MUST be on the table in branding tech and technologies. Sacred cows are the enemy of stealing market share. They represent a passion for the past and an unwillingness to seize the present. Let alone the future.
Rebranding tech. Case in point.
Let’s start with an example outside the industry, and from our own experience. A major manufacturer of box fans relied solely on distribution for sales. Rather than strategic execution of their brand, it only used advertisements on the very boxes shipped for marketing. We were told in no uncertain terms that “Made in the America” was to remain the prominent feature of those boxes.
After conducting a nationwide, quantitative research study, the findings indicated that such a claim “Made in America” was of major importance to only 3% of their target market. And of minor importance to an additional 5%.
For 92% of their market, the country of manufacturing origin did not factor at all in their purchase decisions.
So, a box emblazoned with an American flag and festooned with “Made in America” did not influence the preference equation. Yet the message took up 80% of the real estate on the box.
It was a sacred cow important only to the manufacturer. (By the way, they fired us.)
This represents a classic case of an inside-out view of the marketplace.
The research clearly showed that this sacred cow was only sacred to those executives with that view.
The company continued their strategy of building their brand through distribution and competing solely by being economy priced. Their own sacred cow is aggressively feeding on their own margins and ultimate success.
Today, the box says “Made in China.”
The goal of rebranding tech: Don’t be process driven
The technology sector has its own sacred cows feeding on its potential success. Technology companies are in love with the technology. They believe that technology can and should drive all preference and purchase decisions. Tech companies develop sacred cows at an alarming rate. This is often an alarming process driven attitude.
Tech companies are in love with process. So much so, that love eventually becomes more important to the company than the purpose it serves.
A story about process
One is about a man in 1900 that had an idea. He noticed carpenters and builders struggling with hand drills. So, he thought it would be an amazing invention to connect an electric motor to a hand drill.
So, he was looking to create the world’s first electric drill. In five years, he demonstrated a rather compact (by the day’s standards) working model. New technology in tow, he went to market.
It is easy to imagine that his invention changed the world of construction.
If you were told his name was Mr. Black or Mr. Decker, you would not be surprised.
However, his name is lost in history and he died a poor man.
He was never able to sell his invention to any satisfaction. Because he thought he was selling drills (a process). When in fact all he was ever selling was holes (purpose).
This has resonance in rebranding tech
Another story, even more telling, takes place in a railroad office at about the same time.
A young kid, after seeing an airplane flying overhead (an unusual sight in those days), burst into his boss’s office. And he pointed through the window to the airplane and exclaimed…”Boss, Boss… we need to get some of those!”
His boss puts down his cigar and replies, “Get out of here kid. We’re a railroad” (Process).
Had he recognized that his business was in fact a fulfiller of PURPOSE (transportation), we might be flying internationally today with B&O Airlines.
You are more than a technology
Understanding the difference between process, purpose (see our explanation of the Preceptive Behavioral Model) and, more importantly, precept. It is the key to success in the technology sector.
The marketplace is littered with companies so in love with the technology that they follow the process into the grave.
AB Dick saw themselves as a mimeograph company. And therefore missed the boat on the digital revolution. (The company have since filed for bankruptcy and assets were sold off.) And KODAK thought it was a film company.
Apple computer languished for years as a computer company. Only when it saw the brand as much more than computers was it able to bring us the iPod and the iPhone.
While your process or technology might be the cornerstone of your business model, tour customer never buys process. They buy more efficient solutions to their purposes. Remember this when branding tech.
But consider that, even though the relationship between process and purpose is powerful, it is dwarfed by the power of the relationship between their purposes and their precepts.
Rebranding tech using the laws of physics
Think about precepts like voids, holes if you will.
These holes seek to be filled with any purpose that satiates them.
In many ways, they are small areas of vacuum that not only exist in the market but also, because they are a vacuum, are drawn to solutions or draw solutions to themselves.
What your customers believe to be true in their lives controls the purposes that they seek to fulfill. It is these precepts that form the foundation of a brand that steals share.
Identifying those beliefs in your brand communications attracts customers and creates a covetous relationship. There needs to be a relationship between them and your brand.
It protects and grows your margins. And promises a preference over your competition.
Not because your process is better but because your brand is stronger.
Couple that with a better process and you have the strongest of combinations and a brand built to steal market share.