Quick math quiz: What’s the sum of 51,000 customers (many are Fortune 500 companies); 200 worldwide technology partners, distributors, resellers and solution providers; and 1,300 employees around the world? The biggest unicorn you’ve never heard of.
That was the equation Flexera considered as we launched a rebranding process late last year. Flexera is fortunate to have thriving customer and partner communities, excellent industry recognition (we’ve won our fair share of Forrester Waves, Gartner Magic Quadrants and Gartner Customer Choice Awards), and a fantastic work and employee culture — all built on a growing array of great product and service offerings. Even with this, we identified room to improve and expand our brand recognition. As we focused on our rebranding, a few valuable lessons became clear. The takeaways are applicable to any technology company considering a similar project.
Align Yourself with the Customer First
Don’t assume that you already know who your customers are or what they need. Set out to understand not just which companies need your technology product, but which stakeholders within the organization need to be aware of the solutions you offer. What are the needs of varied users, including buyers and tactical managers, implementation experts, and the visionaries in the C-suite?
The process of determining this doesn’t need to be expensive or majorly time-consuming, but it does require an investment of resources. Evaluate quantitative factors such as external brand awareness. Doing quick qualitative research with the right individuals is also effective. For example, what type of communication will be most effective in reaching your target audience? How can you most succinctly demonstrate your areas of differentiation? What are the other brands that your customers are considering and why? How can your brand help your customers accelerate their business? Be empathetic to your customers’ needs.
Over – Communicate
Make sure that your reasons for rebranding are understood by everyone in your company, from the board of directors on down to the interns. What you learned from your customer research becomes your core reason for the rebranding. Give your team the tools they need to be ambassadors of your new branding efforts.
Disseminating this information to everyone in your organization requires more than multiple email blasts. Take a strategic approach to integrating the material into your internal communications so that the core message will be absorbed and used confidently throughout your organization. Recognize that different employees have different learning styles; present information in varied ways that will honor those forms of absorbing information. Consider holding workshops, one-on-one meetings, or multiple larger cross-functional presentations. Share the information and share it again.
Don’t Assume You’re Already Known
Know how your brand sits in the market. Reestablishing your brand is essential to the rebranding process. Don’t be afraid of it. Your company has grown and evolved; so has the technology landscape, your competition and the overall economy. Users have changed for multiple reasons: staff turnover and growth, evolving customer needs, experiences with the marketplace and other providers. Creating data-driven benchmarks helps align all constituents and successfully manages non-marketing expectations.
I believe that when it comes to successfully branding a technology company, it’s not about your technical expertise. It’s about taking the time to understand your customer, overcommunicating your strategy internally, and making no assumptions that you are already known.