January 26, 2024
Reading Time
3 minutes

Authority and Familiarity - The Two Load Carrying Pillars of SaaS Brands

Trust is what gives you leverage to market, leverage to sell kindly and leverage to attract talent. But it isn’t as simple as simply showing social proof (though very important). Prospects want to feel understood, they want to feel like the business they are purchasing the product from gets them. This is the first load-carrying pillar of the business, authority. The other pillar is more subtle, it’s all about meeting the prospect's expectations when it comes to all communications, this is familiarity.

Authority comes with understandable negative consequences, however in this case I want you to throw out the mental imagery of authority meaning fascism and rather consider the position of authority a doctor holds when it comes to medicine. In SaaS, authority means the same thing, to deeply understand your user's issues and problems, seek to solve those problems and show evidence of both. For example, your business is a B2B productivity support application which solves the issue that employees desire a way to use work sprints as part of their work day. This application breaks up the working day into sprints and breaks, integrating with timesheet applications to help track the day. Your understanding of your customer's problems needs to be evidenced, whether it’s employee satisfaction white papers, evidence of use in beta testing or social proof. But remember you’re talking to the buyer, not the user, we need evidence of how this solves the buyer's problem too, as statistics about an uptick in employee tenure, satisfaction and productivity.

The other load-carrying pillar is familiarity, this means that when your prospects or users see any of your communications their expectations are met whether that is through anything visual from your identity, font, colours, photography, logo or the words you say. My favourite example of this is a hospital, if you were to walk into a hospital and the lobby walls of that hospital were painted red, would this meet your expectations of a hospital? No, because we view anything but white (and some other exceptions) as unsanitary or just not like health care. Well, this is the exact thing some users and prospects feel when they visit SaaS business websites and they don’t feel like the communications are suitable even though (just like the hospital) their problems are solved.

The purpose of branding in SaaS is trust and you cannot get trust without the two load-carrying pillars, authority and familiarity. Your first goal is to develop your understanding of your users problems, solve them and evidence this. Your second goal is to understand your users on a personal level, you can do this through developing user persona’s, this will help you create communications that not only directly say the right things, but indirectly through the visual identity and in turn meeting the user/prospect expectations.


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We specialise in helping you understand your user's problems, get in touch below to see if we can help you build authority and familiarity within your vertical.

Free Positioning Figma Resource

Which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy

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