As we progress into the final quarter of what has been a tumultuous year, tech marketers and communication professionals will have a few key issues weighing on their minds. After months of strategic pivots and sporadic news cycles, how can we continue separating our brand from the market? And how can we position ourselves going into the new year?
While these questions may seem like they come around every year, our current business landscape complicates things. Due to the events of 2020, many marketers have exhausted their efforts and switched up plans too many times to count. Strategies previously put in place for 2020 and beyond are likely irrelevant at this point. Technology brands have seemingly been flying by the seat of their pants the past few months and will likely continue to do so throughout the end of the year.
This collective reshuffling has become reflective in our business world, with marketers and communicators painting the media landscape with similar viewpoints, rephrased insights, and repetitive messaging. I’m lucky to come across an article devoid of the phrases new normal, unprecedented, in these trying times, or any other number of pandemic colloquialisms.
Thus, tech brands need to go against the grain and find messaging that not only aligns with their target audience but helps them to stick out from the masses.
The current media landscape is oversaturated
Because 2020 quickly wiped away the bulk of companies’ marketing plans, everyone has been playing catch-up simultaneously. This has created a homogenous marketing landscape where you need a fine-tooth comb to find differentiation. Weeks of pandemic pandering has now turned into months.
Regardless of vertical or industry, many technology brands have pivoted alongside the news cycle, being overly reactive, not proactive. This “soup of the day” approach to marketing has led potential customers in circles and hidden brands in plain sight amidst their competitors’ synonymous messaging and content. Google “the impacts of COVID-19 on insert your company’s vertical, industry, business use case”and try sifting through the pages upon pages of results. If keyworded well, your article will be lucky to end up on page three, but will your audience have the patience to find you?
Think outside the box
Instead, technology brands need to think differently and have their communications reflect this. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky once famously quoted: “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” This saying, now turned into a business cliche, is likely quoted worldwide in Monday morning team meetings.
While its sentiments are valid and should be followed by many brands still reacting to yesterday’s news, I think another Wayne Gretzky quote is more applicable to our predicament. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
If brands don’t take risks with their messaging or public relations plans, they will lose the opportunity to make up significant market share and gain prominence in their industry.
Contrarian point of view
This can mean staking a claim with a bold or unpopular opinion to stand out from the pack. Taking the contrarian opinion can breathe new life into your brand and usher in more eyes to your company than ever before. Safe messaging and typical content full of buzzwords and overused jargon is forgettable and non-impactful.
Think of how many trend pieces you have seen discussing the same topics tied to a commonality that furthers a conversation, but doesn’t add to it. Generic trend articles around how COVID-19 will impact the holiday season or typical 2021 predictions hardly move the needle and are likely already in the works by your competitors.
Instead, take a step further to differentiate yourself. Rather than discussing 2021 trends, maybe do a decade in review or what the industry can expect come 2030. Don’t give an obvious recap of how COVID-19 has impacted the retail sector; shed insights into what retail behaviors and strategies will outlive the pandemic and how your audience can prepare.
Ensure your contrarian perspective is factual and relevant to your audience and your brand will glean the results. Taking the road less traveled is a great way to inject some buzz into your company and generate momentum going into the new year.