What Is Bold Digital Branding – Story of a Brand and its Influence
In a fast evolving, constantly changing and highly competitive world of marketing, the brand goodwill is what gives the edge to a business. It really does not matter what the business says about itself. The opinion of the customers, what customers are saying about the brand, decides the ranking and fate of the brand in the marketing battleground.
The Digital Branding efforts and creatives project the brand’s profile, and the value of goods and services it provides to the prospective customers, clients, partners, members or consumers.
For the layman, Digital Branding seems to be primarily focused on the brand logo or website design, with the spotlight on how the logo or website impacts a consumer’s perception of the brand.
But this is just the start of the story. The story of Digital branding does not end here. It is way, more complex and intriguing.
World is a truly global village today, connected at innumerable online touchpoints like websites, apps, search engine results, online reviews, or social media discussions. Most consumers, prospective or existing, make their crucial decisions regarding the brand after experiencing the brand in all the possible digital spaces.
And the audience is directly or indirectly, international, spanning a varied age group and geo-profile. The plethora of content, information, and options available to the target audience makes it a challenge to get new customers. The traditional approach to marketing is no longer sufficient or fruitful.
The Digital Brand is a powerful tool of influence. It is imperative for brand’s growth and success, to understand the impact of digital brand on the decisions of the audience purchasing the products or services, or prospective clients joining the organization, or becoming partners or sponsors.
Digital Branding is an interesting story of a brand and how the brand interacts with the audience.
And every story begins at the beginning.
What is Digital Branding?- Understanding Its Structure and Concept
The audience today is bombarded with advertising and marketing messages from all directions. This creates a challenge in the brand’s ability to foster a special personal connection with the audience. Similar talent, expertise is offered all over the Internet.
The question is, how the brand stands out of the crowd. What gives the brand an edge over all competition, is the story of the brand identity presented in the digital space.
Simply put, Digital Branding is the brand’s story and presence in the digital space. Digital branding is a key factor in establishing a meaningful connection with the target audience. A good digital branding strategy uses the brand’s unique propositions to set the brand’s profile and its services apart from all competition and give it the edge.
The key components of marketing that must be well addressed in the Digital Branding Strategies for best results and success of the brand are:-
1) Establishing YourBrand’s Digital Identity
Digital branding is more complex than traditional branding concept. It is not enough for a brand to just tell the audience what it represents and expect the audience to believe the advertised word. It is imperative for a brand to live up to its values first, and then communicate them to the audience via digital branding. A good Digital Branding Strategy does not lie. It only creates an attractive presentation package.
Content Marketing and Social Media are the two powerful mediums used in the building of the Digital Identity.
Content Marketing and its role in building brand’s digital identity.
A person’s identity is their life journey. It is a story of their upbringing, their struggles and inspiration, a story of successes, achievements, a story of challenges faced and obstacles overcome.
Similarly, the identity of a brand factors in the journey of the brand through all challenges, struggles, successes and achievements.
How the challenges impact the services provided by the brand or how that journey shapes the product or services developed by the brand, gives the brand its unique authenticity and makes it real, and builds trust in the audience by creating a personal connect.
It is important to understand how the challenges faced by the brand, and its product and services, relate to the wants and needs of the target audience.
Content Marketing provides relevant content, addressing the various stages of a user’s journey, to convey, through a strategic series of content, how the brand product or service is a solution for the consumer or audience.
Strategic presentation of content is at the heart of digital branding. Enhancing the offering by providing value beyond what the offering is, helps to initiate the building of the brand identity. Re-enforcement of the brand value by emphasizing on the factors that make the brand better than the competition, is the best way to continue engaging with the target audience.
Social Media and its role in building brand’s digital identity.
Social Media is the new voice of the society. It is the radio, the television, the stage, phone, letter of yesteryears. Social media is the most powerful tool of communication today, both personal and collective.
Hence, social media engagements and interactions are in actuality, the voice of the brand. The brand’s status updates, and the manner in which the brand responds to comments, convey the brand’s voice.
The brand’s social media profile and communication style helps to not only express the brand’s identity, but also helps to establish connect with the audience or consumer. The social media activity is a great awareness builder and can be used to shape the brand identity.
