In Tech there is so much emphasis on claiming that your new solution will disrupt the status quo, that much of the fundamentals of building a great brand never get considered. So often do great solutions suffer from poor communication due to a misunderstanding of how people learn about new technology in a business setting.
The foundation of any great branding exercise is to take that long list of features and simplify the message. People really can't grasp more than three or four big concepts at one time. And without letting your audience grasp those initial concepts, all the details become a big ball of confusion.
So, step one is to literally lay out all the features that you are in love with and must be explained in that 50-slide presentation, and sort them into a hierarchy to build a story around three or four big ideas. Those are your talking points - the things you present and want people to remember in your initial presentation; product collateral, website copy, even sales training. All those features you just sorted are the support points that get explained when you are granted the two-hour deep dive review.
Next, position your big concepts within the context of the industry as it stands today. Unless you have just discovered a new planet in the solar system, you have probably found a better way to do something than an entire industry of companies. And that's a good thing! It's much easier to explain that your better solution competes with others. Putting your solution into context with the current industry helps your customers understand your message since it allows them to leverage what they already know to learn something new.
With this industry positioning, you should now select one overriding concept – that being the most important competitive differentiator - and create a memorable brand for it. As an example, at an analytics company I worked for, we introduced a suite of software products that provided “3D” personalization. it was the only system that could determine the right product, at the right price, at the right time (the three dimensions). This was immensely effective as it telegraphed the positioning and benefits of the entire suite with a simple concept and memorable phrase.
Another extremely important exercise is to define your solution’s practical application within the client’s organization. Most people need help envisioning how to leverage your solution, and simply saying that it will speed up processing time or improve customer engagement are meaningless statements unless you explain how. Taking the time to explain in sufficient detail how your solution can be used is much more impactful. In addition to actual case studies, which are the bedrock of credibility for a new solution, developing a few relevant detailed use cases will enable your customer to envision the tangible uses of your solution – no imagination necessary.
Finally, and this is a big one, there must be a clear statement of why the customer needs your solution. So often technologists are so focused on the features of the product, that not nearly enough attention is paid to the business rationality for purchase. For example, you must not only think about how the solution solves a problem, but also what the business outcome will be. At some point, your client will need to justify the purchase of your solution, which will only come from either increasing revenue or reducing expense. Of course, there are other business objectives, but few programs are initiated without a strong ROI story. Helping your client understand the business benefits are a crucial part of any sales process.
Since you have focused your messaging and branded a few key concepts, you’ll be able to effectively translate a great creative in advertising, digital marketing, and elsewhere. Integrated omnichannel marketing campaigns are the most impactful, so when you undertake them, message discipline is important. When I see the same message in multiple media, like banner ads and then in an email, I take notice – don’t you? The important point is that the same (or very similar) message is repeated.
Great technology brands are built on great concepts that address a compelling issue, which customers are willing to spend money on. The best way to communicate this is to simplify the message, put it into a context, and brand it to help them envision the uses and benefits they will enjoy.
About the Author
George Ravich is a veteran of the FinTech and InsurTech industries, having been CMO of several industry-leading companies. He now has his own marketing consulting firm, Ravco Marketing LLC, which is focused on building the marketing foundation for high-growth tech companies.