How to Build a Brand Like Amazon, Technology Branding and Marketing
Whether you have an idea for a new business or you’re already running a million dollar empire, you must have noticed the changes that technology has brought to the market, particularly with regards to branding in the technology sector. Technology has transformed every area of business starting from product development to marketing and growth strategies so technology branding is integral to your technology business success.
While some businesses are simply enjoying the benefits of technology, other businesses are the catalysts of disruptive change. In the technology space, technology isn’t viewed as a supportive function, rather technology equals business and business equals technology.
Technology startups are a rare breed of businesses, that operate on a different level. They often don’t have a physical product to sell, they derive value from technology, and frequently many such businesses start as an experiment based on an identified customer problem rather than a carefully thought out business idea.
Consider the case of Uber. The company built a network of taxi drivers and then gave customers access to that network. Uber doesn’t sell taxi rides, they sell access to rides. As a result, there is no tangible or intangible product – Uber simply offers connector services within an established sector that has been around for years. It’s how they approach business using technology coupled with building a disruptive brand that made it so successful.
Related: Brand Disruption as a Business Framework for Future Growth
Such a nuanced business model, as well as hundreds of other similarly disruptive models, have only been enabled because of technology. Technology businesses and startups have to invent new ways of communicating with their customers. It’s no wonder, therefore, that the more traditional rules of branding don’t apply to technology brands or startups. Here we explore the new rules of branding, more specifically technology branding, that have emerged following the need for technology brand positioning and customer acquisition.
It’s critical to note that branding is NOT marketing or design but the bedrock foundation underpinning your whole business so getting your brand strategy right, particularly in a technology business, is critical to your success. This article explains in more detail the why, what and how of building a successful disruptive technology brand.
Are you a leader, manager or entrepreneur in a technology business? Are you curious about how to build or scale a successful technology brand? Join one of our branding workshops because they empower you to build your brand, enhance customer experience, expand your market impact and create higher perceived value so you can command a premium.
In fact, the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind is all about fast-tracking you, your brand and your business through the brand building, brand strategy process using big-brand know-how with proven systems that get results so you can grow your business faster and more effectively. Discover more about this two-day Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind intensive here.
Want to discover more about building your standout, №1 powerhouse tech brand?
- Schedule an appointment — we can meet in person or online
- Allow us to create a customised plan for you
- Let’s implement the plan together
- Get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
Alternatively, you can opt for a DIY approach with the Personality Profile Performer™— a step-by-step branding ecourse you can use to make your brand highly recognisable and loved.
Do Tech Businesses and Tech Startups Need Branding?
Now you’ve probably already asked yourself the question: do tech businesses need branding? At first sight, brands like Google and Amazon may not seem to overtly engage in branding, they simply command a niche in the market. That assumption is a huge mistake because these companies are masterful in branding, albeit in less traditional ways. Don’t think all you need is to find an unoccupied niche and come up with a great technology idea because without strong branding you’ll really struggle to make a big impact.
Another reason why branding is such a controversial topic in the tech field is that user experience is a significant pillar of business success. Brands that can simplify the buyer journey and make it more enjoyable might seem to do just fine without branding. People buy from Amazon because it’s the easiest way to shop, right? Not because of the aspirational qualities of the brand? On the face of it, these might seem to be reasons that perpetuate the notion of technology businesses or startups not needing branding.
This perception is most definitely wrong and perhaps originates from the misunderstanding of what branding actually is. You see, most people associate branding with logos and design — the fact is they are merely the visual identifiers, NOT the brand. Branding is way more than just design, in fact, it’s a complex specialist field.
Related: Design Is NOT Branding, 10 Things Every Business Owner and Entrepreneur Should Know
In branding, there are things that are seen on the surface, like visual assets of a brand, as well as things that are less obvious but have multi-layered sophistication and are often only registered in our subconscious minds. The less obvious multi-layered elements are what constitute and underpin the power of a successful brand.
Related: Use Psychology in Your Brand Strategy to Create Irresistible Brand Experiences and Increase Sales
Factors like the association with a compelling story, purpose, vision, brand personality, educational value, inspiration, and loyalty are all produced by more subtle and sophisticated brand strategy, such as content creation, media events, and personalization of services. It’s true that technology businesses may not need to invest heavily in design initially to become successful, but they still need to establish a strong connection between the product and the audience, and that’s exactly what branding does.
Related: Brand Strategy, 6 Tips for Building Your Profit Growth Plan
Additionally, the technology sphere is developing rapidly. It’s harder than ever to find an unoccupied niche. However, re-inventing how things are done within an existing niche through disruptive branding provides multiple opportunities. Branding helps technology businesses by creating perceived difference and challenging bigger players. Branding helps to disrupt what has already been disrupted. Branding also helps secure your company’s success long term, by establishing your value as a brand and not as a commodity. This concept is discussed in the following video:
Technology branding needs to fend off competitors, many of whom are producing similar technologies, by creating a greater perceived difference. It’s also essential for customer attraction and retention. Branding enables technology businesses to communicate the value of their product (which is often not obvious) to customers.