A good way to begin building brand identity on social media, is with “social media listening”, which means absorbing and listening and responding to the comments of the audience. It is important to allow the audience chatter to guide the digital identity. There is no requirement to change the brand identity based on what the audience says or wants. The need is to change the way in which the brand interacts with the audience.
Your Visibility of the Brand’s Digital Identity.
Once the brand identity has been established, the next step is to focus on the visibility. Visibility is the second component of digital branding.
Touchpoints, Digital Ads, SEO are the tools that help create visibility.
For visibility, it is important to first identify and consider all the touchpoints at which the target audience is exposed to the brand, in the digital space.
The touchpoints include the brand website, online search results, social media networks, and review sites.
Controlled touchpoints such as the website are of utmost importance. Priority and resources are invested on the “controlled” touchpoints. However, the most influential touchpoints are ones that are “uncontrolled”. These are the ratings and review sites.
Digital Advertising is a big segment of the brand visibility. Also, Digital Ads are a “controlled” touchpoint. With proper strategizing and with a strong digital advertising campaign, the brand can create highly targeted campaigns to unfold the desired gains and create great visibility for the brand.
Audience’s search engine results form a critical part of the brand visibility. Top rank listing in search engines not only helps increase the brand visibility, but it also conveys that the brand is aware of the target audience’s needs, and understand their search behavior.
Search engine results are also a great way to build brand credibility too. Consumers believe that if a brand is displayed in the first position in their search engine results, then it must be very credible.
2) Establishing Your Credibility of the Brand’s Identity
The reputation and credibility of a brand is a sensitive and a fragile segment. Years are invested in building the credibility of a brand. Yet, it takes one wrong move, one bad comment, and seconds, for all the hard earned credibility to be ruined. It is extremely important to actively build a feedback loop with the target audience, to protect the brand’s credibility.
A well-established digital brand can utilize all the touchpoints to collect feedback, and use the feedback information to enhance its brand credibility.
Social Engagements too are a big contribution to the brand’s credibility. Social engagements must ideally consider overall user experience, with the focus being on transparency and trust. Being attentive to the followers and responding authentically helps to establish a personal connect and trust, and thereby increasing the brand credibility.
Digital Branding and its Benefits
Digital Branding Benefits for Professionals
There is a difference between digital branding and personal branding, and it is critical for a professional to understand this when structuring a digital branding strategy and creative.
The focus of personal branding is to be known. But digital branding focuses on its conversions, popularity being a byproduct of a high conversion rate.
Here is a list of how digital branding impacts different industries and occupations.
Authors and Publishing Industry – A good digital brand identity enables authors to connect with literary agents looking for new talent. Through the digital brand the agent is able to assess the number of books the author may sell.
Attorneys and Legal Sector – A great digital brand can empower and enable an Attorney to acquire more clients and leads. A digital presence connects people looking for lawyers to requisite lawyer profile. Hence, a good digital brand identity connects the right profiles and helps boost business.
Real Estate Agents and Property Sector – A good digital brand profile is a boon for real estate agents as it establishes their credibility, and helps them to get more leads, have more reviews, work with new homeowners or people who are trying to buy investment properties, and so on and so forth.
Consultants and Freelance Professionals – Being skilled and talented but without a digital brand identity means that nobody knows about the services or product and the skill is lost. It means that the professional is not an expert and doesn’t have credibility in the eyes of most of the consumers. People are going to engage with your brand whether you have an established brand or not. Take control of your digital brand and make it easy for people to interact with you and to build more credibility.
Pastors and Spiritual Leaders – For spiritual leaders, a good digital branding helps to reach out to a larger audience and acquire more followers or build a congregation. The Digital Brand helps to expand influence.
Public Officials and Government Sector– A good digital brand is a virtual stage to promote the brand ideologies along with the brand identity. A lackluster digital brand creates a challenge to garner donations or galvanize the base that the brand is trying to develop.
Business Executives and Corporate Sector – For a business executive, a digital brand can be used to display the value that executive is going to bring to an organization. This gives the executive an edge and helps them to stand apart in a crowd, from other executives.
Entertainers – Entertainers can use the digital brand to draw more focus on themselves, garner more views to a production and generate more spotlight on themselves and their talent. In order to build an online platform that surpasses all competition, a good Digital Brand is a must.
