Sunday morning: I slip on my Adidas sneakers, grab my Skull Candy headphones, and head outside for a nice walk through the Upper West Side of New York City. I pass a café and see my favorite chocolates, Ferrero Rocher, on display. Two steps ahead, I’m nearly blinded by the sparkling crystals at Swarovski. Expecting a call, I check my phone and am happy to have full signal strength thanks to Verizon. I later decide to sit in the park and put on some Nivea sunblock while I sit back and enjoy a perfect morning.
Can you guess the common thread between these seemingly disparate activities? Where I shop, the food I eat, the technology I use, and the countless other facets of my life are touched by the same behind-the-scenes player – my employer, SAP.
It’s curious how something so prevalent in one’s life can go unnoticed. Before I started my career at SAP, any recognition of my favorite brands’ relationship with the company and the ultimate outcome of its services was lost on me. My perception of the company was limited to the large blue trapezoids displayed at MetLife Stadium. The glowing logos transiently held my interest, but never motivated me enough to understand what my employer does.
Why is this important? As consumers continue to demand value, people need to be aware of this connection and realize the end value that companies provide.
Know what the new consumer and workforce majority wants – and deliver it now
Recent Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data revealed that more than 33% of American workers are Millennials – ranging in ages between 18 and 34 in 2015. Even more startling is that this generation surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, signifying the importance of understanding the Millennial perspective as workers as well as consumers.
A well-known quality of this group is that they desire immediate proof of value. In her Marketing Magazine article “Millennials’ Demand for Instant Gratification Is Shaping the Future of Retail,” Sara Spary found that this characteristic is fueling the evolution of business models. As a result, companies such as Uber and Amazon Prime are garnering success from services that deliver real-time results.
Connect the brand with immediate value
In an outcome-driven world, the connection between the service and the value received has never been more important. Some tech companies are often overshadowed in terms of brand recognition and presence within the Millennial population because these brands are viewed as an integral and cohesive part of everyday life.
Take Google, for example. According to the Business Insider article “The 20 Most Valuable Brands in the World,” Lara Stampler states, “Google has effectively taught consumers that it is more than just a search company. With maps, mail and more, Google is integrated into everyone’s lives.” Personally, I can attest to this. I am figuratively and literally lost without Google Maps!
Step out of the shadows – even if you are a behind-the-scenes player
Rewinding back to my Sunday morning, my days are equally, if not more, shaped by solutions and services from SAP. Millions of people are similarly affected, but they are most likely not aware of it.
In a virtual age defined by a digital economy, the importance of personal and corporate branding has never been more vital. Results from Millward Brown’s 2015 “Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands” call out SAP as the 24th most valuable worldwide and #1 in continental Europe. In my opinion, this is just the beginning.
Once tech companies step out of the shadows and shine a spotlight on the connection between themselves and the value they add to people’s lives, their brand name and logo will hold new meaning for generations to come.
For more insight on why your brand must offer value and purpose, see A Brand Is Just A Brand — Unless It Has Purpose.