Looking as good as the big brands is not as difficult as you think.
When I watch Roger Federer play tennis or Lionel Messi play football, it always looks so easy. The racket is swung so gracefully and the ball is hit with such distinction that the urge to run to the nearest park to copy them is often irresistible. Unfortunately, my attempts to replicate their genius never looks as good. In my head, I might be just like Roger Federer but the reality couldn’t be farther from that.
With brand communication, I can’t help but make a similar comparison to many technology companies. Too often, the difference in what they think they are communicating and what they’re actually communicating can be worlds apart. Websites look crowded and unclear, with text full of jargon, acronyms and references that most people don’t understand. In many cases, prospective customers are even more confused after getting in touch than before. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Companies like Google and Apple have shown that user adoption and retention is possible if you keep things simple. Google’s homepage, for example, is conspicuously empty, apart from the brand name and the ‘search’ box. The complex details about how it works and all the other technical stuff is safely tucked away where it is not interfering with users’ desire to ‘Google’. For many technology companies, the opposite is often the case. Everything is overloaded with unnecessary information and it can be very difficult, verging on the impossible, to work out what they were hoping to achieve.
Now, you may be thinking ‘how on earth am I going to be like Google? That’s surely an impossible task.’ But I beg to disagree. Keeping it simple can be your thing as well and it’s certainly not as difficult as it seems.
What you do should be front and centre
If your product addresses security or productivity issues, for example, there’s no point having key information on an obscure page or corner that no one will ever see. That information must be the first thing everyone sees.
It’s easy to take the safety in numbers approach and include as much as you know. But most times this can be more of a hindrance. The aim must always be to make the main thing…the main thing. This, of course, comes with time and effort spent on fine-tuning your messaging and which business objectives to prioritise. Once this has been done, it will be easy for everything else to work in harmony.
Cut the waffle and keep it out
Once you’ve decided on the centrepiece, remove anything that will distract from it. All the other stuff that doesn’t directly help you to achieve your main goal will probably be working against it. So you should remove it entirely or at least move it to somewhere where it will not get in the way of the main goal.
Being clever is not enough. Clarity must be the priority. There’s no need to overload your website and brand communication channels with information that doesn’t yield any results.
Stand out from the crowd
Technology companies can’t afford to be seen as just another ‘me too’ offering. That approach could easily result in being lost in the crowd.
It’s important to get the senior team and other stakeholders in a room and sort out an elevator pitch that succinctly describes who you are, what you do and why you’re different. This way, there will be little room for confusion with existing and prospective customers. This will also feed into how well you can fine-tune your messaging and business objectives. At the end of the day, if every company is a ‘leading’ company, what does ‘leading’ really mean anymore?
Once you’ve found a brand communication path that works for you, stick to it and use it across the business. Of course, you don’t want to overload users with this either but the consistency of your approach must be evident across the board. Users should always feel like they are interacting with the same brand regardless of where and how they are interacting with you.
Whether you’re dealing with Apple via their website or in the Apple store, for example, you’ll easily notice the trends and consistency in the service they provide. That doesn’t happen by accident but is a result of a concerted, joined-up effort.
It’s easy to see the likes of Google and Apple solely as what they are today but we must remember that they have not always been like this. Through constant research, testing, a desire to do things the right way and putting customers first, they have built something that works and is the envy of many. The same principle applies to every brand. By following these principles, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
On that note, I’m off to practise my tennis and football skills. You might just see me on a screen near you sometime soon.
If you’d like to discuss how you can improve your brand communication strategy, please contact the lorries at firstname.lastname@example.org