Technology has revolutionised how we live, communicate, work, and entertain ourselves, with usage at an all-time high. And yet, trust in the technology industry is at an all-time low, with consumers becoming increasingly disconnected and suspicious of many tech brands.
The early adopters are rapidly becoming rejectors. We’re not talking about the type of person who wants to live off-grid in a wood cabin, but rather those who are more selective about which tech brands they choose to engage with.
The Edelman Report 2023 states that 71% of people say it is more important to trust the brands they buy/use today than in the past. Consumers say that brands’ attempts to engage with them often go wrong when they lack relevance (76%) or authenticity (51%). When consumers trust a brand, they are more likely to purchase its products (59%) and stay loyal to and advocate for the brand (67%).
A dizzying rate of change, countless privacy and security breaches, and questionable ethics have all contributed to a decline in trust, meaning it has become more challenging for brands to establish meaningful connections with their customers.
Customers yearn for deeper, more meaningful connections and for these experiences to be more human. Tech brands need to re-examine their relationships with their customers — what they stand for, what they say and how they behave.
1. The erosion of trust
Trust is the ultimate currency in the relationship between brands and their stakeholders. Typically it can act as a shortcut in a purchasing decision, eliminating the need to evaluate a competitive offering. However, if trust gets damaged, it forces customers to think twice.
Solution: Start with a genuine purpose
One of the strongest drivers of trust today is purpose. When you build a brand with purpose, you create more than just a product or service. You are creating something that resonates with customers on a deeper level. To build a meaningful brand people can trust, start by defining your ‘why’. Consider what the world needs, what your customers want, and what you offer. What is the difference you want to make in the world?
- Why brands with a purpose perform better
- How to uncover your brand purpose
- Purpose is dead, long live purpose
2. Complex & abstract concepts
Technology products and services often involve complex and abstract concepts that can be difficult to communicate effectively. Technical jargon and complicated explanations can alienate customers and make it difficult for them to understand the benefits and value of your brand.
Solution: Embrace the power of simplicity
We live in a time of unprecedented technological complexity. In this frenetic, impersonal digital age, the desire for more can often result in the delivery of less. Information overload creates barriers to engagement. Whilst people want optimum choice and capability, unnecessary complexity creates stress, confusion and inefficiency. People put a premium on experiences that are easy to understand, transparent and honest, care for and meet their needs. Brands that embrace simplicity forge deeper relationships with their customers and employees—and unleash powerful results.
3. Rapidly evolving landscape
The tech industry is evolving exponentially, with new technologies, products, and trends emerging faster than an ill-advised tweet can spread. This dynamic nature can make it difficult for tech brands to stay relevant and adapt their branding strategies to meet changing market demands.
Solution: Adapt or die
Due to this constantly changing landscape, tech brands must adapt to survive. The best tech brands are customer-centric and agile. They listen to their customers, adapt to changing market demands, and deliver value to employees, customers and stakeholders. Tech brands can thrive in this new era by establishing a culture of innovation and designing a consistently valuable customer experience.
- From growth to greatness with brand innovation
- Brands need a culture of innovation in order to survive
4. Perceived coldness and lack of human touch
Tech brands are often associated with technical expertise and innovation, but they can sometimes be impersonal or lack human connection. Overcoming this perception and fostering emotional connections with consumers can be challenging.
Solution: Humanise your brand
When technology is ever more complex and impersonal, a synergistic approach puts people at the centre and creates a more human experience. Firstly, organisations must build the brand from the inside out, as engaged employees will fuel the brand to success. Tech brands must create a culture that guides everything an organisation thinks, says and does. We must recognise that all employees play a role in bringing the brand to life. Secondly, organisations must create meaningful human experiences based on an in-depth understanding of customer behaviours, feelings and motivations.
5. Lack of differentiation
Unsurprisingly, the tech industry is fiercely competitive, with many brands struggling to distinguish themselves amidst a vast ocean of sameness. Standing out in such a crowded landscape is a daunting task, but if you can successfully carve a unique position for your brand, you’ll undoubtedly find success.
Solution: Differentiate to stand out
Brand differentiation is the cornerstone of any brand strategy and is achieved by owning a unique and relevant place in the hearts and minds of customers. Imagine a customer’s mind as a row of pigeonholes; every slot represents a single product or service category. What is the very first brand that comes to mind in that category? For example, does a digital watch = Apple or an electric car = Tesla? Brands can own their pigeonhole by being different.
- Should your brand be different or distinctive? Or both?
- How can my business stand out in a busy marketplace?
6. Overemphasis on features rather than benefits
Tech brands can obsess over the need to highlight the features and specifications of their products, neglecting to communicate the tangible benefits and value they offer customers. Featuritis is a short-term tactic that adds to the increasing noise and clutter in the marketplace; this, in turn, causes paralysis in consumer decision-making.
Solution: Evolve your value proposition
We don’t purchase a product simply because of the often extensive range of features. We now buy brands because they reflect our values, beliefs and aspirations. Your brand value proposition should evolve to include self-expressive benefits which accommodate a deeper and more meaningful connection between brands, customers and employees.