Branding for Tech Consulting Firms: An Overview
Your overall success also depends on your ability to get new business, something that is generally based on your reputation. Actively trying to get prospective customers to consider using your services is essential. How you come across to these potential customers is critical, so developing strong brand is a must.
So, what is a brand anyway?
For a tech consulting firm, or any other company for that matter, your brand is how your business is perceived by others. Factors that impact this perception are:
- Your services
- Your people
- The way you present your business to the world
- Your policies and procedures
- What others are saying (or not saying) about you
Right about now you are probably thinking “…but isn’t my logo my brand?” Not really, your logo is a very central part of your brand, but your brand is a whole lot more! There is however a reason you might think that.
A logo’s function is, first and foremost, to be an identifier. When we see a logo, we associate it with the company it represents and more specifically, our perception of that company, which is based on their products (and/or services), their people, and the way they present themselves to the world, how they behave, and what we might know about them. If we know nothing about them, more often than not, we regard the logo (and by extension) the company as irrelevant.
So, if your brand is all these things what is to be done about it?
Before we go too far down the page, let’s take a brief moment to define what might otherwise cause some confusion – branding and brand identity. These two frequently come up and are certainly related, but they are not the same thing.
– Seth Godin
According to businessdirectory.com, branding is “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme.” They also elaborate that the aim of branding is to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market– one that will attract and retains loyal customers.
Think of it this way: if your business were a person, then branding is the act of dressing that person in a way that accentuates their uniqueness. It is the method of presenting the best possible version of oneself to the world.
Now, branding isn’t something you do overnight or that is static; Deloitte didn’t become the recognizable brand it is today overnight. Neither did Accenture. Both of these brands have evolved along with the firms they represent. Both firms have been very deliberate in developing their brands and are actively engaged in shaping the world’s (and more specifically) their target market’s perception of who they are and what they represent. These technology services providers are not unique in this.
The visible elements of a brand (such as colors, design, logotype, name, symbol) work together to identify and distinguish that brand in the consumers’ mind (businessdirectory.com). This is what’s known as brand identity: the visual elements that make up a brand.
This distinction is important. While your brand is so much more than just its visual elements, they still play a vital role and need to be well thought though.
It’s all about Perception
As mentioned earlier, your company’s brand is all about how your company is perceived. For this reason, it is important that you take the time to develop a clear message for your business and pay attention to what your target market (and others) think about you. This message should be based on your company’s vision and developed with a clear understanding of who your target market is and what value you provide them with – your value proposition. It should also include a description of: your company; your capabilities; the benefits you provide; and your target market (to include customer personas.) Based on this, you should also develop and hone your company summary or elevator pitch.
This all should then become the basis for developing your brand identity. Your brand identity should communicate who you are and what you stand and support your message – help get your message out.
What makes a good Brand?
Good brands are always deliberate. While a business might get started without much thought relating to brand, as soon as success starts to mount, savvy business owners invest in developing their brand as a way to differentiate and grow.
- Solid products & services
Of course, it doesn’t matter how much you invest in your brand if what you’re selling isn’t great to begin with. A solid services and excellent execution are a must. No amount of money or investment in brand identity can make up for underlying quality issues or sub-stand service delivery.
- A clear and well thought out message
If you look at the big guys, you’ll notice they have a very clear brand message. Accenture is delivering the future now, BearingPoint is transforming businesses with adaptive intelligence. These messages are front and center and big picture. You too need to have a clear message for your brand.
- Visually pleasing and clear brand elements
This one cannot be overemphasized. Good design amplifies your message and clears away the clutter. Simplicity is key – getting this right if often difficult when you have a lot to say about yourself. This is why basing your brand elements on well thought though messaging is so important.
- Choreographed customer experience
Remember that the customer’s experience dealing with your company is very much part of how they perceive you brand, so you can’t skimp on this one. A well-choreographed customer experience makes a customer feel valued, and a valued customer is your greatest brand ambassador.
People can smell a phony from a mile away, so your brand elements need to tell your story authentically. Don’t try to be something you are not. Make sure your brand identity is authentic to avoid the risk of tarnishing your brand later. A damaged brand can be almost impossible to redeem.
Consistency is key. Always strive to remain true to your brand. This means developing clear brand elements and applying them consistently. A confused prospect is often a lost customer.
Your brand is more than the visual elements you use to represent your company and services so the question you should be asking is this. Do the visual elements you are using today do a good job of representing your company and services? Do they support your messaging? Is what your brand stands for clear? Are you proud of your brand?
A lot of technology consulting companies provide good services but have a hard time getting their message out there. If this is your situation maybe, it’s time to think about what your brand identity says about you.
Check out our Complete Brand Guide!
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We help technology services organizations grow by putting into action a marketing system containing the right balance of strategy, technology, process, and expertise that will get results.