How do new or early-stage tech companies market their brands to an essentially non-tech audience? Given that many of these firms are often founded by techies, the answer is, with difficulty.
Some of the world’s most famous techies – think Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg, Musk – started by just building great stuff, or coming up with innovative and often whacky concepts in their bedroom, garden shed or garage. They then went on to build the multi-gazillion dollar companies we know today.
Arguably, most are still techies – but their secret has been to leverage the impact of thought leadership, among other strategies, as an essential component for building their brand success.
It’s about narrative and vision.
In today’s whirlwind of new technological innovations, we believe that thought leadership should go way beyond talking about how great your technology is. Fundamentally, it’s about creating a forward-thinking narrative, a vision for businesses where the technology – hardware, software, AI, or whatever – is a component, albeit ‘under the hood’.
But how do tech-led firms – and perhaps your own company? – ‘cross the chasm’ between ‘techiness’ and thought leadership to establish brand success? It’s a conversation our team is always having with our clients – here are four key learnings.
Step 1 - Communicate business benefits
Thought leadership is about communicating clearly and concisely what the business benefits of the technology are, and not just the ‘bits and bytes’ of the technology. You need to get out of the techy mindset and into the solutions zone as a thought leader. Whatever technology you are building, no matter how innovative or leading-edge it is, you have to look at things from a customer’s perspective. Invariably, customers look for solutions, not tech, so make sure your thought leadership messaging is at the right level and meets their needs.
Step 2 - Be bold
So much is going on in the tech world, some good, some not so good – AI is a perfect example, where the debate is raging about the benefits and the downsides of the technology. Thought leaders need to be bold with their opinions and be prepared to ‘say it like it is’. Bland simply doesn’t cut it in thought leadership – being opinionated, in a positive way, can gain you attention and respect.
Step 3 - Be informative
As a thought leader, you want your brand to stand out from the competition, so you have to get noticed. That means being helpful and informative about the trends and the issues in the sectors in which you operate. To stand out from the crowd, be prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ to help and advise customers and prospects with your experience and insights.
Step 4 - Stay true to your brand
Long-established brands, like Apple and Microsoft, have maintained their core brand principles over many years. The measure of successful thought leadership in new or early-stage firms is to establish core principles and then remain consistent while having the flexibility to create thought leadership messaging that meets, and even exceeds, the expectations of customers and prospects in a fast-evolving marketplace.
Finally, when it comes to thought leadership, remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Thought leaders don’t emerge overnight – take advice, get guidance, check out other thought leaders, and establish your own approach and style over time.
If you want to build up a solid thought leadership platform around your tech brand, why not reach out to UP FOR IT to learn more?