Tech Brands’ Mantra: Find Big Problems. Solve. Repeat.
By Nirm Shanbhag
The technology brand spectrum is vast, encompassing consumer electronics, computers, software, and services. At one end of the spectrum are companies that build amazing things, but can’t seem to build a strong connection with consumers. At the other end, visionary brands that make us imagine the unimaginable, but lack substance and staying power. It’s a world of bathroom mirrors that tell us the latest headlines, bracelets that upload our vital statistics to physicians, and cars that drive us to our destinations. Tech brand leaders, however, are masters of compelling visions leading to impressive products, with the benefits to the customer clearly apparent and articulated. What’s more, they also:
Strive for consistent wins
What puts some companies on our collective radars, causing envy among peers and convincing customers to camp out overnight to get the next iteration of their phone, is their ability to do this day in and day out. These aren’t one-hit wonders that solve a problem and then rest on their laurels. In the spirit of Steve Jobs’ classic “And one more thing” product reveals, these consistent innovators are always seeking to identify tomorrow’s problems and solutions today.
Find big problems. Solve them. Repeat.
That’s essentially what the tech sector
is about: finding real problems, solving them, and then repeating the process. It’s why Apple, Samsung, Google, and Facebook (among others) find themselves on our table today. It’s why Microsoft’s efforts to reimagine Windows for a new world and its shift towards integrating hardware, software, and services intrigue us. And it’s why companies like Pebble, Nest, and Tesla hold so much potential for the future. Each one has used its brand as a point of view for solving a steady stream of challenges. What’s more, we expect such brands to do this, and we become frustrated when they don’t.
Make your brand a reflection of where you’re going
Brands can clear the path forward, giving companies permission to innovate, but ultimately it’s up to the entire company to deliver on the promise. The responsibility for this doesn’t rest within the marketing team, however, but should be championed as the great aligner, the articulation of the vision that sets the context for everything the company does—from product and service development to specific goals. From creating workplace environments that encourage on-brand interactions to communications that enhance the relationship between the company and its customers, a more holistic type of thinking will be the hallmark of tech brand leaders in the years ahead.
— Nirm Shanbhag (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Managing Director, Interbrand San Francisco