May 9, 2019
Think Tank

Branding Benefits for Tech Startups

Wassim Askoul

believe in the power of brand awareness, brand strategy, and brand acceleration when it comes to retaining customers for a product in the tech industry. This belief stems from my own experience as the co-founder of SiSTEM, a VR startup. My team and I spent almost a year perfecting our product before the initial release of the beta version. The only thing we missed was creating a brand that would encapsulate the product, the vision, and the company as a whole. The brand creation process proved to be effective with an increase of interest of the same product by customers and investors. Our target audience were able to connect with the mission underlined by the product. Justin Kan, a partner of Y Combinator and co-founder of Atrium and Twitch said: “[Tech] Startups mostly don’t compete against each other, they compete against no one giving a shit.” This statement speaks directly to the importance of brand awareness. According to Kan, brand awareness should be a defining goal for any tech startup.

Through my research, I found that there are two major brand strategies that were used by exemplary tech companies: product-focused and visionary-focused brand strategy. Microsoft creates software products that fixate on the specs and quality of the product. Their brand strategy is to shine the light on the superiority of their solutions, especially, to their business clients. As for the visionary-focused brand strategy, it is displayed in companies like Tesla. When I watch Tesla’s product launches, the crowd is excited about the person presenting more than the product. Elon Musk, represents the vision Tesla is trying to create in the world. That brand strategy proves to be effective too; for example, George Hotz, creator of Jailbreak and His startups focused so much about what he believes and what he is all about to the extent that now he would ask questions like: “If I build this, wouldn’t you buy it?”

I would like to end this article with a summary of what I have come to realize. As a tech founder, I do believe that the product needs to be in good condition, but not necessarily perfect. Brand creation and brand awareness, whether with a product-focused or visionary-focused strategy, are equally important to the success of the product. Remember you are competing against people not caring about your product. Finally, as the customer base grows, keeping those customers in sync with the brand through a brand acceleration strategy is equally needed as debugging and upgrading the product.