Digital Branding: what is it & how to use it

A brand is the most important asset in your marketing toolbox. Ultimately, it is a manifestation of your value proposition and the soul of your business. However, a brand can be at times difficult to define. It takes time and resources to build a healthy brand, and today, that includes both offline and digital branding.  

You might be thinking “Why should I invest in digital branding?”. Well, if you think about it, more people are spending time online than ever before. Time spent online has more than doubled in the last decade. To add to that, over 90% of U.S. businesses were using social media for marketing purposes in 2020. And this number is set to increase even further. Does your digital brand help you stand out? Is it telling your story in a way that really sticks? If you’re unsure, we got you covered. Read on.

In this article, we’ll outline how a digital branding strategy differs from a digital marketing strategy, what the benefits of having a strong digital brand are and how to implement it in order to fully harness its potential. The idea behind building a digital brand is to convert first-time buyers into long lasting customers. These customers exhibit brand loyalty and become the ultimate marketing tool: the fan who is so happy with your product that they promote it by themselves. In the long run, after each product is discontinued or sold out, what sticks with you is the brand. Is it memorable? Does it invoke positive emotions? 


What is digital branding?

Digital branding is how you bring your brand to life online. Let’s start from the beginning.

Branding has been a major component since the beginning of marketing. Think of Gillette for example: First introduced 120 years ago, it dominates the shaving market to this very day. In large part, this is because its brand is so recognizable and trust-invoking. Gillette has been using digital brand ambassadors to further promote their products digitally across different channels and cement themselves into customers’ brains. You know you’re buying quality when you buy a Gillette razor. 

A strong brand, digital or otherwise, needs to resonate with a company’s audience answering the “Who?”, “What?”, “Why?” questions with consistency across your marketing channels. Digital branding is about ensuring that what makes you unique (your USPs) are clear for potential customers no matter where they encounter your company. When an online visitor understands your business immediately, the opportunity for conversion increases. 

When talking about digital branding be sure to consider how it fits into your: 

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Content
  • Search presence 

More on those later.


What’s the difference between Digital Marketing and Digital Branding and why you need both to succeed

Digital Marketing and Digital Branding might be two peas in the same integrated marketing pod, but there are important differences. Branding can be seen as the why and marketing as the how. 

Digital Marketing encompasses all the different tools and tactics used to bring people in, such as search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine advertising (SEA), email marketing, affiliate marketing and many more. It actively promotes your product or service to your potential customers in order for them to conduct a purchase. With Digital Marketing, you shouldn’t neglect one aspect of your marketing plan for another, but instead allocate your resources across your digital marketing strategy and implement all your marketing efforts alongside each other.

Digital branding is more focused on defining and emphasizing the value that a company or organization provides, whereas digital marketing is more directed towards pushing a product or service based on how good it is. Without digital marketing, branding would be a struggle and without digital branding, digital marketing would not be sustainable.

Digital marketing is a way to get your customers’ attention, whereas digital branding helps you keep their attention and enabling them to closely relate your offering.


Benefits of Digital Branding

But why is branding so important? Using branding, a company is able to differentiate itself from its competitors and increase trust in prospective customers. You’re missing out on tons of sales if you don’t establish your brand on the internet.

Now going back to the present moment, branding often takes place digitally.

A strong digital brand can create a life-long bond between a company and its customers. 

There are some very prominent examples of companies that were able to successfully implement branding. For instance, Apple and Tesla were able to distinguish themselves from the competition with their innovative products. The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; liberty regained; innovation; passion; hopes, dreams and aspirations; and power-to-the-people through technology. Meanwhile, Tesla’s differentiator is its cars’ sustainable nature as well as its link to iconic CEO Elon Musk.

Having a digital brand in place helps an organization spread quickly on various online platforms, such as your own website as well as social media. A digital brand would ensure that the end-user receives messaging in a unified manner, enhancing the trust in your business. We live in a viral world and possessing the ability for your content to go viral and spread rapidly will help put you in front of more pairs of eyes.


Marketing

One huge aspect of digital branding is brand marketing and more specifically: consistency. The consistency that having a strong digital brand warrants, is the result of having a unified approach when it comes to marketing your company. Certain people like social media, other people don’t. Another sample of people like it when a company sends an email newsletter as a gesture, others don’t. Some people search from their desktop and others are glued to their phone while they search. The point is that your business needs to stay on-brand within all of these channels to reap optimal results. If you’re able to do this, your customers will not only be drawn to your content but they will literally be fans and will further promote your brand for free by using word of mouth.


