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Clearly, if I want my software to attract enough eyeballs I ought to brand it. Unless of course there isn't any competition.

I'd like to understand your thoughts on how to go about branding your software.

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iron + really hot fire. – Pemdas Jan 7 '11 at 15:45
What sort of software? Shrinkwrap, shareware, custom, consultingware, embedded? Games, personal productivity, system utility, business apps, whatever? – David Thornley Jan 7 '11 at 15:49
@David: I'd not like to get into specifics. But if you think different sorts of s/w have different branding needs, I'd like to hear about that. – Fanatic23 Jan 7 '11 at 15:52
I think you are confusing "branding" with "marketing" – JohnFx Jan 7 '11 at 16:43

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Let's talk for a minute about a brand.

Brands give you two things, if your company does things correctly:

  • Instant recognition
  • Consumer confidence

For instance, some of us are more likely to buy a (insert brand here) laptop because we associate the brand with quality or perhaps excellent service. The whole reason that trade mark exists is to protect the name that consumers identify with positive (or, for the unfortunate) negative attributes of what a company has historically produced. The operative word in that sentence is historically , and you can't get that, well, without history.

The only thing you can do in the short term to build your brand is to not fall on your face. The only thing you can do in the long term to build your brand is to continue to try and not fall on your face.

Examples of falling on your face are:

  • Over promising the next release or version of something and failing to deliver
  • Providing lousy service
  • Violating the privacy of your clients (root kits are a no-no)
  • Angering your clients with strange restrictions (DRM)

Those are things you can prevent. Also, try as hard as you can to avoid scandals where key people are concerned. When it comes to your trade mark, negative press is not good press.

I think your concern at the moment should be strategic marketing, after ensuring that you have the capacity and ability to deliver what you promise in a way that pleases your customers.

You can't build a brand overnight, unless you are a recording artist that fades into history the next year.

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I disagree with your basic premise.

If you want your software to attract enough eyeballs you need to make it useful and you need to promote it. As an example, have a look at a product i have created, called Medi-Hook

Without any promotion, you would not have known that this product existed. Branding is irrelevant at this stage.

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+1 for the plug of your product in an answer about promotion. Made be chuckle. – Craige Jan 7 '11 at 15:56
Yeah, slightly cheeky, and if this website is used by a lot of clinicians and chronically ill people I'll make my fortune! What do you mean we are all programmers? – Ptolemy Jan 7 '11 at 17:43
This promotion effort has, after 4 days generated 18 web page clicks, and zero sales... ;) – Ptolemy Jan 11 '11 at 23:10

I think branding is more about product recognition opposed to "attracting enough eyeballs". I would consider the later flair or packaging. Branding is essentially creating an identity for a product or a company. I think it sill important to have a recognizable identity even if there is currently no competition.

At the most basically level, it is pretty easy, pick a logo. However, your brand is like new born child, no one has any idea how they are going to turn out. The most important part of branding is building positive physiological affects that customers can connect to the brand/logo itself. For example, "brand X is always so reliable" or "man brand x really hit the mark on that one".

As you can see it's not so cut and dry.

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+1 for suggesting a logo. – Fanatic23 Jan 7 '11 at 16:02

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