Related: How to Use Brand Positioning to Build Brand Impact in an Overcrowded Market
Overwhelmed by the ever-increasing market demands in building a successful technology brand?
Depending on your preferences and state of growth, we have the perfect solution for you — so if you want us to:
- Build your brand for you – find out more here or get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
- Empower you to build your brand – check out the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ Mastermind here. This is a two-day intensive where you work on your brand with us codifying and mapping out your brand strategy for business growth. Alternatively, join our half-day Branding Accelerator Masterclass for a fast-injection of brand building essentials. We also have a dedicated Personal Brand and Corporate Brand Alignment Masterclass
- Want a DIY solution? Check out our how to build a brand eprogramme here because it empowers you to build your brand yourself so you become No.1 in your market and increase your profits
How Technology is Changing Branding
Technology has certainly brought accelerated changes to branding by eliminating the bias towards a highly visual field into one of much deeper multi-faceted and meaningful brand experiences. But how did this change occur? Because there has been a significant shift in the people’s perception of possibilities with the advent of new technology.
Firstly, technology has brought us new channels of communication, that enabled dialogue instead of one party listening (the customer) and the other one pushing marketing messages (the brand owner). People used to watch TV adverts and buy the products that were advertised.
Now, if your brand doesn’t engage in meaningful dialogue with the customer you’re at a serious disadvantage. In its simplest terms, if your advert isn’t interactive and engaging, most customers won’t notice, let alone be interested — unless possibly if they’re of a much older age profile. This change in customer expectations and perception is the result of new communication technology .
Secondly, brands are no longer perceived as products. Just like Facebook allows you to engage with every aspect of your friends’ lives, people expect brands to be equally transparent and interactive. Customers want, indeed expect to understand what’s going on behind the scenes, whether for example, the company is socially responsible, what its bigger purpose is and whether the ‘product’ does any good for society at large.
Essentially, technology expands possibilities and changes people’s thinking. You have 24-hour access to your smartphone, so people expect brands to be available with 24-hour customer support. Google provides search results in real time, so customers want products to be delivered as fast as possible. Virtual reality is transporting us to new imaginary worlds, so people want highly sensory experiences.
Because customer expectations have changed, creating a great brand strategy is a more challenging task. Technology brands experience a lot of pressure from customers, as they are required to innovate not only with their product but also with the ways they reach their customers and how they engage with them.
Can’t figure out how to reach your consumers in the age of technological turmoil? Take a look at Personality Profile Performer™ programme. This is a self-taught programme that will help you discover how to attract more of your ideal audience so you can become the visible leader and get more loyal customers faster.
If you want hands-on direction and expertise with experienced input, our transformational workshops are exactly what you need. All our workshops are packed with practical content, highly interactive, informal and fun, designed to enable you and your team to consistently define, articulate, map out, differentiate, stand out, amplify, direct and manage your brand so you’re empowered to attract your ideal customers, be highly visible and grow your business faster. Discover more here about the half-day Persona Branding Accelerator Masterclass.
Technology Branding Versus Physical Products Branding: Differences and Implications
Because of the rapidly evolving nature of the market, brands are incredibly important in creating feelings of trust, safety and security in the highly volatile technology market. As technology evolves, competitors copy and imitate products so it all commonly boils down to slightly different features and benefits — and commodity-orientated, low price based decisions.
When customers are faced with hundreds of similar brands that offer the same perceived value, a strong brand strategy is the only tool that eliminates sameness, uncertainty, and confusion because strong brand strategy creates perceived difference so you can nurture loyalty and command a premium. Most importantly, a powerful brand strategy instils customer confidence and shortens decision-making time because it’s perceived to make life easier for the customer.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key differences between technology branding and more traditional physical product branding :
The market for physical products changes more slowly. Well established brands that have been around for years and are harder to compete with—assuming they’ve continued to maintain relevance by using regular brand audit health checks with evolutionary brand refreshes or rebrands. In contrast, the technology market space evolves with the speed of light. As new technologies emerge, customers expectations become harder to meet, which makes the pursuit for customer attention a never-ending journey.
Some physical products haven’t changed significantly since the middle ages. Razor blades, soap, socks perform pretty much the same functions as they did hundreds of years ago, albeit with some modern twists. Technology products suffer from a continuous loop of rapid innovation. When new technology launches, the old technology instantly becomes obsolete.
Because we’re so accustomed to buying everyday physical items, we often stick to the brands that we know best or we buy one that makes us feel good. Remember, people buy with emotion first and justify with rational afterwards, regardless of gender or cultural background, so you need to touch the heart first in order to move the mind.