Messaging

Your messaging should be recognizable and aligned in order to be associated with your brand. Consistency is crucial in developing trust amongst your customers. An example of having a consistent approach to your marketing efforts and thus increasing your digital brand would be posting content or sending newsletter to customers in regular time intervals. The customer then knows that you know what you do. 


Visuals and Intangibles

Furthermore, imagery, your logo, graphics and tone of voice also need to be kept consistent. Imagine being a luxury brand and then sharing high-end photography 90% of the time and blurry, out-of-focus photos for the remaining 10% of the time. Or even worse: having typos and grammar errors in your copy. Depending on the niche you’re operating in, a playful or more serious tone may be applicable. Just make sure to stay consistent. Your clientele will end up not trusting you if you are wishy-washy and you end up losing them. It’s crucial that your optics mirror that of your business, industry and target audience. If a company is confused about its identity, then so will its customers.

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to do brand marketing is to build trust online. Ogno can assist you in accelerating your digital presence and aligning your brand with your marketing efforts in order to be more cohesive.


Where to include Digital Branding strategies

Now that we have established what a digital brand is and what its benefits are, it’s time to dig further into how you can implement this into your own strategy.

Your Website

No one likes to visit a home page and then not know what they actually just looked at. Having a homepage that doesn’t clearly describe what you offer will leave the visitor confused and exiting without having made a purchase. Kudos to you for getting traffic to your homepage but you also need to establish some brand trust in order for the visitor to complete a desired action, aka a conversion.

Here’s the thing: while your customers will spend the majority of the time on the homepage, most traffic will probably go to a targeted landing page. Imagine clicking on an ad and being directed to a page where it is not clear what that company actually does. Now you spent all that time working on your value proposition on the homepage, but prospective customers are still not converting, because the landing page is not yet clear. So make sure other pages on your site are in cohesion with your landing page or homepage.


Your social media

As we have mentioned earlier, your social media presence needs to be adapted to your website’s and overall marketing’s messaging. Around 78% of small business owners use social media to attract customers, while 63% of customers say they are more likely to use services of a company with an informative social media presence. ASOS posts regular content on their Instagram page and makes sure that it’s edgy and inspirational at the same time. Make sure the tone of voice as well as the frequency of posts relatability of content is on-par, as these factors will validate your brand to potential customers on social media and ultimately leapfrog your competition.


Your Content

In order to use content to develop your digital brand identity you need to possess a deep understanding of your audience, your offering, and your organization. In order to understand that you need to know what keeps them up at night. The objective of this is to develop content that tells your story and engages your customer base in a meaningful way. So make sure that every time your content is consumed, it is consistent(!) in appearance, use, size, scope, color, feel, etc. Your content must convey personality more than ever before. Developing consistent content allows your audience to build a memory structure around who you are and what value you have to offer.


Your Marketing Channels (SEO, SEA)

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, digital branding needs to be incorporated into your marketing strategy. This means you need to rethink your marketing efforts and determine if your digital brand is helping or hurting your marketing so far. SEO is one of the tactics your business can use to establish a stronger digital brand. SMEs especially cannot neglect the importance of SEO. Optimize your pages and content while keeping your brand in mind. In addition to that, having a well-thought out brand identity is critical when it comes to driving traffic using paid ads. Having solid ad-copy is a game-changer. It can literally be the difference between losing a lead or ultimately closing a deal. So make sure you showcase your digital brand as best as possible within the ad.


Conclusion

Consistency is key when it comes to branding. Your brand needs to be compelling and make the consumer believe like they are part of the company on its journey. What kind of story are you telling? There is a reason why the top brands are where they are. They understand the importance of being the same business to every consumer. With these tips and tricks, you will be able to create a digital brand and distinguish yourself from the competition.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan: Adapt to Changes in Consumer Behaviour

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic change has been brought about at unprecedented speed. Consumer trends that were picking up steam ahead of the crisis have been further accelerated. This forced marketers to ask themselves marketing strategy vs. marketing plan? One thing is certain, people’s priorities have changed. Businesses need to adapt their marketing plans as well as their strategies to meet consumer needs. 

