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:
- Social Media
- Search Presence
More on those later.
What Is 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 optimization (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 enables 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.
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.
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.
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 excited 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.
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.
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.