Anne Keefe, Kingston

Kingston Is With You

Ann Keefe at Kingston explains more about Kingston Is With You – a branding initiative to raise awareness of its product quality.

Kingston Technology was founded in 1987 by John Tu and David Sun, initially with a sole focus on the design and production of computer system memory (DRAM). In the years that have followed, the company has enjoyed tremendous success, expanded into numerous technology markets and grown to become a multinational organisation, employing over 3,000 individuals around the world.

Now, the line-up has expanded to include a much wider range of technologies, applicable to multiple industries serving customers at both ends of the B2C and B2B spectrum.

This list still very much includes DRAM – for PCs, servers, and mobile devices, but Kingston has also become a leading player in storage technology, from personal SD cards used by professional and casual photographers alike, to USB external flash memory devices and SSD storage for consumer, business and gaming PCs.

Datacenters are another major business category, in need of both storage and system memory, with an entirely different set of requirements and specifications to a typical client PC configuration.

They are also heavily invested in technologies that underpin these products, particularly in the area of security. For example, AES 256-bit hardware encryption is offered as standard on many of the company’s SSDs, and similar technology is a headline feature of encrypted USB products.

Being part of a growing number of markets with a more diverse customer base creates a challenge of maintaining a single, clear philosophy and messaging about product quality, support and services, that equally applies to products intended for use in business environments as well as for consumers.

To address this issue, they have recently launched ‘Kingston Is With You’, a business philosophy that applies to the company’s full portfolio, intended to communicate the advice, support and high quality they offer, highlight the all-important pre-sales advice service and the after-sales support customers can expect.

With the storage market in particular, choosing the right solution for a given problem may not be straightforward, considering varying technical requirements and the differences between user environments.

This can be especially important in datacenters, where combinations of server chipset, DRAM and storage are a delicate balance that can be carefully optimised to present the best possible environment for a given application.

For example, upgrading a laptop with the right SSD depends on the laptop model and what expansion options it has. Technical users may well understand the differences between SATA and NVMe SSD’s, but the underlying technology and standards may not be obvious to everyone. Similarly, high-speed storage intended for fast PCs that may be manipulating large 4K videos may not be the best choice for a datacenter.

Photography or video professionals will get more from their camera by knowing the right kind of SD card they need, whether they intend to use it for drones or to shoot 4K videos instead.

A video streaming software platform normally benefits from high consistent read performance of the storage, therefore certain storage devices work better for this scenario than others. Through Ask An Expert customers are offered advice that can guide them towards the solution that meets their needs, without obligation to make a purchase.

Kingston hopes customers will see these small differences as strengths of their brand and return to their products when it’s time for the next upgrade.

What motivated you to create KIWY?
Perceived reliability is a factor that influences all customer purchase decisions, very much including both consumer and business technology products, but really for just about anything.

Children’s toys, a new car, kitchen appliances, we all want things that will continue to work well, and we all prefer a straightforward way to communicate with a manufacturer if any issues arise.

That’s always been part of our ethos, and we like to think we go the extra mile to offer exceptional service to meet customers’ needs, but it’s not as easy to effectively demonstrate this commitment to new customers, particularly those who may not be familiar with our brand. We wanted people to be able to see, at a glance, that our company believes in strong service and support, adheres to high standards in manufacturing, and values employees and vendors, as it does its customers.

Equally, we wanted to communicate that these values apply to our whole product lineup, despite its diverse nature. We wanted a single way to inform all our customers about this philosophy.

That includes informing datacenter customers who might be performing a large business-critical upgrade, that we can offer them whatever support they need, but it no less applies to a consumer buying a single SD card to upgrade their camera’s storage.

With Kingston Is With You, we’re trying to demonstrate our brand philosophy, commitment to excellence and our culture of passion for people and products within a single logo that is as easy to see as specifications on the side of a box. We believe that’s something that customers will value and we want to show that our brand can help and benefit many aspects of business and life.

How are you using the Kingston Is With You branding?
We’ve carefully created a new icon, using our standard red, black and white colour scheme and design elements of our traditional Kingston logo, including the famous red Rex character that many people recognise about our brand, but also introducing new elements to reflect this initiative.

We’ve added three stars to represent the values of honour, reliability and trust that underpin our philosophy, brought together with internal circles to represent the Kingston family, and external circles to represent our partners and customers.

This new logo is to be used on Kingston product packaging, merchandise and communications materials.

How does it benefit customers?
For most technology products it’s easy to see specifications related to typical product features like performance and capacity. But other crucial aspects of a product such as support, reliability, and brand ethos can be more difficult to communicate and judge, even though they matter to customers as much as raw technical details.

With this new initiative, we want people to know their backs are covered with a strong warranty policy, that advice is never far away, and there are always teams who can try to answer their questions.

By informing customers about this we hope they will find it easier to select the right product and get the best possible performance and benefits for their personal needs.

What challenges do you see moving forward?
We’re proud of this new branding and initiative, but we also know that actions speak louder than words. Maintaining a great customer experience that reflects the philosophy behind the initiative is critical to us, so we will continue to work hard to ensure all aspects of the Kingston Is With You philosophy are reflected in the day-to-day interactions with our customers, employees and partners.

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