Image: Dreamstime, edited. Quote: Linda Holliday

Creative Matters: How To Become A Premium Tech Brand

Why most tech start-ups fail and some don’t. Here’s the missing link for winning the race

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As a strategic branding and design firm we work a lot with tech start-ups. In fact, we’ve helped hundreds to launch a new brand. In the process several patterns have emerged, and a few questions that come up all the time: The questions about branding and marketing. How relevant it is for an emerging company, that might be cash strapped and more interested in finding investors and seed money. What’s more important: Investing into branding over marketing? Or vice versa?

Unless the word marketing is part of your job title, you may be tempted to stop reading now. “Branding? We have a vendor for that,” you might say. Or “Our branding is right on track — we got ourselves a shiny new logo, and we’re running an ad. So what?”

If these reactions sound familiar, its very likely that you are leaving a lot on the table. Rethinking your brand strategy is a worthwhile exercise for your company to find out how to raise awareness, rise to the top and — sell more.

From Commodity To Premium Brand

As a small business owner or manager, you face the challenge of branding your company each time you meet a new prospect or potential partner. And it doesn’t matter if your business is consulting, or selling professional services or software, if you are launching a new business then the importance of branding is exponentially higher. Keep in mind, if you offer a service or a product, you start out as a commodity, a product with features and functions and some benefits attached. That’s the baseline.

Being a commodity is fine if you’re selling large quantities of a product. A lot of money is being made in that segment. The only problem with commodities is, since the products are often very generic with no real personality, it’s the price point alone that plays a deciding role in a competitive environment. And this often leads to a deadly downward spiral: Commodity hell.

To rise from commodity level (surviving) to brand (competing) all the way to premium brand (aspiring), a level where you can charge exponentially more, it requires a proven strategy to make the transition happen. This is where we come in as branding experts. We help to uncover extra benefits and values your customers are looking for when making a decision to hire you or buy your product.

To set up your company for growth, it makes good business sense to represent your brand forcefully and consistently in everything you say and every project you touch. It‘s paramount to define a clear “brand message”.

Why Does ‘Brand Message’ Matter?

Your brand is your calling card, your identity, it’s how people perceive you. A strong brand creates the handle by which customers remember you. It lies at the core of all your selling and retention efforts. It should be the driving force behind any product or service you develop. A brand equals a unique value proposition. When executed well, it gives your customers or clients a reason to choose you over the competition, time and again.

“Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” (Entrepreneur.com)

So ask yourself: What is my company’s brand saying now? Is it just about facts and features? Or a standard mission statement on your website? Be honest. If you don’t like what you hear, these are some steps to regain control of a runaway brand.

How to make sure your brand is heading in the right direction

Check the vital signs

Is your brand vibrant or DOA? If your brand is so weak that clients or customers can’t describe it in a few words, get to work on a better message.

Decide what you want to be synonymous with, and deliver on that promise with your performance. What makes you outstanding in your industry? Align your brand with those strengths, because they’re the hardest for your competition to imitate.

Be authentic

To your own brand be true. Anyone can spot a fake, and that applies to you as well. A brand is only powerful as long as it is believable and authentic.

“Tribute bands never changed the world.“— The Internet

Your message should permeate every aspect of your business, from your marketing materials to your day-to-day operations and the company’s code of ethics. And by the way, those clip art images on your website, the happy business people, and the handshake — they need to go! Seriously.

Stay In It For The Long Haul

Audit your brand periodically, taking the time to listen to your customers. No amount of advertising can single-handedly fix a negative perception of your brand or restore lost credibility. On the flip side, if you treat your customers well and act on their feedback, they will validate your brand in the marketplace.

“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” — Seth Godin

Advertising campaigns can be launched overnight, but successful brands take the time to build. A brand is like a good marriage in two ways: Both are built on the premise of a long-term relationship and both need dialogue to thrive. Treat your spouse well, and you will live happily ever after.

Marc Posch, Brand Consultant, Creative Director. Swiss-born, German raised, LA based.

Marc Posch Design, Inc. Brand Consulting and Design, made in downtown Los Angeles. As a team of creatives, thinkers and developers we are known for helping emerging tech and manufacturing companies to disrupt, stand out and grow. With our experience, deep industry expertise and all the collaborators to make it happen, we inspire success.

To find out more about what we can do for your business call 213.341.1642. For more visit marcposchdesign.com. Thank you.

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