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Your Brand: The 3 Essential Elements

A recent piece from Modern Media on the essential elements of successful media brands struck me as particularly applicable to tech brands. There are, of course, some standout technology companies that are regularly praised for their branding – Apple, Google and Facebook come to mind – but there are just as many companies that seem unable to articulate the value of their brands in clear, compelling way.

Read through these three elements and think about whether your technology brands are aspirational, accurate, and manage to tell your prospects why it matters.

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Few industries have seen more change than the media industry has in recent years – and you can count on far more changes in the years ahead. Technology has completely disrupted how media brands interact with their customers, and is forcing publishing companies to re-think their value proposition, their distribution strategy, and their business model.

But one thing has not changed: the enduring value and critical importance of brand.

Think about it. As a publisher, your media brand is really the only long-term asset you have. Readership needs to be earned every day. Advertising or sponsorship contracts expire all too quickly. Your technology platform will be out of date the moment it’s launched. But a strong brand is what keeps those readers coming back across formats or applications, keeps advertisers renewing and paying a premium to be in the same room with your readers, and allows you to expand into new markets.

So how do you define your media brand in a way that is clear, compelling and has enduring value? In the years that we’ve worked with publishers to clarify and build their media brands, we’ve identified 3 essential elements that all successful media brands must have:  they are aspirational, they are accurate, and they articulate the why.

1. Aspirational:  People don’t read O, The Oprah Magazine, because they are like Oprah. They read it because they want to be like Oprah — they aspire to be as happy, grounded and creative as she is. This is true for b2b media brands, too: not everyone who has joined the Manufacturing Executive community is truly a high-level executive — but they all want to be one. No matter how “dry” your topic or industry, it is your job to clearly spell out what is exciting or important about it.

2. Accurate:  Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. If your media brand isn’t consistent and clear in every story you publish, in how you go to market and create solutions for your customers, in the design or user interface of your products, then it is just words on paper. It needs to permeate every facet of your culture. And it needs to resonate with what your community already knows about you.

3. Articulate the Why: I need you to tell me a big, aspirational story. It needs to be accurate. But for it to really stick, you also need to tell me why it’s true — and why it matters.  What is it about your point of view that is unique–and how does it manifest itself in your editorial, your conference programming, or your applications? Why is what your readers or community does so important or special? How are they adding value in their market?  How are they changing the world?

The UBM Tech brand statement, as articulated on their newly-relaunched web site, hits all 3 of these essential elements. A business publishing company that produces media brands, marketing and information services for the broad spectrum of technology market decision makers, UBM Tech doesn’t just refer to its readers as technology buyers–they are the people who “define how we live, work and play.”  That’s aspirational.

They are also the only company that can make that statement and have it be accurate: only UBM serves the entire tech market, from the electronics engineer who designs the sensors in your car (live), to the enterprise technology decision maker who manages your company’s CRM (work), to the game and application developer who designed the app you use to make your dinner reservation (play).

And it articulates the why: because technology touches everything. There’s not a single facet of anyone’s life today that isn’t impacted in some way by technology.  This idea alone makes it clear why what UBM Tech does — and what the members of the UBM Tech community do — is so important.

Have you defined how your media brand delivers on all 3 of these essential elements? If not, give us a call so we can help you out!

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Originally posted on December 11, 2012 on Modern Media by Tonia Ries.

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