“It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.”
– Al Ries
In the book ‘The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing’, authored by Al Ries and Jack Trout, the marketing and positioning expert duo explain how marketing is a battle of perception and not the product and how consumer’s mind takes precedence over the marketplace.
Indeed. Marketing should be centered around delivering a holistic experience about the product to the audience through branding. For SaaS companies, investment in branding enables its product to be in TOMA (Top Of the Mind) and stand out from its competitors. SaaS space has already reached its tipping point and hence, it becomes crucial for establishing a strong identity in an already crowded marketplace.
What is Branding? Why is important to build a brand?
Bill Macaitis, the former CMO at Slack said in an interview “Your brand is every single touchpoint your customer has with you during their journey.”
Branding is the impression which the audience, prospects, and customers carry about the founder, company and company’s product and/or services. Branding is not just a logo, or a tagline or website graphics or slide decks, it’s a much deeper concept. SaaS branding is more about the customers than the company. It is all about how you want your customers to have the perception of your services.
Of course, along with exceptional branding, you need to have a strong product offering and value that no other competitor offers. A differentiating factor that sets you apart from the rest of the products in the market, a statement that resonates with your consumer, an aesthetic that sets a bar for itself in the minds of the users.
SaaS Branding: Whom is it for?
For SaaS or any product, the brand is not just for the prospective customers but it’s for prospective employees, contractors and investors.
No doubt that the customer is at the heart of the company’s brand and brand experience depends on the product and service you deliver and how you deliver. Product or service has to deliver value to its users.
A company’s brand equity, i.e. consistent branding is critical when it comes to investor relations. Investors are looking for a sound value proposition and return on investment. Hence, branding plays an important role in communicating the image, reputation, integrity, market position, and vision of the company, leading to solid brand equity which helps in gaining investor’s confidence for new products or extensions of the already existing product line.
The brand builds trust, and trust leads to sales. And building trust takes time, there are no shortcuts. Hence to develop a good brand persistence & patience is the key!
Branding Journey: How to get started
According to Harvard Business Review, those companies who do not have any branding strategies yet should ask the following questions –
- What makes or will make your customers/prospects choose your services?
- What is your differentiation factor from your competitors?
- How unique is your service and offer which cannot be easily copied by others?
A SaaS company should first focus on understanding these questions before building a brand strategy. Once they have answers to these, they can start aligning their branding efforts based on the value proposition and the differentiating factor of their product. This has to be internalized by the whole team, should reflect the values, beliefs and goals of the organization. Once this is achieved, the company can build or rebuild their websites, logo and design a brand positioning (based on target audience/ persona, competitive advantage, category), brand identity & tagline that would echo with its customers. Content and marketing messaging have to follow the same.
5 Major Steps in Developing a Brand
Summing up the five major steps in developing a brand:
- Strategy: Developing a brand strategy which is in line with the overall business values, plans & strategy.
- Perception: To build a sound perception in the minds of the target audience about company & product/services
- Differentiation: Have a unique factor which makes you stand out in the crowded market and indomitable
- Communication: Communicate not to sell but build relations and trust. Communicate through value proposition, brand positioning statement, logo, tagline, which has to be consistent across different marketing channels
- Patience: Building a brand requires building trust and building trust requires patience
Brand building is a conscious and continuous exercise. With evolving markets, technologies and evolution of your product and the company, the brand messaging should evolve, adapt and grow continuously. What remains consistent in this journey is the value that you want to add to solve real-life problems.
At Scalefusion, a Mobile Device Management Solution for corporate-owned Android and iOS devices, we consistently innovate and adapt to new technologies. With emerging technologies and by understanding the changing needs of our market, we modulate our business strategies and have made amends to our branding, from time to time. In April 2018, we rebranded our product to an exciting new destination- Scalefusion. We launched a new brand identity, an improved website, upgraded to a brilliant blog & added more than 10 new capabilities to our product, to offer a better experience for our prospective customers.
Read about Scalefusion rebranding journey