The decision-making phase with the everyday physical products is comparably shorter unless it’s a very high-value purchase. Even if you’re buying a special occasion dress or suit, you would not typically spend more than a day in stores trying various options. Technology products are different because the ‘product’ is often new and unfamiliar so your ideal customers need more time to become acquainted with the brand, trust it and understand all its features.
The benefits of physical products typically don’t need to be explained. You already know what effect a shiny new car will have on you—assuming you like new cars! Technology products, on the other hand, because of their relative novelty, typically trigger more questions from the non-techie customer perspective. They are also harder to market because you have to translate the language of highly sophisticated innovation into more easily understood, humanised, non-techie language.
Distribution of physical products is pretty complex compared to digital solutions. There’s an established line of distribution from the producer to the wholesaler and further to the retail shelf or estore. With technology products, the distribution path is a lot simpler. Customers usually have unobstructed access to technology 24/7 and enjoy, indeed expect, instant gratification.
As you can see, technology products require a completely different branding approach. This new branding approach involves 6 crucial components at a macro level.
6 Crucial Components of Successful Technology Branding
According to Fast Company’s article, 75% of venture-backed startups fail . The article also lists the reasons why startups fail. These reasons include lack of focus, motivation, commitment, and passion. Considering that identifying your purpose, vision, mission and values is one of the central parts of branding, it’s only fair to assume that the percentage of companies that fail would have been lower if startups had engaged in branding—not just design.
Currently, there are 6 overall branding strategies that are used to ensure tech business success — with other additional layers also added to give a brand more depth and power.
1. Brand Disruption
What do Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and Facebook have in common apart from being technology companies? All these brands started by identifying stagnant user-hostile markets and then offered a better solution. Essentially, they disrupted whole industries by offering innovative solutions that were considerably better from a customer experience standpoint.
The authors of the Play Bigger  book studied legendary technological companies and identified a new way of doing business, that is based on disruption and new market category creation. Category creation requires setting aside all the preconceived notions about business and choosing an innovative approach. It’s not about beating competitors with their own tools, it’s about inventing new tools and defining your own niche.
Related: Brand Disruption, Be The Disruptor or Be Defeated
Brand disruption is a branding strategy behind Kickstarter’s success. The company helps bring creative projects to life by giving brands access to the audience who are willing to financially support creativity. The Kickstarter product is new and innovative. But it’s not only the product that deserves praise. The company created a new way of doing business, a new market category that didn’t exist before. Technology gives you an indisputable advantage to create an alternative reality. But people are often wary of new things, so strong branding strategy helps you overcome customer doubts, build trust and shorten the transitioning period from old ways of doing things to the new way.
Storytelling is not a new branding strategy. But it has risen in importance with the advent of technology. This phenomenon is easy to explain. Storytelling employs the human ability to connect with each other . Stories evoke real human emotions and make us excited. Technology, on the other hand, is based on hard data. We strive for a brighter inspiring future, and storytelling serves a purpose of defining the future and showing how technology can contribute to it. Unless people understand the end state, the outcome, and connect with technology on a brand story level, they will never be able to see the value in technology.
Related: Brand Stories, 5 Compelling Examples That Sell Themselves
Consider the case of Magic Leap. The company is working on head-mounted virtual retinal displays. For someone not familiar with the technology, Magic Leap is just a virtual reality headset that is too complex to understand and doesn’t bear any value.
Now go to the company’s website or social media. There is a striking difference in the product perception once you read the company’s story, vision, mission and purpose. On their website Magic Leap claims that they are changing how people experience the world. And you can suddenly see a whole new dimension to the product, that makes you want to be a part of 100,000 members Magic Leap community.
Related: 4 Reasons Why Your Business Profit Starts With Your Brand Mission
People trust other people more than brands, so you have to make your brand a more human to build trust. Humanization can be applied to physical products and technology brands. But physical products have become a part of our everyday life, while technology brands are often seen as unknown, scary, faceless beasts. That’s why technology brands need to be concerned with branding and do everything to humanize their brand image.
Related: Personality Matters, Bringing Your Brand to Life to Grow Profits
Humanization can be achieved by adding personality to your brand, speaking your audience’s language, and building personalized experiences. Your brand’s personality is formed through a combination of tone of voice, visual assets, and human-like experiences.
One of the startups that are making technology more human is Misty Robotics. The company has a goal of putting a robot in every home and office. Ultimately, Misty Robotics aims to change our perception of technology being a complex mix of hard-to-understand lines of code to the perception of warm robot personality, who can help with different functions around the house.