The pandemic is only temporary but the behaviours picked up are here to stay. Around 75% of people using digital channels for the first time state that they will continue to use them when we return to “normal.” With people choosing to go digital at an all-time high, companies need to reassess how they market their products and services and adjust to secure a stronger market position. 

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan

marketing strategy vs. marketing plan. which to focus on?

It’s more important than ever to have a clear vision of where you are headed and how you will get there. That’s why businesses need both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. 

A marketing strategy summarizes your marketing efforts in order to distinguish your business from the competition, whereas a marketing plan is a roadmap with particular activities that will get you there.

The strategy ensures alignment behind a shared vision and that everyone understands the target audience and the value proposition. Once the strategy is established, the marketing plan details how SEO, SEM, social media, and other marketing channels will help you to achieve the vision.

Every marketing plan should therefore have achievable and timely goals that contribute to the success of the marketing strategy.

With 2020 being such a turbulent year, many businesses are reassessing their marketing plans. However, the marketing strategy remains the same for most. Over 60% of marketers are altering their short-term media strategy (marketing plan) On the contrary, only 9% are actually adapting their long-term goals (marketing strategy).

How Can You Address Necessary Changes in the Marketing Plan?

The global pandemic has opened a lot of eyes and has shown how rapidly things can change. It has also shown how important it is to be agile and flexible to trends in consumer behavior. An economic slowdown is around the corner. The rapid development of digital technologies means innovation and new competitors are a constant threat. 

Keeping a close eye on your business market is vital in order to anticipate change and quickly adapt your marketing plan. You can use official government impact assessments, local authorities, and market reports to find out about changes to your specific market.

It’s also essential to always have an eye on your competitors and your internal business and marketing performance. If you fail to meet key performance indicators (KPIs), you need to determine why that is before you can effectively respond. Competitive analysis can help you to find out how other businesses in your industry have changed their marketing plans. Then you can determine if there is an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage.

The key to success and long-term growth and profitability is how you predict and react to change.  

Reallocate Your Budget

Most businesses are sensibly looking at how savings can be made. However, now is not the time to cut marketing budgets entirely. Making excessive cuts can cause long-term damage to growth. According to several studies from the 2008 global financial crisis, companies that decided to scale back on sales and marketing activities during the recession saw 3x less growth than their competitors in the following years. 

Instead of scaling back on all marketing and sales activities, business owners should evaluate marketing campaigns. Following this, they can make informed decisions based on return on investment.

The Growth Share Matrix is an effective framework for analyzing the success of your marketing campaigns. It can help you make informed budget allocation decisions. You can find out how to create a Growth Share Matrix for your business’ marketing efforts by reading our guide.

It’s easy to fall into a short-sighted view of individual campaign success rather than viewing your marketing activities as a whole. The Growth Share Matrix framework helps you see the bigger picture by comparing your marketing initiatives. It also shows you how they contribute to your short-term goals as well as long-term growth. With these insights, you’ll be able to adapt your marketing plan and determine which channels deserve more or less budget. 

Adjust Creative Content to Match the Present Demand

COVID-19 has massively disrupted creative content publishing schedules. As the lives of consumers have changed, so have their priorities. Audiences are not thinking about the same things as in pre-pandemic times. Businesses need to make sure the content they publish matches the current circumstances and consumer demand.

The international cycling equipment brand Ekoï is an example of how companies can pivot their content strategy to match the present demand. Ekoï offers a range of clothing and equipment for road cyclists and mountain bikers around the globe. We are all aware of social distancing and lockdown measures introduced in different countries. Consequently, the Ekoï marketing team adapted their content output to different audience segments’ needs.

For countries under strict lockdown measures, Ekoï switched its promotion to indoor cycling equipment. They also created live virtual training streams in order to help their audience through the lockdown and maintain a community connection. Conversions are down for lots of businesses. But by taking steps to build brand trust using your creative content, you will be in a better position when demand returns and sales increase. 

Investigate Changes in Media Consumption and Adapt Marketing Channels Accordingly

Not only have consumer priorities changed, but so have their media consumption habits and the use of digital channels. The pandemic has caused a considerable increase in the amount of time that is spent online. Global online content consumption has doubled in 2020. The average time spent per day consuming content across TV, phone, and digital media is now 6 hours and 59 minutes

If businesses are able to determine where their audience is spending time online and adapt their marketing channels accordingly, they can win out hugely. Many companies have been forced to cut budgets. Therefore, Paid Ads have become cheaper, despite there being more traffic on the internet. A Rakuten Advertising survey shows 44% of online publishers expect year-over-year traffic to exceed pre-pandemic levels over the Christmas period. With consumers spending more time online, there is an opportunity for businesses to capitalize on cheaper advertising costs and larger audiences. 

