Build a stronger SaaS brand so you stand out
17th January 2024
Unique software concepts or functionality only last so long. Your competitors will inevitably update their SaaS products to catch up, ‘stealing’ your killer feature. Inevitably, you’ll end up in a marketplace cluster where it’s hard to stand out.
2023’s MarTech Map gives an idea of just how many companies are competing in just one SaaS segment. Scrolling through the logos really brings home how easy it is to get lost in a sea of similar companies. So, how do you stand out from the crowd?
Enter branding. Consumer businesses have been leveraging brand power for over 100 years, and today’s most successful SaaS companies are still creating standout strategies. By adopting a creative approach, they develop their brands by being aspirational, exciting, and emotionally effective. This creates a unique quality that differentiates them and makes them memorable.
Branding can be made up of names, logos, colours, fonts, personas, and reputations, all of which combine to portray your company. Each of these elements reflects something about your company. The way that you use imagery and words conveys attitudes, beliefs and values. Ultimately, together, all of these factors express the personality of the brand.
When consumers start to associate your values – and the value you can offer them with consistent branding across your platforms, they will have an immediate emotional response to your marketing that outweighs competitors’ efforts.
Create a ‘Branding Moat’
Taking this to the next level is the idea of the ‘branding moat’, which provides a competitive advantage while protecting your company’s long-term interests and market share. Moats could take the form of:
- Technological Superiority: Having advanced technology, unique algorithms, or proprietary systems that are difficult for competitors to replicate.
- Network Effects: The value of the service increases as more people use it, creating a self-reinforcing cycle that encourages more users to join.
- Brand Recognition and Loyalty: A strong brand that is well-known and trusted can be a significant barrier to entry for competitors.
- High Switching Costs: If customers find it difficult, expensive, or time-consuming to switch to a competitor’s product, this can act as a moat.
- Economies of Scale: Larger SaaS companies can often operate more efficiently, with lower per-unit costs, than smaller competitors.
- Data Moat: Accumulating and effectively utilising large amounts of data can provide insights and efficiencies that competitors cannot easily match.
- Customer Relationships and Contracts: Long-term contracts or strong relationships with key customers can provide stable and predictable revenue streams.
- Regulatory Compliance and Patents: Meeting specific industry regulations or holding patents can serve as barriers to entry for new competitors.
Best Practice for SaaS Startup Trademark Protection
While focusing on brand development and differentiation, it’s equally crucial to protect the intellectual property that underpins your SaaS brand’s unique identity. A strong trademark protection strategy ensures your branding efforts – spanning names, logos, and overall brand persona are legally safeguarded against infringement. Learn more here about how to enhance your brand’s resilience in a competitive marketplace by effectively securing your SaaS startup’s trademarks.
Case Study: Slack’s Brand Success
A good example of how a strong brand has proved triumphant is Slack. In late 2013, the service launched to little acclaim as one of many team messaging platforms offering more or less the same features. However, in 2023, it was a ubiquitous name in workplaces across the globe.
- Slack grabbed attention by positioning its product as a whole new way to work. With the simple tagline “Be less busy” and the promise of “an infinite brain for your whole team”, it moved away from promoting its software as a commodity, and toward making it a lifestyle.
- Its marketing copy and tone tell their own story, bringing small bursts of playfulness into the working day. From the loading screen to error messages, Slack creates a distinct persona that sets it apart from other messaging apps and evokes an emotional response.
- The product’s core values shine front and centre, with a feature-rich free plan and a fair billing policy. This taps into the key customer need for cost-effectiveness and builds great brand value.
Create strategic branding partnerships
Another strategic aspect of branding that can help marketing to leap forward is acquiring people, assets, or companies with established reputations, significant web traffic, or complementary functionality.
Acquiring suitable thought leaders means they bring their audience with them; adding assets, such as a newsletter or podcast with hundreds of thousands of subscribers who can be leveraged; acquiring tech companies whose products complement your own and support your vision, can pitch your business up into the next growth tier in a single masterstroke. HubSpot acquiring The Hustle is a good example of this.
Stand Out with a Stellar SaaS Brand
Good branding elevates your company to stand out from the crowd of similar products. Once you’ve got a stellar brand in place, it doesn’t matter if your competitors copy your killer feature. Your customers are already sold on what you stand for and where you can take them.
Ready to stand out from the crowd? Check out our guide to creating a strong brand strategy here.
7 Smart Ideas to Market Your SaaS Business in 2024
This smart concept; Build a Stronger Brand to stand out, is just a glimpse of the valuable insights available in our latest guide ‘7 Smart Ideas to Market Your SaaS Business in 2024’. You can download your free guide here.
Strengthen your brand with Xander Marketing
Xander Marketing is the marketing partner of choice for SaaS businesses that wish to outsource their marketing to a results-focused agency. They have worked with 200+ SaaS businesses globally, helping them grow from strength to strength through more customers, leads, website traffic, and brand awareness.