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Brand Your Own or Promote Your Vendor?

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Should MSPs privately brand the continuity solution they’re implementing, or should they promote the vendor brand? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each approach.

We have moved on from the question, is BDR necessary for every business and every market?  The answer is yes – and we’ve now evolved to the concept of business continuity.  Positioning business continuity as a service, rather than BDR as a product has allowed managed service providers (MSP) to capitalize on monthly recurring revenue, high profit margins, and a growing client base. 

But, it’s not that simple.  The question that many MSPs are challenged with now is what are branding best practices?  Should MSPs privately brand the continuity solution they’re implementing, or should they promote the vendor brand? Ultimately, it’s a decision that needs careful evaluation from each MSP to determine what’s best for them.  The first decision to be made, however, is working with a vendor that is 100 percent channel-only.  The rest is for you to decide.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each approach.

Rebranding your business continuity solution

Pros

  • Eliminate the fear of vendors going direct and penetrating the market.  
  • Consistency within your product and service offerings.
  • Reinforce your brand and identity within the local market.
  • Personal relationships with clients can create more credibility and trust in the solution.
  • Recognition as the hero when you save the day for clients.  

Cons

  • Inability to showcase the management portal because of vendor trademarks.
  • Lack of customizable marketing resources available from your vendor (some, not all).
  • You are the first and last line of defense, which can increase the daily pressure.
  • Obligated to take responsibility for unfavorable outcomes; risks of damaging your brand name. 
  • No scapegoat!

Promoting your vendor brand

Pros

  • Ability to focus on your core business of managed services.
  • Leverage resources of the vendor as an extension of your business; support hours, SLAs, warranties, compliance, cloud security, etc.
  • Facilitation and assistance with on-boarding processes, demonstrations, and management console walkthroughs.
  • Abundance of marketing materials and tools available to utilize in the sales process.
  • Brand recognition from consumer, trusted global leader reputation.
  • Get credit and acknowledgment for vendor training certification
  • Vendor can assist in the sales process with end-user demos
  • Co-branded marketing and press

Cons

  • Anxiety over vendors selling direct to end-users.
  • Too many brand names to keep up with, inability to identify with one.
  • Switching from “Brand A” to “Brand B” could reflect poorly on your judgment.   
  • End-users researching the vendor brand and coming across information unfavorable for the MSP.
  • Forfeiting some control over the solution and your offering.

So, what is the answer? In a survey taken from 15 top preforming Datto Partners, 7 use the Datto brand name, 4 rebrand the solution as their own, and 4 say they do both.  In this sample, 73 percent of resellers promoted the vendor name, whether it is in conjunction with their private brand or exclusive. 

Whichever method you choose, be sure to set clear expectations and realistic SLAs with your clients.  “Powered by Datto” is an expression that can facilitate marrying both private and vendor brands together.  In the end, your relationship with your vendors can make this decision for you. Trust in the solution and confidence in the partnership is the goal for every vendor/reseller relationship. 

Samantha Ciaccia is Channel Engagement Manager at Datto, Inc., a data backup and disaster recovery and intelligent business continuity provider.

 

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Dustin B (not verified)
on Jan 15, 2014

The customer is not going to know/care who the vendor is. No offense to Datto, but if you poll most SMBs, they're not going to have heard of them. If you as the MSP sell/offer/include a backup product, you are the only person the client will care about. If you have issues or outages, it only makes you look worse if you blame the vendor (this is why we don't offer/support Office 365 anymore...)

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