Brand, Decoded — Chapter 2

Your Story Is Your North Star

For big tech brands looking to stand out in an increasingly crowded space, brand is your secret weapon. If you start with a simple story and stay true to who you are, you’re setting yourself up for both short and long-term success.

Keep it simple

Brand is about much more than reputation; it’s a shorthand for your business. For tech companies, the constant challenge is to simplify inherently complex products and services without minimizing forward-leaning features or perceived value. Compounding this is a constant stream of innovations. Add this all up, and a simple story can feel out of reach.

Sullivan recently helped cryptocurrency solutions company Chainalysis solve this challenge. The crypto world in general is complicated and understanding Chainalysis’s specific role can be daunting. Governments understand what Chainalysis does, but as the company looked to grow their client base to exchanges and businesses, they needed to clarify their positioning and story. Part of their unique value proposition is that Chainalysis educates and empowers users to gain transparency into what’s happening on blockchain. We have helped elevate this core competency and carved out an ownable niche: being the blockchain analysis company.

Stick to it for the long-run

With so much rapid change, it’s important to put a stake in the ground as tech brands can’t afford impermanence. In a world of echo chambers, your brand story should be as enduring and stable as your promises to customers.

Google’s well-known brand purpose around organizing the world’s information has never changed, allowing them to constantly explore and experiment in a focused way. Google has recently launched its first, perfectly-timed brand campaign. “Here to Help” is a simple, natural expression of its evergreen story.

Consistency, consistency, consistency

Now here’s the best news: nailing your brand story is actually a twofer. When done well, it drives engagement and differentiation with the outside world. But more important — and more often overlooked — your brand story acts as your singular North Star, driving clarity and consistency across every communication, touchpoint, and experience, reinforcing your value to consumers.

Google applied their new “Here to Help” brand message all the way down to the product level across Search, Google Assistant, and Google Cloud. This demonstrates just how simple it is to achieve consistency, regardless of a brand’s complexity, evolving offerings, or breadth of portfolio.

All in the family

We frequently see the struggle for this level of consistency in our work across B2B companies with unwieldy org charts. When portfolios include both cutting-edge acquisitions and legacy offerings, consistency is often the first thing to go. It’s easy for business units or product teams to feel at odds with their parent brand or fellow business unit. But when people start to see conflicting messages from the same source, they stop believing.

We recently helped international tech conglomerate Cognizant address this challenge through a simple marketing toolkit. It’s helped product owners at the business unit level define their value proposition, while still serving Cognizant’s broader brand positioning of digital transformation. Across a sprawling global portfolio, all it took was a short playbook to tighten the reins.

In our next chapter, we’ll explore how visual identity can drive further clarity and consistency as you bring your brand to life.