Four Critical Shifts for Tech Brands Today
Technological advancement has long been a driving force moving society forward. From underlying network advancements to ongoing software and hardware innovations, many of today’s biggest companies have achieved success by being at the forefront of technology.
But when considering what matters to consumers, what does it really take to become a technology leader in this modern era?
In this year’s Prophet Brand Relevance Index®, we once again saw technology’s rising impact in building brands that are relentlessly relevant in consumers’ lives. Major tech companies like Apple, Spotify, Bose and Android have continued to dominate the top five and fast-rising tech brands also captured people’s heads and hearts in an unprecedented way.
While the fundamental principles that define a leading brand stay true, our findings emphasize that the way in which these principles are delivered needs to evolve in order for brands to stay at the technology forefront.
1. Ruthlessly Pragmatic: From Economics and Efficiency to Consistency and Dependability
For many, pre-pandemic living demanded efficiency, productivity and outcomes – and technologies enable that. Tech leaders compete on superior specs, technical ability and cost-effectiveness, especially in Asia. But, one of the likely lasting trends resulting from the pandemic is a shift towards a slower, simpler life. With consumers looking for quality over speed, superior performance is now increasingly defined by a dependable, reliable and consistent experience.
Dyson believes in the value of engineering perfection in daily chores, as opposed to “get it done quickly.” Its strong emphasis on prototyping and refinement to achieve the art of precision is evident across product categories. Consumers trust Dyson for how consistently dependable their products are – no matter if it’s a vacuum or a hairdryer. They can rely on Dyson to accomplish their tasks, without dreading any mishaps when using.
The shift: As we emerge from the pandemic the definition of pragmatism is no longer surface-level results. Brands must use technology in a way that delivers long-term, dependable performance.
2. Pervasively Innovative: From Bigger and Better to Designing with Care
Great technological leaps have been made in the past few decades. Tech brands have focused their innovation story on “bigger, thinner, faster, stronger” to claim leadership. But with a renewed focus on what really matters in life, consumers are more interested in how technology can enable and empower – rather than disrupt – their lives. Innovation is less about “best in the world”, and more about human-centered design that delivers incremental but consequential progress.
Samsung has always been a leader in the TV category. It used to focus on innovations such as OLED and its curve feature but its latest flagship, The Serif, presents a shift – it isn’t the most innovative choice when it comes to the specs (size, thinness, etc.) but it is able to chime into the ambiance of users’ life and become an integral part of their lifestyle.
“Many of today’s biggest companies have achieved success by being at the forefront of technology.”
Peloton also rises fast in the post-pandemic era. It focuses less on hardware advancement but on content creation, offering curated and fresh home exercising experiences that give the brand a unique edge as a user-centric innovator.
The shift: As technology is increasingly democratized, technology leadership can no longer be defined by groundbreaking patents as the only tickets to entry. Instead, innovation can be achieved by zeroing in on customer pain points and leveraging technology in meaningful ways to solve them.
3. Customer Obsessed: From Connected Devices to a Connected World
IoT and smart living aim to create a more seamless life but not all ecosystems today have consumers at their center – some were developed to expand portfolios and create switch barriers. As consumers mature and the future of Web 3.0 fundamentally changes how people connect, the role of technology also needs to move from connecting devices for an easier life to enabling human feelings and interactions, with people’s inner selves, their surroundings and the world at large.
As DJI expands its portfolio, its marriage with Hasselblad wasn’t only about building an ecosystem but also about helping creators experience it differently. Fusing Hasselblad technology onto the consumer drones allows creators to capture extraordinary color and granularity, heighten their senses and strengthen their connection with the world.
The shift: Technology is no longer an end in itself; true customer obsession means using technology as a means to enable and empower meaningful human connections.
4. Distinctively Inspired: From What I Like to What I Believe
The “early adopters” are critical for technology companies and therefore many brands focused on building “newness, imagination or adventure” to mirror their attitudes. But true advocates for a technology leader are people that follow the brand through generations of innovations and upgrades. More than ever, consumers are demanding brands that align with their core beliefs and values and connect them with like-minded individuals.
Where brands normally compete against each other on technicality and performance to win the hearts of consumers, Tesla leads with a core belief to accelerate a sustainable future. It has inspired a like-minded group to follow the brand since its inception. Their unwavering advocacy has become a major driver of Tesla’s exponential growth around the world.
Grab, Southeast Asia’s dominant player, originally in transportation and delivery services, has the mission of driving the region forward by creating economic empowerment for everyone. This belief guides the brand whenever it expands its business horizons. For example, its latest financial products include micro-loans and microinsurance to serve historically underbanked populations.
The shift: Technology is progressive and pervasive. Brands need to go beyond mirroring attitudes and personality expression and must instead lead with core beliefs and shared values that move people and society forward.
To be a leader in technology today means delivering consistent experiences, improving lives through purposeful innovations, enabling meaningful connections and driving societal progress.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we are reentering a world where technology has – and will – continue to play a dominant role in shaping our lives and our collective future. A shift to Web 3.0 will demand brands to pay more attention than ever to how they stay relevant as underlying technologies and consumer expectations continue to evolve.
Download the 2022 Brand Relevance Index® today for more insights on how companies can establish technology leadership to build a more relentlessly relevant brand.
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