Technology or Brand Management - Who is in Charge?

Tom Snyder photo by Tom Snyder on Oct 10, 2004

A little while back, I was listening to a local radio talk show host discussing "technology companies." One of the other people on the show mentioned as an example of a technology company, an idea that the host immediately dismissed. "", he said, "sells stuff, and that makes them a retailer...not a technology company." He pointed out that, although Amazon USES technology, so does the broadcasting business. And just because a radio station needs technology to work, that doesn't make it a "technology company."

Not only is he right, but he raises a point that can teach us a critical lesson.

In the decade I spent working at and managing radio stations, I learned how a broadcasting facility works. Transmitters, processors, mixing consoles and automation systems are all critical elements of their operation. It all requires engineers who possess the necessary technical expertise to make it work. These guys are critically important.

All of us listen to the radio, and we can name at least a half a dozen of the personalities we listen to and the names of the stations they are identified with. We know the names of the artists we hear on those radio stations. We even know the names of a bunch of the advertisers we hear on those stations.

But do any of us know the name of a single radio station engineer? Of course not!

There's a reason for that. When we turn on the radio, we don't care about the technology... we care about hearing our favorite people or our favorite songs. The only time we're aware of the technology is when something is wrong. The engineers play a critical role...making the technology as transparent as possible. They have nothing to do with picking the music, or working with the air talent...which, in most cases, is a very good thing. They posses an amazing understanding of electronics. But by their own admission, they have absolutely no clue as to what makes a successful radio format!

So what does this have to do with Web sites? EVERYTHING!

Somewhere along the line, some business decision makers got the tragically mistaken notion that the control of their Web presence needed to be turned over to their tech guys - the IT department. And if they were too small to have their own IT department, they chose computer companies as their outsourced Web vender.

I always chuckle to myself when I hear about a company that builds computers or wires networks trying to position themselves as "Web experts." I immediately get a mental image of how my radio stations would have sounded if I had let my engineers program the music.

Don't get me effective Web presence requires talented folks to maintain the hardware, and to assure that the backend programming is well architected and professionally written so that the necessary interactivity works the way it should. But as we at Trivera have maintained since we opened for business over 8 years ago, a Web presence isn't "about" technology. It IS about reinforcing your brand, communicating your value proposition, underscoring your visual identity, building relationships and accomplishing business transactions.

"Computer guys" (and the companies that consist solely of them) are rarely capable of developing the strategies for these important marketing and brand components. It's not in their skill set or their educational background. Some even say that the two competencies are right-brain/left brain thought processes and thus have a hard time even co-existing in the same person.

But does that make "techies" less important than the brand re-enforcers? Not at all. But their position in the equation is to make sure that any technology required to create the "brand-handshake" between company and client remains transparent. A sound Web site strategy needs to be developed and driven by people who understand the concept of the brand experience and simply executed by the technical people, and not the other way around. It takes a team made up of both, with each understanding their role.

We understand that. That's why we have both types on our team. That is what defines Trivera and differentiates us from many of our competitors. When you work with Trivera, your contact will always be a person who not only understands the concept of brand, but can also communicate brand reinforcing concepts to the designers and technicians in a way that will guarantee the proper execution of your Web strategy and presence.

Don't settle for any less. Your brand is too valuable.

-Tom Snyder,
President and CEO, Trivera Interactive

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