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TechNation Notepad

TechNation insights: How to prepare your brand for scale

TechNation is a UK network empowering ambitious tech entrepreneurs to grow faster through growth programmes, digital entrepreneurship skills, a visa scheme for exceptional talent, and by championing the UK’s digital sector through data, stories and media campaigns.

TechNation’s most recent event featured over 20 early-stage and mid-stage cyber scaleup companies as well as four guest speakers from three established businesses in the UK – including our very own, Naeem Alvi, Founder and MD at Notepad.

The session was packed with presentations, workshop exercises, group discussion and Q&A’s to help this year’s cohort of tech startups in the cyber security arena, bolder and refine their marketing, branding and PR skills. In our session we helped founders get a taste of the challenges they will face in scaling up their brand and marketing.

Here are the key learnings we shared with the cohort:

  • Branding is not a dark art. Your brand is the emotional perception of your business. It is essential to manage customer perception effectively to create real commercial and creative advantage.
  • Branding is all about trust and building relationships with consumers. Good branding makes a product the first and only choice, and success is bred through positive recommendations and repeat business.
  • Brand driven business are two times more profitable.
  • Strong positioning should sit at the heart of your brand strategy. By knowing exactly who you’re targeting, where you play, and what unique benefits you offer, you’ll set a clear course for scaling up. With your positioning outlined, it’s much easier to articulate your proposition and map out a clearer brand strategy.
  • As you scale beyond 30 people, your culture will naturally shift. Protecting what makes your culture great when you’re small is vital when scaling up. Otherwise you risk losing good people, and reducing productivity.
  • Values are great. They give everyone guiding beacons for behaviour and ensure your team deliver a consistent experience. However, as you scale values become much more open to interpretation. Not everyone can see the founding team every day, and over time, new values can form. To keep your people behaving in the right way as you scale, each value needs further defining with a list of behaviours.
  • Branding and marketing must go hand in hand and one cannot function properly without the other. If your marketing is failing, somewhere further upstream you most likely have a brand problem that needs rectifying.
  • As you expand your business into new countries, cultures, and geographies, you will face a lot of communication challenges. Further to technical challenges, if you do start to build teams overseas, it can be even harder to keep your marketing consistent. The key is to make sure your story travels universally, and everyone knows it.
  • All great stories solve a problem. Finding what’s your deeper ‘why’ for doing what you do is essential to narrowing the gap between your business and your customers.
  • Having a strong universal story that’s backed up by real purpose will stand the test of time. Knowing your future positioning and having a clear target audience will keep you on track. Outlining behaviours to support your values and will make all the difference.
  • The key to scaling successfully is standardisation. Have clear guidelines, and repeatable processes. Just like with marketing your brand, it’s all about consistency.

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