Tech Brands: what do you do when nobody’s waiting to hear from you?

This is the last instalment in a series on brand marketing for tech businesses. Last time, we told you that nobody cares much about you or the products you sell. This time, we’re going to have a look at how you can fight against the most powerful force in marketing (and possibly the universe): the indifference of your customers.

Last time, we finished by asking you to accept the fact that nobody is waiting to hear from you. That’s not just true for you – it’s true for any company that isn’t one of the rare exceptions. Apple, Nike, and their like are what we call ‘Prom King brands.’

They’ve reached a level of success rarely achieved, and trying to emulate their current actions probably won’t help you.

However, as a tech business, you do have an advantage: all tech companies are trying to address very specific problems. Problems that many – or most – big companies will face eventually.

So before you do anything, follow these three simple steps:

  1. Think about what you’re doing.
  2. And about what you’re not doing.
  3. And then think about why you’re doing it.

Remember – purpose doesn’t have to be about saving the world.

Just about making small things a little bit easier to do.

(You might not get a ‘woohoo!’ when you seamlessly integrate someone’s hybrid cloud architecture. But if you’ve done the job right, you’ll get a satisfied sigh – which is what you should’ve been after all along.)

Food for thought (aka homework)

Here’s a few tricks you can use to get yourself out of the DR weeds and back on track to brand magnetism.

What are you talking about?

First, work out what it is you’re actually doing. Your product is a big deal to you – but to your customers, it’s a tool. Think of it as less of a tech solution, and more a very sophisticated screwdriver.

What does your screwdriver do? See if you can explain it in one sentence – without resorting to jargon.

Who are you really talking to?

Describe your customer.

Not as a job title, or as a demographic, or as an industry professional.

But as an individual.

What about them makes them the customer for your brand in particular?

What does your screwdriver help them to do – and why is yours a better fit for them than anyone else’s?

Once you’ve done that, ask yourself – is this the person you’re actually talking to right now? Not just in terms of communications, but in terms of actions.

And how are you talking about this?

Imagine you had the power to change the way everyone who works with you thinks about your brand.

From the CEO to suppliers to the receptionist.

What would you like them to think? What mindset does your brand – and all its people – need to adopt in order to get your product into the hands of your ideal audience?

What’s the viewpoint that anchors your brand to reality?

Do you know? And does the rest of your team?

Hang on – this all seems a bit abstract

Just consider one thing.

Your product may not be particularly remarkable.

You may not see the point in reaching your communication efforts beyond the scope of your users, their bosses, and people who invest in products like yours.

But remarkable marketing makes things remarkable.

Without his (admittedly amazing) advertising, Steve Jobs wouldn’t have sold many computers. No matter how great they were. You don’t become a prom king brand by behaving like one – you become one by being very good at conventional marketing and selling a great product.

When Volkswagen started advertising in the English-speaking world, they’d sold a grand total of two cars. By the end of the first year, they’d beaten that total by several million percent.

A magnetic brand isn’t the icing on the cake. It’s the flour.

Branding and marketing don’t just express value that’s already locked up in your company.

They create new value all of their own.

If you aren’t taking brand seriously, you aren’t taking money seriously.

We’ll leave you with one last question to think about:

How much are you losing by not investing in your brand?

Written by Josh Anderson

About markmaking*

mark-making* is an award-winning creative agency specialising in branding, campaigns and communications