4. Social-Cause Branding
Another crucial component of technology branding is a dedication to social issues. Technology businesses are seen as pioneers of change not only in the technology space but also in terms of changing the ways the society is constructed. Millennials are especially passionate about social causes and typically will only buy from companies that contribute to society at large and actively drop brands that don’t have a strong brand purpose.
Related: How to Use Brand Activism to Mobilize Your Customers
Redwood Materials focuses on recycling, remanufacturing, and reusing materials. The company was started by Tesla’s executives and is on a mission to develop the technology to increase the scope and scale of recycled materials in global supply chains. The essence of technology is cloaked in secrecy, but the company still attracts a lot of media attention because of their central raison d’etre — the commitment to sustainability.
Redwood Materials findings will be used in Tesla’s vehicles. Tesla is an American company that specializes in electric vehicles. By supplying technology to Tesla, Redwood Materials contribute to the electric cars movement. However, unlike Tesla, Redwood Materials are targeting the core issue of the industry, which means that other car producers will be able to access sustainable materials as well. This makes Redwood Materials highly attractive to Millennials, who believe that social issues require a collaborative approach and want to see, and actively choose, companies that put sustainability with strong brand purpose central to everything they do.
5. Brand Experience
Brands create experiences to engage their ideal audience on a deeper level and cultivate interaction. Positive brand experiences help people relate better to brands. This is, perhaps, the easiest way to execute strategy for a technology brand because most technology businesses already focus on creating great customer experiences. However, user experience is the first niche that was disrupted by the startups, so the bar is very high and it’s only getting higher.
Amazon is the first brand that comes to mind with their highly customer-centric approach in everything they do e.g. the revolutionary “One-Click Purchase” button makes shopping frictionless. But other brands are also innovating in the experience space. We’re visual creatures but we also like sharing, and Facebook live videos are a highly engaging experience. Not only you can stream a live Facebook video, but the live video is also a two-way dialogue where the audience can comment and provide feedback.
6. Brand Education
Lastly, without educating and empowering users no startup brand stands the chance against rapid development of technology. Through education, brands instil trust and promote loyalty. So even when there is a new competing technology, brands that put education at the core of their branding strategy can retain and grow the size of their audience.
Consider the case of Rubicoin. The brand’s mission is to get the everyday consumer, indeed the world investing, and eliminate the perceived barriers to buying stocks and shares. The company helps aspiring investors become more confident and successful through an educational app that teaches jargon-free lessons in the world of investing.
You don’t have to create an educational app to integrate education into your brand strategy because many brands engage in education by running informational blogs, producing rich insights content and shooting videos on Youtube.
Technology businesses have transformed not only their niche industries but also how branding and marketing are conducted. The differences between physical products and technology products dictate a new approach to branding. Favouring lean and agile approach, technology businesses have invented new growth and experience marketing, which has significantly reduced the time needed for customer acquisition. Even though technology startups are a relatively new phenomenon, they still need branding to ensure they survive, thrive and create long-lasting success.
Branding for technology businesses involves six crucial components:
Each of these components helps communicate the value of a business to the general public, nurture trust and generate a positive response.
Want to take your technology brand to the next level and compete with technological giants such as Google, Amazon, and Uber? Building a technology brand isn’t easy in the highly competitive technology environment so join one of our branding workshops to get hands-on direction on developing and relaunching or launching a new product to market in any sector.
Alternatively get our self-taught brand building ecourse if you want to create a really vibrant successful brand with purpose, meaning, stories and feelings because this is what makes brands matter most to customers.
Want to discover more about building your standout, №1 powerhouse brand?
- Schedule an appointment — we can meet in person or online
- Allow us to create a customised plan for you
- Let’s implement the plan together
- Get in touch [email protected] or ring +353 1 8322724
Questions to ask yourself:
- What does your brand change in the world?
- What do customers see in your brand that they value emotionally?
- What are you doing to disrupt customers and motivate them to stop buying what they’re used to?
- Can others duplicate your tech concept? How are you going to leverage branding to create perceived difference and cultivate customer loyalty?
- What does your brand do to the economics and dynamics of the current market?
Your Client Satisfaction Guarantee
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- You’ll have timelines, key milestones and deliverables to evaluate and approve for each stage and part of your brand building process
- Because we know the unexpected sometimes happens we can make adjustments along the way if you need it and if something extra is requested we’ll ensure you’re fully appraised about what that entails before committing
- As we achieve pre-agreed objectives you’ll be able to evaluate your brand building work and strategy in progress, coupled with the outcomes to ensure return on investment
Get in touch today because we’d love to get started helping you build your standout, powerhouse brand so you can increase your performance and leave your competitors way behind. Email us [email protected] or ring us +35318322724 (GMT 9:00-17:30).
Persona Branding & Design Consultants
Contact: Lorraine Carter
T: +353 1 832 2724
Howth, Co. Dublin, Ireland
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