Take a look at Victoria Plum, the UK-based online bathroom retailer. It’s a prime example of a company that has adjusted its marketing plan to changes in media consumption. By increasing its display advertising budget, Victoria Plum has been able to capitalize on cheaper advertising costs and increase website traffic. While sales are down across the industry, they will be better positioned to retarget site visitors when consumer spending increases. 

Rather than making a hasty knee-jerk reaction, business owners should adjust their short term marketing plan. By doing this, they will also support their long-term marketing strategy. 

Keeping Pace With the Consumer

The previous 12 months have seen consumer trends expected to evolve over the next decade suddenly become the new normal. With all of the uncertainties of 2020, one thing is clear: Businesses need to adapt their marketing plans to meet the needs of their customers if they are going to succeed.

Now is the time to be data-driven in how you allocate your resources. Cutting budgets and letting your online visibility slip is not going to help with short-term or long-term profitability. While some competitors stagnate, there’s an opportunity for businesses to bring themselves closer to the consumer and forge lasting relationships that fuel growth. If you need help adapting your marketing plan to the new consumer dynamic, check out how Ogno can help you grow your business sustainably.

Monthly Roundup November

Welcome to our digital marketing monthly roundup! A collection of our favourite articles from this past month in the world of digital marketing. 

What’s a Growth Share Matrix and how is it useful to marketers?

Some of us might remember the beloved growth share matrix from our time in business school. If you don’t, let’s refresh your memory: A growth share matrix is a framework that can help you prioritize different aspects of your strategy. 

Now how does this concern you? Well, like any other business process, your overall digital marketing strategy needs to be mapped out in order for you to determine which particular aspect could be expendable and which you need to be focusing on even more. Once you know this, you can assign your time and resources to the more critical aspects of your marketing plan. 

Read more 

Looking to grow your audience? You need to look at the full search engine spectrum.

When first learning about digital marketing, we are introduced to two important search engine tactics: organic (Search Engine Optimization) and paid (Search Engine Marketing).  We’re often led to believe that these are two rival marketing tactics to be considered as having individual roles to play. The truth? Both sides are right.

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering which marketing channel to focus your efforts on, this guide’s for you.

Read more 

Drop in Footfall for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

It’s always important to stay up-to-date with current and upcoming trends. I mean, you always want to know what’s going on in the world of marketing, right?

As you might know, E-Commerce has witnessed unprecedented growth since the Covid-19 outbreak, as brick and mortar retailers have been scrambling to create a web presence. Building a brand remains a deciding factor for many retailers.

A sharp drop in footfall in US stores on Black Friday has made the shift in retail from in-person to digital even more clear than it already was and will result in marketers having to shift their focus to further improve the customer-experience of at-home customers. 

Read more

The importance of personalised content and its effects on your revenue

It’s a known fact that personalised content can increase engagement with the customers. 

Why, you ask?

According to a study by Capgemini, more than 60% of shoppers say they find it appealing when an online store remembers their personal and payment information to speed up a purchase. While digital decision makers recognise the importance of a personalised experience for their customers, over 70% of them admit that their digital experience does not meet their customers’ expectations. Don’t be one of them!

Read more

Step up your Instagram game

Gone are the days when Instagram was just a collection of random artsy photos. From its humble beginnings over 10 years ago, with over 1 billion monthly users, Instagram is now one of the most popular social media platforms on the planet. 

You already knew that, didn’t you? Well, did you also know that Instagram now lets advertisers on its platform directly create posts with user accounts. Whereas before, brands and influencers had to coordinate with the influencer first posting and the brand then promoting that post, brands can now streamline this process. This presents a change for digital marketers as there is now one less hurdle to overcome when promoting on Instagram.

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The future lies in podcasts

Digital marketers are starting to turn their heads towards a new trend: podcasting. 2020 has been a pivotal year for podcasts as they took over radio as the main source of informational audio. Since the average podcast listener is well educated, affluent and active on social media, there is a huge opportunity for digital marketers to venture into podcasting in order to grow their presence. 

Read more

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