For the first time for a while many tech businesses are facing stormier waters, so it’s a good time to check that your marketing and communications strategies are fit-for-purpose.
Here are five areas we reckon are worth thinking about:
Risk evaluation is much under-used in comms. We all know successful tech brands are bold in their communications. If they have managed to get funded, IPO etc then the world thinks they have a great proposition so why wouldn’t they? The question is how bold? Get it right and the CEO is a superstar. Get it wrong and the market consequences can be severe.
So, it is down to the comms team to work out the right level of boldness and assess how big a gap between vision and reality can be effectively bridged. Then it’s about making sure that the leadership don’t just buy into the strategy but are prepared to follow through on it when they present. Too often bold strategies get watered down in execution which can leave everyone disappointed with the results. Working together with leadership to agree the tolerable level of risk can help avoid this.
Those of you who know Simon Sinek’s book ‘Start with Why’ will know where I am coming from on this one. All successful brands are born because of a ‘why’ but, as they grow up, as they hit competition, they get lost in the ‘what’ and the ‘how. The ‘why’ is about the gap between the experience the customer would like to get and the one they currently receive. The more passionate and dramatic the articulation of the ‘why’ the more powerful the narrative will be. Brands should constantly go back and ask themselves whether they are still starting with the ‘Why’. This is especially true if their product or service makes a positive contribution to the environment or society. Even if the company is no longer unique in its offering, they can gain an edge in the way they tell their story.
The pandemic accelerated many marketing and comms trends. We know from our research that there were many less articles in the national press than five years previously unless the brands discussed societal issues. Events are still important, but brands do less and make the budgets work much harder. The role of online and social moved to the centre of many brands’ strategies and therefore ‘right-first-time’ agility became of paramount importance. The ability to produce engaging, interesting content, on a daily basis, moved brands to set up content factories.
As a consequence of all this, and the global nature of online, many organisations took time to assess their marketing and communications structures and roles and embark on transformation strategies. In a WFH world, more than ever, brands are competing for customer time with news and entertainment. The bar for B2B storytelling and content has been raised forever.
Professional development in this changing world has become ever more important. Marketing and communications professionals need to be up-to-speed with the latest thinking, techniques and channels. At Brands2Life we have put all our 180 staff through ten hours of Digital Diploma this year, run by our in-house experts, but not everyone is lucky enough to have access to such expertise. (And, even if they do, do they have the time?).
This is particularly true of those on the corporate side whose organisations often don’t automatically provide the depth and breadth of training marketing and comms professionals need. Increasingly helping our clients navigate the challenges around professional development and providing skills training is a central part of our comms transformation offer.
Successful client/agency relationships have to cope with far more change than ever before. Whatever field someone works in the desire to be involved from the start of the process is universal. A film director doesn’t want to be told what shots to shoot. A fashion designer doesn’t want to be told to produce twenty mid-length dresses in blue. The same is true of agency professionals. They want to have input into the strategy and the story as well as the content and execution.
Of course, the client needs to be sure the agency has invested the time to understand the market, the company and the products properly so they don’t waste anyone’s time. Our best client relationships happen when we are trusted to advise and execute, from day one, hand-in-hand with our marketing and comms contacts with access to senior management when required. When this happens, we can help our clients stay one step ahead and our programmes will be best-in-class, deliver business impact and remain truly agile.
So, some food for thought. Will be interested to hear people’s views.