When an MSP grows and becomes more mature, its owners eventually recognize the need for sales and marketing operations. And yet, many still overlook branding. Although not essential and, for sure, not the first thing to build your MSP around, recognizable branding, such as the vision and the mission statement, the elements of design embedded into various details of your website, office interior, and clothes might become a small, yet visibly shining gem that will allow you to stand out from the crowd even more.
In this article, we will discuss how branding might help your managed IT business and what key components of MSP branding you should make use of.
Why MSPs Need Branding
Branding includes a wide variety of self-presentation activities, visual and aural signs, starting from the mission statement and up to your logo on the flash drive in your staffer’s pocket. But why do you actually need to care about this?
On the internal level, branding helps to make your employees more attached to their workplace. The mission statement and messaging and the brand-reinforcing clothes will change your team’s attitude to their daily routines.
From the customer perspective, though, branding allows you to convey the right impression to your clientele at each step of the customer journey. Even if you are running a small team, a neat uniform, a carefully designed logo and clear and concise messaging will let your prospects and clients know that they are working with a team of highly skilled professionals.
MSP Branding Key Components
A brand is the perception of a company you get when you interact with its various components. Here are the key elements that will allow you to build your elements:
- Design. First of all, you should spend some time designing your logo and embed it into your website and printed materials. If you have time and money, you can go one step further and create a design guideline that sets out the rules of usage of your design elements, including colors and fonts. Research by Reboot in 2018 showed that color alone can raise your brand recognition by up to 80%.
- Slogan. It might take you days to come up with a good slogan, but the time spent is totally worth it. A catchy and easy-to-remember phrase embedded into your corporate culture and design will slowly but certainly cement itself in the minds of both your employees and your customers.
- Messaging and mission statement. Messaging is the gathering together of your corporate values and statements that are consistently spread across your website, social media, each marketing resource you use, and even your sales pitches. It should highlight your core features and strengths and be short and concise. When creating messaging, there's no need to come up with essay-length documents. You need no more than 2-3 statements to build your message around them.
- Consistent content. As with the messaging, your content should look and feel as if it was written by your company. But how do you achieve that? Well, the posts and messages should be written in the same manner, the videos should be shot by the same people and, preferably, on the same background, and your presentations and brochures should have the same styles, including fonts, texts, table layouts, and colors.
Further reading Content Marketing Tips from a Seasoned MSP
- Clothing and wearables. Your customers will form their impression of your MSP on the basis of the things and people they see and meet. These are your promo materials, you as the owner of the company, and your team, once they become customers and need on-site services. So, you should embed logo and corporate colors into what you wear and bring with you in order to create a solid image.
MSP Branding Benefits
So, what are the perks that you will get thanks to having a strong brand?
- Identity. If you are operating in a highly populated area, chances are there is quite strong competition between MSPs. And, with the technology and solutions accessible to everyone thanks to the magic of SaaS and the cloud, it is not that easy to stand out from the crowd simply on the basis of the services you provide. It's the brand that can give you the identity you need in a dense market.
- Trust. If your brand looks firm and professional, your tech staffers have clean vests and polos with your logo on it, and your website design and fonts are aligned and stylish, your prospects and clients will feel more secure and assured about your services.
- Ease of recruitment. People generally love to be a part of a great team and a great company. And that perception is formed from what they hear about your company and what they see when they meet it.
MSP Branding Challenges
Creating brand identity, styling, and writing guidelines, aligning fonts, and messaging is a tricky task. According to the Demand Metric, less than 10% of B2B companies say their branding is very consistent. There are a number of other challenges you will face when building your brand:
- Budget and expertise. Let's face it, most people when they start their businesses don't have the budget to spend on designers, or time to think up a catchy slogan. The founders of startups try to create their websites themselves, find some logos on the internet, download a bunch of templates for their presentations and start landing clients. While not a particularly bad thing (in the end it's far better than spending all the money you have on a fancy logo while not securing the revenue), a strong brand cannot be built by the founder trying to be a salesman, a technician and a businessman all at the same time. Thus, at some point, you have to find a professional designer and discuss your vision of the company in order to create a logo, corporate colors, and other guidelines.
- You should believe in it. You and your team should respect your brand, and you should believe in your mission statement and your vision. Your tech staffers should carefully use your brand guidelines when they engage with the clients. All that will help you create a stronger perception of your brand for both your clientele and your team. Otherwise, your brand will become just a flashy and exciting picture.
- Your personal opinion matters. In today’s highly reactive and toxic world, it's easy to hurt your brand with a strong political or social post on social media. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 64% of consumers would boycott the brand solely because of its position on this or that issue.
All Show and No Go
It might sound as if the brand is a panacea that could become the main driver for your MSP. But it is not. It is a powerful boost for your business, and yet a mere glue to hold together the various components of what you are doing into a whole thing. It won't build a long-lasting impression for your customers by itself. So, when focusing on brand identity, design, logo, vision, and statement, don't forget that you can only earn people's trust and respect through exceptional services, care, and attention.