Steve Miller
February 6, 2024

Strategic Branding: Your Guide to Informed Decision-Making

Intentional decisions make the difference between dominance and obscurity. Sounds dramatic. But in the start-up space, pace is rapid. You have to make an impact FAST.

Five core factors are crucial when making brand decisions. In this blog, we’ll dive into each core factor, why they matter, and how to approach decision-making to achieve the best possible outcome.

FACTOR 1: It’s ALWAYS about your audience

No matter your sector or product, your brand has to speak to your target market. If it doesn’t, you’ll get lost in the noise.

You’ll need to get up close and personal with your market’s pains, desires, challenges, and obstacles so you can communicate effectively.

A tech-savvy, well-informed audience demands a brand that’s technical, precise, and solution-oriented.

As an example, take GitHub. Its branding resonates with its developer audience through its clean interface, efficient tools and a tone of voice that reflects a deep understanding of the coding community.

GitHub homepage example

Key considerations

  • Precise communication: In tech and saas, products are complex, so tailored messaging is critical. Always ensure that your message resonates with their specific needs.
  • Relevance resonates: Tech-savvy customers seek solutions that address their pain points directly. So, connect your solution with their needs and you’re onto a winner.
  • Data informs audience analysis: Never make assumptions about your audience and wherever possible, capture real-time data. Feedback loops, data analytics, customer surveys, social listening, and online communities are invaluable for understanding your industry’s communications, frustrations and struggles.  

How to approach decision making

  • Empathetic design thinking: Placing empathy at the core of your brand decisions (and putting yourself in your customers’ shoes) shapes every aspect of your brand from visuals to messaging.
  • Iteration is everything: Customer needs change fast, especially in tech. Adopt an iterative approach to branding, continuously refining your strategies based on changing market dynamics and audience feedback.
  • Collaboration between teams: You’ll get the best insights via collaboration between marketing, product development, and customer support teams. Encourage cross-functional collaboration wherever possible to ensure that every touchpoint with your brand aligns with your audience's expectations.

FACTOR 2: Differentiation is key (but not at all costs)

Differentiation in tech is tough. Once you find your unique value proposition, it needs to touch every aspect of your brand, from logo to messaging to UX.

Slack is a great example of this approach. Their focus on playful design and a simple user interface changed team communications, adding value beyond functionality.

Slack homepage example

Key considerations

  • Differentiation avoids the ‘sea of sameness’ problem: So many tech and saas brands look and feel the same whilst offering similar products. Without a distinct identity, your brand risks getting lost in a crowd of interchangeable products. That said, pay close attention to what your market needs, wants, and expects from your brand.
  • Your UVP builds perceived value: Differentiation creates distinction, separating you from your competitors and carrying with it a higher perceived value.
  • Higher perceived value facilitates customer loyalty: When your value spans more than functionality, you create an emotional connection with your audience. They buy into you and your way of doing things - the true power of brand.
  • Conduct periodic market analysis: Understanding your competitors, and stay ahead of industry trends helps you to spot gaps where others fall short and pinpoint opportunities to strengthen your market position (e.g. investing in innovative UX to exceed users’ experiences and create delight).

How to approach decision making

  • Knowledge is power: Do a brand audit to assess your positioning, messaging, and visual identity. Identify elements that align with your desired differentiation and those that need refining, and ensure that every touchpoint reinforces your positioning.
  • Use storytelling: Create a brand story that communicates your journey, the you’ve challenges overcome, and the unique aspects that define your brand.
  • Consistency in Differentiation: Consistency is key in embedding and reinforcing differentiation. Ensure that your brand elements - colors, messaging, imagery - are consistently aligned with your unique positioning. Uniformity builds recognition and reinforces the distinctiveness of your brand in the minds of your audience.

FACTOR 3:  Consistency across channels

Consistency is a must when establishing trust with your audience. Uniformity of colors, logos, and messaging across all touchpoints, creates a cohesive brand experience and ensures strong brand recall.

Consider Salesforce, whose color scheme and cloud logo have become synonymous with cloud-based solutions.

