You’ve got a great idea, funds to build it and a disruptive solution. But that’s only half the work—now you need people to buy. No matter how innovative and slick your new technology is, it will not sell itself. Whether you’re starting up, pivoting or accelerating your growth, here are 5 things you will always need to do:
1. Be who you want to be, not just who you are today
Most entrepreneurs and founders believe their brand will grow with them. It’s ok at first to look and talk like a small startup. Getting the brand part right doesn’t matter right now, it’ll get there. Brands evolve over time, together with the company. But when you create a new company, bring to the market a new solution or search for new investors, you need to sell a vision. You need to sell the company you will be tomorrow, not the one you are today. So why bother thinking “small” for your brand? Think big, appear formidable, credible and ready to make a change. And start now!
2. Understand your audience to appeal to them
You think you know your audience. But do you, really? Don’t make assumptions. Analyze their behaviors. Talk to them. Find out what matters to them, their pain points and how they want them solved. Put together personas and identify the dynamics of the decision-making process.
Defining your audience can help you evaluate your product/market fit or better target your messaging. You can’t – shouldn’t skip it.
3. Define the problem you are solving to convince them
Engineers are obsessed with their product idea—just try asking an engineer what’s different about their product and you’ll get a list of product features and technical specs. But until they start using your solutions, your clients — or should I say, prospective clients — will not care much about the technical aspects of your solution. They care about the problem you are solving for them; how you’re making their life easier. Brand strategy is about transforming those technical features into customers benefits; into solutions to real customers issues. You and everyone in your company should be able to concisely and consistently explain the problem you’ve set out to solve.
4. Build trust
In B2B, trust is a major factor in the decision-making process. The investment you are asking your audiences to make is much bigger and more important than buying a can of soda. But while B2C companies have understood the importance of branding for a while, a lot of B2B companies still need to be convinced. So why question the necessity of building a strong brand for a software company while it is obvious for a soda? Having a strong brand builds credibility, reassurance and plays an important role in the decision to purchase. This is also true for investors—make investors believe in you and your vision, but support it with a clear story, a differentiating positioning and a strong brand.
5. Differentiate to stand out
In a world of B2B SAAS companies with new players coming in every week, it often feels like every single solution is just the same as the other. A little cheaper, a little faster or more user-friendly—same, same but different. While product benefits can help differentiate you, they will rarely set you apart from the crowd. Which customer’s emotional benefits can you claim that your competitors can’t? Evaluate your true differentiators, differentiate your messaging and make your brand unique.
You don’t need brand strategy from the start but you need it earlier than you think.
Once your product is built, your solution is ready and tested and you’re ready to enter the growth phase, brand strategy should be your guide. Whether you need to appeal to more investors, appear bigger than you are or power your growth, you’ll need a clear, unique, easy to understand, consistent story to tell the world. That’s what brand strategy is all about.
At Skona, we work with many fast-growing tech companies. From defining brand positioning, creating your brand blueprint, building personas, shaping messaging architecture, we can help you better understand who you are, who you are talking to and how to tell your story. We can help you set the right foundation for growth, from the start and transform from a tech company to a tech brand people love. Give us a call.