IT Support – An unsexy industry?
By MyHelpster On July 22, 2014
Matthias Müller, the chairman of the Porsche AG board of management, stated in a Forbes interview in 2013: “Volume is not a main target for us […]. Important is that the brand and the product are sexy.” With this statement Müller, CEO of Porsche AG, pinpoints that a certain sex appeal of products and brand is critical and brings great value for businesses nowadays.
Why is a sexy industry important?
Indeed, “sexy” is becoming more and more a keyword when describing products/services, which are appealing and exciting, reinforced by so-called hot brands. But, at this point one question comes to mind: How does the image of sexy brands and products evolve and why is it so important for businesses? And what happens with businesses that do not exhibit this sex appeal in their products and brands?
Building upon above-introduced questions, some theoretical clarifications concerning products/services and brands are needed. A brand identity is based on the self-perception of the company in contrast to the brand image, which is the developing perception of the external observer in a long-term perspective towards the brand. In order to guarantee a successful brand image development in the customer’s memory a well-defined brand identity needs to be developed and afterwards the brand, orientated by the target customer group, needs to be positioned in the market. In addition, the market positioning is supported by specific marketing activities to communicate the brand. The target group meaning potential customers, hence develop an image about the brand based on the ability to identify themselves emotionally with the values of the brand. The easier customers can connect emotionally with the brand the more likely the brand is perceived as appealing and exciting, this = sexy. This is the reason why it is crucial for businesses to develop a solid brand identity, which clearly describes the brand’s existence and what it stands for from the company’s point of view. Since the brand identity lays the basis for the fit between the company’s brand self-perception and the customer brand image.
In fact, there are some products/services, which are by nature more appealing to customers than others. This line of thought can be traced back to the theory of industries. Industries are usually classified into sectors: Primary or extractive, secondary or manufacturing, and tertiary or services. Additionally, industries can also be identified by product. Therefore, an industry serves as a natural categorization instrument of products/services, since an industry defines to a certain degree the nature of its particular products/services. This ultimately leads to the conclusion that a(n) un)favoured brand image in customers’ minds stands and falls, in the majority of cases, with the industry category.
If one takes the following two categories of industries into consideration, the natural influence of an industry towards the customer’s perception of a sexy product is clear and hence a sexy image becomes evident.
Category 1: Biotechnology & pharmaceuticals, health care, mining & drilling …
Category 2: Consumer goods & services, automotive, food & beverages …
By comparing the above two categories, “Category 1” seems intuitively pretty “unsexy” in contrast to “Category 2”. This example demonstrates that customers would rather emotionally identify themselves with a drink or a car than with medicine or a piece of coal. In fact, industries in “Category 2” inherit products and brands that are perceived by customers as very appealing with hot brands such as Coca Cola or BMW. Everyone knows these brands; they have catchy TV commercials, print campaigns placarding big buildings in city’s prime locations, and great Guerrilla campaigns that go viral in the social media space within minutes. As a consequence, firms in sexy industries are able to build the fundament for a sexy brand image in consumers’ minds, because their products and hence brands naturally exhibit more attractive characteristics customers can easily identify themselves with.
However, products and brands that are placed in industries as, for example, in “Category 1 are exposed to many difficulties. Since, unsexy industries reflect this sense of “unsexiness” immediately onto the respective products and services offered in this market sector. In addition to that, these kinds of brands do not inherit values customers can intuitively identify themselves with. Consequently, these products do not experience the ease when building a brand, creating a loyal customer base, and generating great traffic on their social media platforms. In unsexy industries it is all about turning on spotlights when there is no stage. Selling not only the steak, but also the sizzle.
Turning the focus now to one specific industry: The Information Technology (IT) support industry. There is no doubt that the advancement of IT has had one of the greatest impacts on businesses in years. IT advancement improved immensely the productivity, performance, and potential of businesses. It not only allows workers to communicate and operate more efficiently and effectively, but it also provides a lot of spare time for them to focus on the important tasks on a daily basis. When considering the IT support industry from a customer point of view, however, one would most probably categorize this service industry in the above introduced “Category 1”. Indeed, no one would get super excited when thinking about the Helpdesk at work, one would contact when having a problem with the Computer. No one would call an IT service firm and its brand sexy.
The value of an IT service firm and so the attractiveness of the brand only becomes apparent in emergencies. However, emergencies require prompt intervention to prevent a worsening of the situation. For instance, someone is sitting in front of a computer, no matter if at home or at work, and having a Microsoft Office question. This person is most likely annoyed, frustrated and tired of not finding a helpful solution on Google, nor having a friend or a Helpdesk available. This person desperately longs for an instant help for his/her Microsoft Office issue.
This is why MyHelpster sells the steak and sizzle in an unsexy industry like the IT support industry. Since people need help with their Microsoft Office problems on a daily basis more often than one would probably believe.
One can conclude that, in an unsexy industry it is hard to create a sexy brand due to the nature of its products/services. But what makes the IT support industry sexy is the core service itself: Helping people. Helping is sexy.