Gaining Influence

Gaining Influence

Across the technology spectrum there are some huge, global brands that dominate their respective markets. Apple, Sony and Nvidia are all great examples of brands with strong brand presence and large customer bases – and there are many more. But what about challenger brands going up against these technological behemoths?  How can they grow their influence, gain more brand exposure and ultimately, grab more market share?

That is exactly what we were tasked with achieving for ViewSonic in the UK. Founded by James Chu in 1987, ViewSonic started out as a business-to-business hardware manufacturer. However – after launching a new line of colour computer monitors in the mid-90s – ViewSonic quickly established itself as a mainstream LCD brand.

Fast forward to 2015 and having opened a European office in London, the company had not been able to maintain much of that momentum, struggling to secure impactful media interest and drive brand awareness.

The last five years have brought a dramatic increase in media exposure, numerous successful product launches – across both LCD and projector ranges – and the development of several high-profile brand advocate relationships. This has led to rapid growth in social following, increased market share in key verticals and, most importantly, growth in UK revenue.

Are you a challenger brand looking to achieve similar success? Here are five important things to remember:

1 – Tell your story the right way

A common pitfall many brands fall into is not focussing enough on their messaging. It is all too easy to shout your sales and marketing messages across your website and social media, but brand loyalty is built on brand values. Creating the right stories for your organisation, people and products means you can engage with consumers on an emotional level and lay the foundations for long-term growth.

2 – Build an army of brand champions (UGC)

The word “influencer” has some negative connotations but finding the right advocates for your brand can support the dissemination of your key messages to wider audiences. For many brands, using social media to develop these relationships results in the creation of engaging user generated content – which new customers are more likely to engage with than traditional advertising.

3 – Know the media

Once you have your brand stories, the challenge is to weave them into the wider news agenda. This is when an experienced PR consultancy is worth its weight in gold. But if resources are limited, make sure you do your research. Tailor your pitches and offer your tier one target media something unique to their readership. And crucially, grow these relationships over time. Touch base with key contacts, invite them to product launches (without always ringing them dry for media coverage) and never miss an agreed deadline. Do not forget trade and vertical media either – this is where many national journalists develop their skills and, who knows, you could be working with the future technology editor at the BBC.

4 – Don’t be afraid to pivot

If the coronavirus has taught brands anything, sometimes in life the best laid PR and marketing plans can very quickly end up in the bin. In those instances, revisit your brand messaging – is it still relevant? Do you need to adopt a new tone? What do your key audiences want from you? Being able to adapt to change quickly means you get first-mover advantage – and can grab market share from ill-prepared competitors.

5 – Patience and determination

As the old adage goes, Rome was not built in a day. Implementing any new PR and marketing strategy takes time. Who would have thought Apple would be where it is today when it was lagging so far behind Microsoft and Intel in the mid-90s?

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations defines PR as “the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”

Your “publics” will be varied and will change over time. By using these basic principles to discover your audience, refine your message and get your stories out into the world, you too can look back in five years’ time on a healthy, growing brand and a job well done.

Liam Andrews


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