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Enterprise IT has a messaging problem

Posted by Alex Warren on 8th October 2018

Enterprise IT isn’t sexy. There, I said it.

Despite having numerous clients in the enterprise space and having worked for some of the world’s leading information technology brands, I feel confident in saying that — from a PR perspective — the IT community has a real messaging problem.

This fact was brought home to me last week, when I attended the UK’s leading IT tradeshow, IP EXPO Europe.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with IP EXPO per se. As tradeshows go, it genuinely is one of the best. Bringing together brands and speakers from all over the world, this year’s expo boasted talks from Google’s Carla Echevarria, the author Andrew Keen, Cambridge University’s Beth Singler and even Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

The problem, however, doesn’t lie with the expo, but with the approach that so many brands take when attending it.

Walking around the show floor, I was struck by how many of the world’s leading enterprise IT companies are pushing exactly the same messages. Lost in a sea of AI, blockchain, innovation and digital transformation, it became impossible to tell the difference between one supplier and the next. The logos were different, but the brands were all somehow the same.

The big problem for enterprise IT suppliers is that their products and services often push for incremental change. Large organisations don’t want someone to come in and rip out their existing systems, they want a solution that improves their operations with minimal disruption to the day-to-day. The problem is that incremental change doesn’t make for a sexy brand platform — and it certainly doesn’t make for a newsworthy press release.

To overcome this hurdle, IT marketers and PR professionals turn to the only available option — the buzzword. In the search for differentiation, IT companies must jump on the latest trends, adding to the long line of organisations talking about transformation and innovation in the enterprise space. The irony, of course, is that in doing so, their true differentiation gets lost in the mix.

So what’s the answer? How can enterprise IT companies build a brand presence that truly stands out from the crowd?

The key, as in so many other B2B sectors, is simply to know what you’re good at and to translate that to your stakeholders in an engaging way. What is it that your organisation does better than anyone else, and what does that mean for the rest of the world? So often, businesses get caught up in their own internal messaging that they skip over what it is that makes their organisation interesting to the outside world. They’re so busy talking in terms of “users” and “innovation” that they forget to talk about businesses, society and how their incremental improvements are encouraging genuine, positive change.

That’s the real secret to building a successful messaging strategy within enterprise IT; find the one thing that makes you passionate and that makes your organisation truly matter. Once you have that, the stories you tell and the messaging you define will all fall into place.

To find out how Wildfire creates true differentiation within the enterprise space, check out our Fuze case study.

Alex Warren

Alex uses his in-depth understanding of the media and creative flair to engage target influencers and create stand-out results for every client campaign. In 2016, Alex published his first book, Technoutopia, which explores the impact of technology on the media. He now regularly contributes articles and opinions to Huffington Post, Marketing Week and MinuteHack.

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