How to Define and Create Your Hardware Brand

(Photo: Maarten Visser/Flickr)

(Photo: Maarten Visser/Flickr)

Defining and building an amazing brand is one of the most important ingredients in creating a successful hardware startup. Although it feels like a squishy, less important subject, it’s not. Even the amazing technology you are working on won’t be the “company x” killer you want it to be, unless it becomes more well known than “company x.”

No better example than Contour vs GoPro. A nightmare I lived as the CEO of Contour, we focused on having the best, easiest to use product, only to get crushed by GoPro who exclusively focused on building brand. We continued to lose because we did a poor job of branding (had three different names over our life time) and finding repeatable tactics to reach more customers. Even though I expected customers to eventually realize they looked like a tele-tubby, they didn’t. They were content with the initial choice they made.

This cycle continues to be played out in the hardware startup ecosystem. Fitbit, Nike+, and UP fight it out with activity trackers.  August, Lockitron, and Kevo, with smart locks.  SmartThings, Snupi, Twine, Wigwag, Canary and a host of others are all offering different sensors to track your house.  The list goes on and even though each company has a slightly different offering it’s very hard to make those differences clear to every day consumers.

At the end of the day, brand helps customers answer THE question, “Which one should I buy?”

As part of the series about how to bring your hardware product to market, I’ve creating a collection of short posts to help you wage the brand war.  Here are a few of the topics we will cover:

Marc Barros is an entrepreneur who co-founded Contour and Moment. Check him out on Twitter @MarcBarros or at How to Define and Create Your Hardware Brand