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How simple tech mistakes can tarnish your brand
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How simple tech mistakes can tarnish your brand

Developer Tom Wiles talks about how simple tech mistakes can have a big impact on your brand
When businesses develop and carefully craft their brand and perfect their tone of voice, how much consideration is being paid to the technology used to deliver that brand? In our age of smart devices, your brand can be delivered via any number of means; smart phones, smart watches, apps, chatbots, digital billboards...the list is endless.

But as a developer, nothing grinds my gears more when I see this technology poorly implemented by businesses who really should know better. That’s where all that brand work counts for naught and the customer comes away with a poor experience (despite your swanky new logo that you paid £250,000 for). Let’s dive into some recent examples as I try to ignore the twitch in my eye….

Tom’s unnamed solicitor

As a recent first-time buyer, I’ve had the pleasure of navigating the painful process of purchasing property. With estate agents, solicitors, managing agents and the sellers themselves in the mix it’s a process that requires a lot of communication between the parties involved and lots of individual milestones that need to be met.

It's a process that should be more open and clearer than it historically is. It’s with all that in mind that I decided to go with an online-only conveyancer offering a “fresh approach” to buying a home. Their website and copy were warm and inviting and their reviews from customers were great. But what really stood out to me, and was the deal-breaker, was their “real time” updates feature; an online portal by which you could track your entire house buying process. What stage am I at? How far though the process am I? When am I likely to complete? Is my solicitor waiting on anything from me? What a great way to keep your client up-to-date!

The problem? The portal wasn’t actually updated in anything close to “real time” making the entire portal mostly redundant. In fact, I spent just as long trying to get an answer out of them on the phone as I would have if I didn’t have this portal!

I’m not just moaning about my solicitors, honest. When your brand and your marketing pivots around “a fresh approach” you need to make sure your platform backs that up. Otherwise what’s left is a huge disconnect between what you’re advertising to your customers and the service they’re going to get. If you’re going to commit to a technology solution to solve a well-known problem, you need to make sure all parts of your business follow through with it.

My solicitors example above is a poorly executed tech solution to a familiar problem. However, sometimes issues stem from the internal procedures of a Development team, as our next example shows.

At Pull, any major change to any of our development projects will go through a rigorous set of tests before ever being deployed to the public. This is part and parcel of software development and should be the standard procedure from your in-house developers or the agency responsible for your tech projects.

So how on earth TSB managed to get themselves into the mess they found themselves in recently boggles my mind. If you’re not familiar with the story, TSB managed to lock users out of their accounts for days and, more alarmingly, some customers managed to see other people’s financial information.

TSB’s aim was to move their customer’s data from the platform they had used when the bank was merged with Lloyds (Lloyds TSB) to their new owner’s platform, Sabadell. This is a huge project and would have involved a serious amount of planning and numerous technical obstacles to overcome from a development perspective. The severity and duration of problems that were experienced in this switchover highlight just how little TSB (and their IT partners) tested their data migration beforehand.

I really like TSB’s brand. It’s light, it’s airy, it doesn’t feel corporate and I always want to hum and whistle along with their adverts (maybe that last point isn’t a positive on reflection…). It’s a shame then, despite all the work that clearly went into the brand after their demerger with Lloyds, that this IT fiasco will loom over them for the foreseeable future. When it comes to banking (and people’s money), the public is relatively unforgiving.

Not all tech issues are this major though. Sometimes it’s the little things that makes a big difference.

Encrypting your website traffic with HTTPS

I’m a big proponent of every website on the web using HTTPS. When you go to a website and that website starts with ‘https://’ (or you see the padlock) you know, for sure, that any information you give to that website, be it personal details, messages, credit card details etc, is encrypted. Nobody else, other than the website owner, can read your data. It’s secure.

This is super important, especially when you’re out and about using public Wi-Fi hotspots. If you’re sitting in a coffee shop, using their Wi-Fi and browsing websites that aren’t secure then anyone could be listening in. They’ll know the website you’re on, the pages you visited, the information you entered.

In my view there is simply no excuse not to have your website secured. For the vast majority of websites, it’s a super simple process and incredibly affordable (and in some cases completely free!). In fact, when I see websites that aren’t secured, and especially those that collect user information, I question whether this is a company that can even be trusted with my data. I’m looking at you Argos, New Look and Burton!

This isn’t an issue that only those in the development community care about either. This gets picked up by the mainstream media, so, if you’re not careful, your company’s name and logo can be splashed across news articles across the country warning your customers that your website isn’t secure! I’d imagine it’s probably not the association you want for your brand.

In fact, you may have seen recently that Google are really highlighting websites that aren’t secure with the intention that website owners are forced to secure their websites or else put off prospective customers.

(If you’re a business and your website isn’t secure, or if you’re just unsure, come talk to us, and we’ll do what we can to put it right. Your customers, and their data, will thank you for it.)

This blog post has covered just a few examples of how businesses can misuse technology and make simple mistakes that can negatively affect your brand. In order not to tarmish your brand with simple tech mistakes, you must fully commit to your technological ideas, make sure big changes are thoroughly tested, and ensure your customers data is secure. Simple right?


Posted 14 September 2018 by Tom Wiles