Salesforce homepage example

Key considerations

  • Building trust, credibility and brand recognition: A consistent brand creates credibility. Uniformity of experience across touchpoints and channels creates familiarity and instills confidence in your business’s reliability.
  • Creating a memorable brand experience: Whether navigating your website, engaging with your content, or using your product, a unified brand presence enhances a user’s experience.

How to approach decision making

  • Create brand guidelines: Write down the details of your visual identity and messaging that define your brand. They leave no room for uncertainty and act as a reference for anyone creating content or making brand-related decisions.
  • Routine audits and updates: Social listening and regular audits of your brand presence ensure you maintain consistency while leaving space for change as your brand evolves.
  • Internal alignment and training: Everyone in your organisation must understand the importance of brand consistency. Give training and resources to your teams so they’re empowered to share the brands message and maintain your brand standards.

FACTOR 4: Allowing for evolution

Every business evolves and in the tech space change is rapid. Your brand should have the flexibility to align with both your business objectives and the wider industry.

A great example of evolving to stay relevant is Microsoft’s transformation from a Windows-centric company to a cloud-focused, open-source advocate.

Microsoft homepage example

Key considerations

  • Keeping up with market trends: A flexible brand can quickly adapt to changes in user preferences, industry shifts and tech advances. An inflexible one simply disappears.
  • Exceeding customer expectations: A flexible brand can respond swiftly to changing needs, wants, and expectations. A business that prioritises flexibility, remains in tune with what its customers value.
  • Flexibility encourages innovation: Brands that embrace change encourage a culture of experimentation. They’re more likely to explore new ideas, technologies, and approaches - finding fresh perspective and adapting their offering to suit.
  • Adopt an agile strategy that allows for quick adjustments: Allow yourselves the option to embrace opportunities by regularly reviewing market conditions, customer feedback, and technological advances.
  • Create a scalable visual identity: Ensure your visual identity can be adapted across applications and contexts. A flexible logo, colour palette, and design elements allow your brand to maintain consistency while adapting to different marketing channels and platforms.
  • Openness to user feedback: Actively seeking out feedback from users is crucial in understanding evolving expectations and identifying areas for improvement.

How to approach decision making

  • Regular market analysis: Routine analysis will ensure you stay ahead of industry trends and make informed decisions that keep your brand relevant.
  • Scenario planning: Anticipate potential changes in the market and industry so you can prepare for different outcomes and make agile decisions when needed.
  • Iterate: Product development allows for continuous improvement and adaptation. So does branding - it’s never one and done.

FACTOR 5: Authenticity of narrative

Authenticity is a bit of a buzzword, but that’s because people have woken up to the fact that your brand story matters. Showcasing the human side of your business has the power to change hearts and minds.

Take Zendesk. They humanise customer support through relatable, humorous content that emotionally connects them with their audience, creating loyalty and advocacy.

Zendesk homepage example

Key considerations

  • Challenging skepticism: Tech customers are well-informed. When your brand is genuine and transparent, it resonates with customers who seek honesty over industry jargon.
  • Human connection creates brand advocates: Customers seek connections with real people, especially in a space dominated by codes and algorithms. Brands who live their values create loyal customers who, in turn, become advocates.
  • Create clarity of values within and outside your business: Knowing what you stand for and the principles that guide your decision-making is crucial, as is consistent communication across the organisation.

How to approach decision making

  • Align values with actions: Authenticity isn’t only about what you say, it's about what you do. Every business decision, product update, or communication must align with your brand values.
  • User-Generated content and testimonials: Incorporate user-generated content and testimonials into your brand narrative. Showcase real stories and experiences from your customers as powerful social proof.
  • Admit mistakes and iterate: Authenticity is not about being perfect, it's about being genuine. If your brand makes a mistake, admit it, and demonstrate a commitment to learning and improvement.

To finish…

There we have it! Five factors that influence decision-making, key considerations, and where to begin with branding decisions.

For more info, advice, and guidance on branding, or for a no-obligation chat, get in touch!

Steve, our founder, would love to hear from you.

Lovable. Viable. Believable.
Brands and websites for B2B startups.

Registered Company 9912500 —
VAT 252381712