Other Profiles and Entrepreneurs – For businesses offering a product or service, the digital brand helps to guide the target audience through their decision-making process, and help provide a good customer experience.
Irrespective of the industry or occupation, digital branding is customized and applies to the unique situation and identity of the brand profile. It is important to fully understand the benefits of digital branding, and how it affects the business, and how it can be used to market the unique talent, skill, or expertise of the professional.
Digital Branding Benefits for Organizations
Digital Branding for organizations is a boon. It gives the brand an edge in a cut throat competitive market, and puts the brand ahead of the curve.
Building a robust digital brand requires a good understanding of how today’s technology comes together to develop remarkable experiences for the customers, clients, leads, patients, and consumers. It is all about putting these technologies together to build relationships with the target audience, which is critical to digital branding.
The consumer today utilizes digital platforms (i.e. online search, social media, mobile apps, etc.) to aid their purchasing decisions. Hence, establishing a robust digital brand increases the brand’s customer acquisition, lead generation, content consumption, and brand awareness. This naturally boosts business gains.
The experience and process of buying a car is a great example to understand the value of digital branding. The process of buying a car involves a lot of research to make an informed decision, before finally speaking with the car dealership. Digital branding is a great asset in this process, both for the consumer and the brand. When finally the time comes to enter the showroom, the customer is well informed by then, and their guides them through the purchase process.
Hence, there is no doubt that digital branding is important for the business. It helps the customers to be informed about the brand. It is imperative for the businesses to focus on enhancing the digital brand presence. This helps the customer to feel more comfortable doing business with the brand.
Corporations and Digital Branding
In the age of technology all the information is available. Today’s consumers expect transparency from corporations. An in-depth understanding of how consumers interact with their brand in the digital space, helps corporations build a robust digital brand identity. This understanding not only affects the brand’s marketing, but also its business operations.
Non-Profits and Digital Branding
A digital brand is critical to a non-profit organization as it garners better funding, donations, and increased awareness of the social cause of the organization. One of the ways in which donors validate the efforts is by reviewing the efforts showcased in the digital branding profile. A good non-profit digital brand conveys the innovation, competency, and the business acumen of the organization.
Small Businesses and Digital Branding
For small businesses, a strong digital brand helps the business to stand out of the crowd and create awareness about the unique products or services offered by the brand. In the case of small businesses, most of the digital brand is centered on the owner or CEO. The business and marketing arena is like a crowded market place. In a crowded marketplace, a business must do everything it can, to put their brand in the best position to win.
Small businesses often do not have extravagant marketing budgets to compete with big companies like Fortune 100 companies. Digital channels offer a much more economic and cheaper option of advertising and marketing. Hence, focusing on digital channels is significantly cheaper than traditional marketing channels. Consequently, small businesses necessarily need to establish a stronger digital brand to effectively reach more customers
A Digital Branding and Cause of Failure
Digital Branding is getting more and more innovative, in a bid to win. There is an increase in the strategy to showcase more personality in the marketing communications. Some get it right and some do not get it right.
A Digital Branding that conveys an authentic personality that is genuine and human-like, enhances the brand image and establishes trust and authenticity. In traditional marketing, a brand’s personality is sculpted or projected upon consumers via external inputs like posters, adverts, pamphlets, classifieds and similar ad projections. However, in the digital space, the brand personality is conveyed through engagement, dialogue, interaction, along with a digital presence, and through particular platforms. Simple presence and participating in conversations is a statement and brand projection within itself.
How the digital branding is managed, has major implications. If the branding campaigns are missing the mark, the company culture needs to be examined.
Digital branding bridges the gap between the business objectives and the expectations of the target audience. The digital branding must at all times address the consumer queries and solve their problems. Digital branding must help consumers in their quest to find the brand or check the brand references.
Irrespective of whether it is an individual looking to profit from their expertise, or an organization looking to convert their audience, digital branding must be prioritized under all circumstances and for all profiles. Digital branding is the identity profile of a business and its visibility and credibility. It is a point of connect amongst consumers who discover, relate to, and interact with the business online. And it is also a connect between the consumer and the brand.
Business owners, marketers, or people looking to build an audience, must focus on building a strong digital brand. At the end of the day, it is the Digital Branding that presents the brand to the public and hence can make or break a brand. Businesses today rely on Digital Branding.