Good brand management can help your technology company grow, scale, and more effectively reach your audience without spending big on advertising. But managing a tech brand is easier said than done - especially during the early days, as your product, vision, style, and team go through significant changes.
So, let’s take a closer look at what brand management is, why it’s so valuable for tech companies, and some upcoming brand management trends founders and marketers should be aware of.
What is brand management?
Brand is about more than just your logo, colors, and name - although these are important. Brand management encompasses all your customer touchpoints, including your product, marketing channels, content, communication, customer service, and more.
Managing your brand involves taking a more considered approach to how your brand looks, sounds, and feels across all these touchpoints. That way, customers get a consistent (and positive) brand experience, are increasingly able to recognize and remember your brand, and feel more confident that you’ll deliver on your promises.
Brand management measures may include:
- Educating staff on the importance of a strong, consistent brand
- Creating and enforcing a brand style guide for content creators and designers
- Training staff on your specific brand values
- Gathering data to track brand recognition, visibility, and reputation
- Empowering staff to act as ambassadors that embody your brand
It’s valuable for all organizations and industries, but brand management is especially important for tech companies.
Why is brand management important for tech companies?
The tech marketplace has become increasingly competitive. While good products are important to ensure you stay competitive, brand matters, too. In a competitive marketplace, the tech companies with the strongest brand presence that can deliver a promise of value to the customer will win.
Sometimes brand matters even more than technical differences between two products. Customers who may not understand these differences will often choose the stronger brand.
An inconsistent brand risks confusing your audience; and confusion is bad for selling, whether it’s in your physical store or on your website or app. Brand management helps you avoid confusion by sharing clear, consistent messages, a strong brand voice, and consistent visuals across all your platforms.
Be more memorable
People need an average of 5-7 brand impressions before they remember a brand. Good brand management will help your company show up consistently in more places, increasing the likelihood that someone will remember you. This is especially important for tech companies that have a long buying cycle, because customers may sit in your audience for years before they’re ready to buy. In order to buy, they’ll need to remember your brand at the right moment.
Improve trust and credibility
In one survey, 18.6% of respondents said that inconsistent branding damages a company’s reputation or credibility. On the other hand, brand management that ensures consistency from the very first customer touchpoints will help create a foundation of trust and confidence in your brand and products. Unsurprisingly, customers who trust you are much more likely to buy from you and remain loyal.
A strong, well-managed brand adds perceived value to your products, so customers are happy to pay more. For example, Apple is able to charge considerably higher prices than other brands for the same specs and performance because of the strength of their brand. For many people, buying Apple products isn’t just about getting a functional product, it’s about being loyal to the brand and/or choosing what is perceived to be the best brand.
The stats back up the connection between revenue and brand, with 73.4% of respondents in one survey judging that brand consistency contributed to 10% or more revenue growth. In another study that focused on private equity professionals, approximately 9 out of 10 respondents said a strong brand helped private equity firms source deals and raise new funds. Meanwhile, Mckinsey found that brands that are perceived as strong outperformed weak brands by 20% (in 2012), and this number was trending up from previous years.
Investing in brand management processes, like a proper style guide, will help your team save time. Instead of looking up colors and fonts or reinventing your brand style on a whim each time they create content, your team will be able to implement the rules laid out in your style guide. This saves time upfront and also reduces the likelihood of rework and major edits before and after content is published.
Poor brand management might be cheaper in the short term because it’s quicker to create content on the fly… but the costs can add up. If you don’t manage your branding as you go, you’ll be left with an expensive mess to clean up down the track. You’ll need to engage team members to go through every piece of content across your platforms - images, copy, infographics, and more - and either redo it or scrap it. The biggest cost will be time spent locating documents, content, and original files, then updating them to reflect your new brand guidelines. But it’s also important to note the sunk costs on creating that content in the first place, especially if it needs substantial changes or you end up deleting it entirely.
Produce more content
These days, most companies are creating more content than ever before, and content marketing is especially valuable for tech brands with complex products and features. It’s important to invest time in educating the audience about your problems, products, solutions, and implementation. Your marketing team needs clear guidance so they can create content that’s the right brand fit, especially as your content needs and teams continue to grow.
Poor brand management will hold tech companies back from scaling to something much bigger, because you’ll find it harder to attract and grow your audience - and much harder to manage a larger content team. Brand guidelines will help your company expand the team and bring more content creators and marketers on board to help create more content across more channels, growing the audience, while still retaining a consistent voice and style.
Why aren’t more technology companies doing it?
Despite all the amazing benefits, 43% of surveyed companies still report inconsistent branding, with only half of the respondents agreeing that their brand guidelines are current and easy to use. Technology companies, in particular, struggle with brand management because of a number of reasons:
- Growth phase - Many technology companies are still in the early product development phase and may be more focused on the technical side of things, rather than investing in marketing and brand management
- Product/price focus - Many are purely focused on creating a good product at the right price, and think if they create it, they will come
- Fast evolution - Things have moved quite quickly, their brand has evolved, their team has expanded rapidly, and suddenly their “go with the flow” brand is a bit of a mess
- Numbers focused - Technical companies often think in terms of numbers, and sometimes branding exercises are difficult to quantify (although we have shared plenty of solid stats here)
- Lack of training - Not all marketers are trained in brand management and some may not realize there’s more to your brand than your logo - especially in smaller marketing teams
- Short-term - Many tech companies are short-term focused, so they don’t yet see the value of investing in long-term brand building
The future of tech branding
Brand management could be what makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful tech companies. So, it’s fair to expect that as more technology companies mature past the product development, go-with-the-flow stage, we’ll see a stronger focus on brand management. This will help these tech brands become more valuable and competitive as they scale up, focus on building revenue, and attract a loyal audience.
A number of teams still access their brand guidelines through pdfs, hard copies, and even verbal instruction - but this is likely to change. Technology companies will look for more ways to create systems and processes around their brand and make brand management more effective, efficient, and consistent. As a result, it’s fair to expect an increase in brand management tools, tech, and automation.
If your tech brand is due for a refresh, now’s the perfect time to reassess your brand management processes. Set up a branding style guide that all your content creators have access to. And use tools to help your content creators stay on track, like TinyMCE’s WYSIWYG HTML editor to help keep your content styles consistent. For more info, check out our previous blog on how an editor like TinyMCE can help you build branding into your product design.