Today, the internet has become more than just a tool for individuals and businesses looking to grow and thrive. It is now a necessity for any of us.
Most of us spend more time online than offline. In fact, some people spend more time online than they do with other human beings. If you need information about pretty much anything, the internet is where you go. And, for many people who want to get things done and are looking for businesses that can help them, there’s no better place to find these services than the internet.
This is why every business in the world needs to have a strong digital branding identity. According to a report, about 68% of brands across eight countries claimed that integrating technology into their existing business models has been the most critical function to ensure the continued growth of their businesses. Clearly, digital technology has had an immense impact on companies worldwide.
Interestingly, there are still several companies that don’t necessarily seem to understand this and are delaying the task of creating strong digital presence for themselves. In this article, we’ll look into the importance of having a strong digital branding strategy, as well as how you can get started with one.
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At its most basic level, branding is the type of messaging you pass across to your customers. Branding encompasses the entire core and essence of your business – including what you do, how you communicate with your customers, what customers see when they interact with you, and much more.
It’s easy to think of branding as things like your logo and other aesthetic parts of the business. However, it goes much beyond that. It is the overall look and feel that you provide to your customers – both new and existing.
The entire core of branding is improving the overall value of your business and what you offer to your customers.
Considering its broad range and encompassing scope, it’s safe to say that a successful digital branding strategy will have to consist of everything that concerns your business. However, here are a few critical components that you need to always keep in mind:
As a business, the messaging you present to people is very critical. Whether you’re starting a new brand, going through a rebrand process, or adapting your brand for new spaces, the message you send to your customers is key.
Ideally, your brand messaging should involve a mission statement and a value proposition. The mission statement should define your company and what it is, while the value proposition should explain what value you hope to bring to your customers. These might not be stated explicitly on your website, but you need to have these statements written somewhere – even if it’s your internal material.
If your business has been launched, you probably have a logo already. However, you should keep in mind that not every logo will translate well to a digital space. As a matter of fact, a lot of major brands have switched their logos several times to optimize them for digital platforms.
BMW, one of the most popular car manufacturers, changed its logo for the first time in over two decades back in 2020. At the time, the company explained that it needed to create a more mobile and digital-friendly look. The new logo was optimized to be simpler and flatter, with three-dimensional elements.
Logo changes can be rough – especially when you have customers who are already familiar with the initial logo. However, this change can be necessary sometimes if you want to incorporate current design trends.
Your website is one of the most important parts of your digital identity and brand. It is where people go to look for your products or services, read about your business, and get the right contact information. Essentially, if people want to find something about your business, your website is where they go.
As expected, you need a website that embodies your brand. Apart from looking good, it should also function well and be optimized for capturing leads. A good website instills a strong feeling in anyone who looks at it, and it helps them to create an opinion about your brand.
One of the most important parts of your brand is content marketing. Blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, and much more will form the bulk of your content repository, and they help to position you as a thought leader in your industry.
Marketing all of the content you have allows you to easily share them with your customers, so they get to see what you have to offer them and are more comfortable working with you.
As we all know, social media has become a crucial part of any company’s branding. A strong social media presence will help you to communicate your mission and values to everyone – especially to new and existing customers.
If used effectively, social media can easily help you to get your brand in front of potential customers. Different industries have different uses for it – but, no matter how you plan to use social media, you need to ensure that your application mirrors the same brand image as other visibility channels.
Social media allows you to solidify your brand identity and voice, communicating its identity through the content you create and the frequency of your posts.
Considering its ubiquity in today’s online landscape, digital marketing has become a mainstay for most businesses. However, while many of us engage in digital marketing channels in more ways than one, it is worth noting that it doesn’t necessarily mean the same as digital branding.
In a nutshell, digital marketing deals with using the available digital channels to bring customers to your business and convert them effectively. However, branding goes a step further, encompassing just about everything notable about your business.
With branding, you’re dealing with both the internal and external processes that are geared towards driving customers to your company. You have internal processes that include understanding your value proposition and the people who make up your ideal market, as well as external processes that encompass the efforts you make towards targeting these people.
