• Transform magazine
  • May 22, 2018

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Insights: Managing tech-driven brands in the tech-driven era

Nick Thomson B&W photo.jpg

At the Transform Awards Europe 2018, the best in rebranding and brand development will be celebrated. Brand communications agency Frank, Bright & Abel is one of those shortlisted for the awards

Technology aims to make life easier, but it often confuses and complicates. If you’re a business technology brand, the last two years will have felt faster and more challenging than ever. How you articulate who you are and what you do is even more critical. Here are some of the answers to challenges our clients face.

1. Brand positioning

It is possible to fix a position in a landscape of continual change. How can you define a brand for the next three years when you don’t know what the next three months looks like? Adopt a firm position, embrace the uncertainty and go with it. Explain how you will make life easier, better or more productive for your customers.

Part of this might rely on partnering with brands who were previously competitors. Be clear about the benefit to your customers, but also the distinctive role you play sitting alongside your potential partners.

2. Visual and verbal identity

It will help if you adopt an unexpected language. All too often, B2B technology branding is dull and uninspiring. It’s often explained by technical, not communication, experts. Customers want a simple and human story about how their lives will be improved. They won’t necessarily understand, or be interested in, the technical detail, no matter how brilliant or innovative it is.

Visually, this means being warm, inviting and human. After all, it’s designed to serve people, so people should be at the heart of it. Be brave, exciting and single-minded and adopt an unexpected language.

3. Thought leadership

Ensure you are credible by having something credible to say. We don’t know what the future will look like or who will have led us there. Everyone has a point of view and claims to be an expert. It’s a complex and confusing picture and customers need help making sense of it.

Paint an informed picture of the future – how technology will help, not what it is. It doesn’t have to be your view alone. Gather thoughts from commentators, experts or academics. Your brand can gain credibility by curating this well-informed picture.

4. Employee engagement

The impact on your people is great, but the importance of their roles is greater. The march of technology means you’ll require more from your people, not less. The companies that thrive will be the ones that have genuinely embraced a culture of innovation.

Creating this culture isn’t about paying lip service through the occasional innovation initiative. This is about a fundamental and systematic way of doing business. A managed and owned process that’s part and parcel of who you are. Feed this into your employer brand, and you become a more serious and attractive technology brand and proposition for talent.

5. Marketing communication

You can help remove the anxieties by taking a lead in addressing them. Technology is full of hope and anxiety. One of the biggest fears is how it will replace peoples’ roles. Tasks may adapt and evolve, but at the end of the day, service is a human thing, even if it’s enhanced by technology. People will still want to discuss matters with a person, rather than a robot. The power of human empathy and emotion will always prevail.

Brands must take a lead in communicating how technology will change the way we work and live. Far from depicting a brave new world, marketing communication must be realistic, honest and balanced. Above all, forthcoming.

Technology is changing how we live and work. Companies that want to win need to rethink the role of their brand and their communications.

Nick Thomson is strategy director at Frank, Bright & Abel