Positioning A Tech-First Brand To Be Successful At A Brand Level

By Matt Warren, Chief Growth Officer, MMT

When MMT was first founded in 1999, in a bedroom in Uppingham, Rutland by Ben Rudman and James Cannings, the company stood for ‘Multimedia Textbooks – a phrase long since forgotten. A leader in combining technology, experience design and lean product delivery to help organisations digitally enable their businesses better, MMT has since become one of the UK’s leading digital consultancies, helping clients build digital products that transform business performance.

Having started off as a small agency with big ambitions, the last two decades have taught us that change is the only constant in the digital and tech industry. We quickly realised that in order to allow us to drive MMT forward and deliver real value for our clients, our positioning and brand had to reflect this industry evolution. It was when we were reshaping MMT’s proposition and services that we realised our brand had to reflect this new positioning – because the tech world is no longer a separate entity, it has evolved to move front and centre of business strategies across almost every industry vertical today. And with that, consumers are interacting at the tech-level more than ever before. We are seeing branding become one of the biggest differences between the successful and not-so-successful digital agencies in the hyper-saturated industry that we’re in.

A brand should always be thought of as forming the businesses’ DNA, and in holding such an invaluable position, should be nurtured, curated, and developed on a continuous basis. What might come across as obvious to some, but above all else a successful brand identity allows potential target consumers to understand your services, remember you and want to establish contact. It becomes even more crucial when the service or product you offer isn’t entirely easy to understand and digest at a consumer-level. Brands have a powerful influence on purchasing decisions, so it’s natural to assume that every brand wants to do everything to ensure they build on their credibility, memorability, and distinctiveness in their respective industry.

When we enlisted the help of our friends at MSQ, global brand and design consultancy Elmwood, in ensuring our brand was in line with our updated strategic proposition and ready to take on the digital consultancy space, the team recognised the need for a brand refresh to ensure it aligned to our new positioning and delivered on our future-facing strategy. Without this, there would be no first impression to our target audience that speaks directly to the brand promise we want to deliver on.

Our unique agile and human approach dedicated to making big projects happen helped to set us apart and truly make digital change happen, so it was important that telling this story didn’t compromise our team’s technical expertise and leading-edge offer. Elmwood helped us deliver on the technical through a brand identity which felt fresh, relatable, and energetic in an industry sector where this can be tricky to achieve. In our saturated environment where change is the only constant, brand plays a significant role in connecting people and services. The advancements and upgrades taking place means maintaining that connection becomes increasingly complex so strong brands with a solid brand ID are able to cut through this maze and be certain that their service and messaging is heard, understood and absorbed amongst all the other noise.

Evolving a technology-first brand through a new brand and proposition 

The proliferation of digital transformation has meant that the competitive landscape is bigger than ever before, and differentiation at the service level can become more challenging to clearly outline during a consumer’s FMOT (first-moment-of-truth). That’s where brand becomes paramount – it is the point where you are able to connect with the consumer on a deeper level that makes you memorable, unique, and desirable over that of somebody else.

As a tech-heavy business playing in the digital transformation category, it becomes even more valuable to have a brand identity which clearly defines our services to a target audience who might not understand the language used which makes up our business model. In other words, you need to ensure that your brand is understandable at the first point of contact to individuals looking to use your services but are not knowledgeable in that space themselves. That’s especially relevant to us where brands and individuals require our services to optimise and drive their digital capabilities, but where in many cases they aren’t aware of exactly how to achieve this themselves. As a specialised consultancy, we’re expected to deliver on these needs, but we still need to talk about them to an audience who doesn’t have the same level of in-depth understanding that we do. This is where how you use your brand becomes crucial in converting awareness into business.

Using your brand identity to talk to the everyday consumer

As a digital consultancy, MMT are leaders in combining technology, experience design and lean product delivery to help organisations digitally enable their businesses better. Our services include everything from strategic consultancy, digital product delivery and cloud services – but how we communicate that to the everyday consumer who doesn’t have extensive knowledge in this space is as crucial as communicating these services. Without the basic understanding of what our consultancy can deliver, we would fail to resonate with an audience in addressing why they should be using our services. No surprise that this can be done at a brand-level to achieve the highest return.

We strive to deliver as effectively as possible on digital briefs and support clients on their Digital Transformation Journeys, but if our brand identity didn’t reflect this then there would be a disconnect between brand and service. That’s one of the biggest dangers you can get into as a brand – the two must be in sync or risk being unable to connect your mission and distinctiveness to your audience.

When we think about conveying, what many would consider to be complex technical ideas, to people with less technical backgrounds required to understand our business services, we need to create an experience that is creative, memorable, and personal. Without that, the risk that you don’t retain the attention from your audience and convey the distinctiveness of your services compared to that of a competitor, is high. So, successful branding brings value in ways that you can’t disregard it as something that’s not incremental to your business.

Where creativity comes into play in the technology space 

When most people think of technology, or the word “tech”, they think of a hyper-competitive space where the race to define the future and new ways of functioning as a society have become the new norm. And yet, few would link it to creative terminology that we’re so comfortable to use in the standard design, logo, and branding worlds.

That’s where part of the problem lies – creative has largely been defined in ways which tie to certain industries, sectors and outputs over others. No surprise that the technology space hasn’t been one of them, and in terms of the world of digital consultancies we’re finally starting to see a shift in agencies embracing creativity at the core of their offerings.

The word “creative” needs to be redefined to reflect an expression of new or novel ideas which are designed with the intent of solving brand and business problems.

Increasingly, injecting creativity into a brand within the technology sector has been crucial in speaking to an audience pool who previously wouldn’t communicate with your business at a brand-level that it does today, thanks to the internet and social media where the proliferation of choice and content makes every user in charge of their own source finding mission. Placing greater importance in developing a creative brand identity that falls in line with your strategy and proposition allows it to feel friendly, easy to access, and less intimidating. Creativity, regardless of its sector, drives the brand identity and delivers on it being memorable, distinct and invaluable to the business. Particularly in our space where technology is moving at a pace where keeping up with the latest and greatest is becoming a more complex job than ever before, speaking to your target audience through a brand identity that can communicate its messaging through a creative lens has become almost an unavoidable thing to do as a brand if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd.

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