To better understand how they differ, consider this; digital marketing focuses on attracting people to your business. However, digital branding is what keeps them. You want to have customers who patronize you time and again. And while digital marketing brings these people, digital branding is what retains them.
Digital branding is critical to any business that hopes to succeed in the 21st century. With the world now being ruled by digital platforms, a properly executed digital branding strategy helps you to do the following:
Every business needs recurring customers – people who are sure to always come back when they need your services. And with a proper digital branding strategy, you will be able to engage everyone who comes to patronize you and ensure that they always come back.
A digital branding strategy ensures that people feel more engaged and in tune with your company. And in turn, it builds your relationship with them. You will be able to directly speak with your customers through daily interactions on different platforms, and you can remain fresh in their minds whenever they need a product or service that you provide.
As expected, proper digital branding also helps you to easily reach more people. Having a strong online presence allows you to easily gain customer exposure, and your digital branding strategy should also help you to build a template for moving these potential customers down the sales funnel as soon as they engage you.
From identifying your target audience to focusing on them and targeting them, digital branding ensures that you can properly reach more people and grow your business.
As its definition suggests, the core of every digital branding campaign is to communicate with your customers. These communications allow your customers to keep up with the company and any updates to its product or service.
Any brand that can’t easily be accessed will soon be left behind. With a strong digital brand, you’re ensuring that customers can always access and move along with your company at every turn.
Today’s business landscape is cut-throat and highly competitive. If you run a company, there are probably several others like you that operate in the same field and are competing with you for customers.
The most successful companies today are those that can create their own identities and stand out from the crowd. Amongst other things, this is what digital branding allows you to do.
With digital branding, you’re able to create an identity for yourself throughout everything you do. And on that front, your customers easily identify you through your channels. Digital branding highlights your strengths and offerings while helping your customers to also focus on your successes and ultimate selling points.
At the end of the day, your brand will remain at the forefront of the digital landscape, and you will be able to create a unique feeling whenever new and prospective customers see you. Even more importantly, you will be able to stay ahead of the competition.
The first step toward building a digital branding strategy that works is to understand what you’re going for.
Your objectives should be clear – state your mission, vision, and your values. It also helps to have a tagline that aligns with all of this – something catchy that communicates what you’re trying to achieve.
The next step will be to understand your audience. This is one of the most important steps toward building a digital branding strategy.
When you know who you’re looking to target, it becomes easy to develop an informed strategy. You have guidelines necessary for accurate and consistent branding, and you know how to move from there.
When it comes to your audience, you should consider segmenting them based on the following:
- Demographics – age, income level, gender, etc.
- Geography – city, country, language spoken, etc.
- Psychographics – interests, lifestyle, personalities, opinions, etc.
From there, create a buyer persona – a description of the perfect member of your target audience. This way, it becomes easy to speak to them and connect with them.
Your brand funnel is a concept that describes the different stages that a customer has to go through as they relate to your brand.
The early stages of this funnel might vary, but they usually include:
By tracking your brand funnel health, you can easily develop an effective digital branding strategy.
It’s easy for you to want to consider doing things your way and with some innovation. But, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with looking at what your competitors are doing and taking some inspiration from that.
Consider analysing your competitors’ performance in the marketplace. This way, you know what’s working for them and can replicate that. Some of the things you want to assess include:
- Social media usage
- Audience reach
- Content marketing
- Calls-to-action (CTA)
- Buyer personas
Keep in mind that the aim here isn’t necessarily to copy them. Identify strengths and weaknesses in their approach then use those to form your digital branding strategy. Simply know the gaps that need to be filled, and work towards filling them.
After you set up your digital branding strategy, you have to also make sure to keep tabs on what you’re doing.
Set KPIs for yourself, and plug in the right analytics to understand how you’re performing concerning these KPIs. this way, you know what’s working for you and what needs to be changed, as well as the areas that need to be changed.
You could also talk directly to customers to get answers on how they perceive your brand. You could set a survey with questions like:
- Why do they use your product?
- Would they recommend your product or service to their friends and family?
- What are the issues they sometimes experience when using your product?
- How do they think you can solve these issues?
- What alternatives to your product or service would they consider and why?
Once again, the goal is to know what you’re doing right and where you might need to improve on your service.