From digital disruptor to industry leader

Building a challenger brand
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The original article was first posted by PRWeek.

Building a challenger brand is tough in today’s b2b landscape. Hannah Patel (pictured), regional director at Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, speaks to LogMeIn‘s Lauren Christopherson on how to get your message across in a crowded marketplace.

With so much competition in today’s b2b landscape, building a successful brand is easier said than done. This is especially true in the technology world, where new competitors can spring up out of nowhere and the speed of innovation is constantly accelerating.

From a PR and marketing point of view, this presents several hurdles for challenger brands. They have to find ways to get their key messages heard across multiple channels in an extremely crowded marketplace, often with small budgets and pressures from above to drive sales leads.

With this in mind, we recently spoke to the marketing team from leading cloud-based connectivity solutions provider LogMeIn, to get some insights into the PR and marketing tactics that have helped drive the company’s development. Here, are three key pieces of advice that all brands should keep in mind as they grow and mature.

Move with the times

Just as the technology industry has changed dramatically in recent years, so has the way businesses market their products and communicate with potential customers. Of course, the rise of social media has been a key factor, completely transforming the way people discover and consume content and focusing businesses to rethink how they reach their target audience.

LogMeIn is no exception to this rule and has had to adjust its approach to PR by investing in different areas as the industry has developed. “Early on the focus was very much on traditional media relations and product reviews. Over the years with the media landscape changing, we’ve adjusted our tactics a bit to include more content, particularly research-based content,” explained Lauren Christopherson, LogMeIn’s senior PR & AR manager for Identity and Access.

“Traditional media is still important to us, but the tactics have changed a little bit. We’ve noticed that thought leadership based on research has become extremely successful, as journalists love data and stats that they can dive into. We’ve also done a lot more contributed articles. With the growing number of brands fighting for diminishing journalist time, they’re more accepting of contributed content.”

Whether it’s focusing more on bylines, product reviews or rapid response opportunities, brands have to be prepared to adapt to wider industry changes and tweak their marketing tactics accordingly. This will involve working with partners that are able to provide an integrated set of services.

Don’t spread yourself too thinly

For brands that have several products, it can be hard to know where to focus their PR and marketing efforts. This can result in brands spreading themselves too thinly and therefore failing to get the most out of their investments.

LogMeIn encountered this exact issue after undergoing a merger, eventually finding that the best solution was to identify a few priority products to ensure they received the majority of PR support.

“Early on we were trying to do PR for all of our products,” said Christopherson. “We went from six brands to 20+ brands after the merger, so we really had to learn how to narrow our PR focus – particularly on the high-growth products. We had to think about what the priority brands were and make sure that we put the majority of PR support towards those products.

“The products that generate a lot of revenue aren’t necessarily the fastest-growing products, so it’s important to make sure you’re aligned with marketing priorities and know which are the top brands that everyone’s going to focus on,” added Christopherson.

There may be pushback from product teams that aren’t getting as much PR support but, by getting buy-in from the marketing organisation as a whole, brands can ensure that resources are allocated to the brands that are most likely to result in a successful overall marketing programme, rather than spreading themselves too thinly and missing out on potential opportunities.

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Don’t ignore traditional PR

Although more and more brands are now focusing on digital marketing, traditional PR and media relations still have important roles to play. Of course, the most appropriate strategy will depend somewhat on the goals of the brand, but Christopherson acknowledged that it would be a mistake to ignore traditional avenues completely.

“Yes, marketing is changing and there are all these different avenues you can go down with digital marketing and demand generation and the like, but building those relationships with individual journalists who in turn become influencers for your product and your brand will always be important to drive that top of funnel activity,” she said.

“Make sure you’re communicating and collaborating with the other marketing functions so that every campaign is aligned. It’s about making sure all your marketing programs are working cohesively together, that you’re in sync and that the marketing, PR and social campaigns are all aligned. Every activity that each arm is doing should be aligned and coordinated to put out a bigger and better story,” she said.

So, building a successful challenger brand isn’t about getting bogged down in specific tactics or channels. The key is to look at the bigger picture and to make sure that all activities feed into an overall business objective.

This is the mindset challenger brands have to adopt if they want to grow in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape. Taking a step back, focusing on the right areas and being prepared to adapt to industry trends will be key to transforming brands from today’s digital disruptors, into tomorrow’s industry leaders.

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