Technology vs. Brands. Who Wins?

Back in the day, starting a business required a lot of capital, a lot of contacts and word of mouth, and a lot of grit. Establishing a company as a business leader was a huge undertaking, and something that took years to build. The landscape of business has drastically changed over the past two decades – and accelerated exponentially over just this last one. In the beginning of the 2000s, brands and names meant everything to people, and the consumers were clear in their stance. Today, the true winner is the customer experience, and the businesses that are able to offer it unabashedly. And what makes that possible? Technology. We’ve talked before about what we consider the archetypes of businesses attempting to digitize, and whether or not those who claim to be digital natives truly are, but what is the future outlook for this game of brands? 

For example, Uber is a great company to reference to illustrate this point, as it is very much a brand and a showcase of technology in one mutually exclusive combination matched by no other. When Uber went around the funding table in the early 2010 days, it was a tech startup trying to show a vision for a business so radical, it would completely disrupt the public transportation sector, something that can be considered a commodity in most places around the world. Less than 10 years after its boom, new startups look to be “the Uber of” X industry, and even though other competitors have risen (and the taxi industry has attempted to match it where it can), Uber has become a household name. Without its technology and the business model that made riding in a stranger’s car possible, Uber would not be what it is today. 

To stay at a hotel outside of your home, you could show up in person and request a room. On the other hand, you can only access an AirBnB by prior booking and only online. If you have any sort of conversation about the stock market, there’s very likely a mention of the FANG – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google. Sure, there are other industries and noteworthy big players in the game, but what do these four companies that also rank in their own industry (social media, retail, entertainment and information) have in common? Technology. 

The point is: all of the companies that are currently at the top of the food chain today, regardless of how long ago they started, are where they are because of technology. Out of the current top 20 most valuable brands (meaning people will recognize them worldwide), over half are technology companies. The others, like McDonald’s for example, rely on technology that works around the clock to get them to effectively execute their operations for their billions of customers worldwide. 

Though it may not be everyone’s aspiration to end up on the top 20 most valuable brands chart, most people that set out with a business idea, do so with the intention to succeed at some capacity. If you’re a startup owner or a small business executive, chances are that it won’t be badly received if someone makes an offer to buy your business from you. Business valuations for mergers and acquisitions have come to be some of the best ways to determine the worth of a company. Guess which companies are being bought out? Technology companies or those that have the technology to accomplish something that the bigger player didn’t already have. 

The role of technology has dramatically increased in prominence over the past 20 years, and if history has taught us anything, is that we can expect it to repeat itself. In the case of tech, the repeating always is exponential to its predecessor. So if in 20 years technology has risen to own the top four spots of the brand value chart, imagine what is to become of this summary over the next decade. Businesses that understand this have a much higher likelihood of success than all the others, and it’s an inevitable realization that lack of technology basically comes with an expiration date for a business. Don’t let your business get lost in the noise, and bring in the right people for the job, today.