The Taint of Legacy Positioning

Legacy at Bospar
December 4, 2019
Legacy at Bospar
The fax machine is an example of legacy technology at its finest.

When it comes to the universe of tech, the term “legacy” carries a truly negative connotation, particularly with analysts, influencers and, most importantly, customers. Calling a company or a technology a legacy is tantamount to saying that it is irrelevant, a dinosaur with little use in today’s cloud-centric IT landscape.

In an era when solutions and systems must adapt to the needs of the business and deliver value, legacy is probably the worst thing that can be said about a tech vendor! And while there is little in the way of history about why or how the legacy term came about, it serves as the generic, catch-all takedown for companies or technologies that are old or out-of-date. Being labeled as a legacy company or technology is a bad thing – it just screams high-overhead, high-maintenance systems that can’t scale, the antithesis of what businesses need these days.

This is why avoiding this legacy label is so important when it comes to tech company positioning. Tech is all about disruptive new inventions and creating solutions that have the power to change people’s lives or transform their business, so positioning a company or a product as dated and old – whether inadvertently or not – is a recipe for disaster.

Articulate Your Vision and Corporate Value

That’s why founders and CEOs must articulate their disruptive, innovative vision from the beginning. Capturing the attention of the market requires describing your company as the newest, best thing that helps customers respond to the dynamics of the market. Failure to articulate the leading-edge value of one’s solution means that there’s a high potential for it to fall into the category of legacy solutions that are time-consuming and inefficient like, say, fax machines.

Compelling, clear and repeatable positioning and messaging helps combat notions of being a legacy. However, describing one’s own company as disruptive and innovative is only the start. Influencers, in the form of press and analysts, must be educated about the value that your company brings. By transforming those stakeholders into brand champions and providing the influencer community with proof of value, your story will be more credible and will achieve more traction.

This approach also works when companies are seen as legacy providers. Providing credible proof points associated with innovation, particularly when delivering a new solution or platform, can help companies shed the legacy curse and redefine themselves. If the messaging is right, legacy companies can be once again seen as cutting-edge.

Messaging: Stick to Fundamental Strengths

Even under the best of circumstances, it can be difficult to stake out differentiated positioning in today’s crowded tech marketplace. This is particularly true when operating under the yoke of the legacy label, so it makes sense to focus on the specific strengths of your company or technology and invest time and resources into developing positioning and messaging. This includes developing an intimate understanding of both the competition and customer needs, not to mention developing products and solutions that meet those needs!

Because so many companies are vying for the title of most innovative or disruptive, it can be hard work to develop and articulate a differentiated spot in the marketplace. However, once developed, your company messaging can become an amazing vehicle to drive forward progress for your company.

Standing Out and Avoiding the Legacy Taint

Whether an IT department at a Fortune 500 company developing internal solutions or a scrappy little startup that desires to serve the Fortune 500, each company should have unique, forward-looking and consistent messages to describe their offerings. By being thoughtful about how you describe your company and taking the time to position products and services effectively – using powerful and compelling language – tech firms can avoid the legacy taint.

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About the author

Curtis Sparrer is a principal of Bospar PR. He has represented brands like PayPal, Tetris and the alien hunters of the SETI Institute. He is a member of the Forbes Communications Council and has written for Adweek, Forbes, the Dallas Morning News, and PRWeek. He is an active member of the National Lesbian Gay Journalist Association. Business Insider has twice listed him as one of the Top Fifty in Tech PR.



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