The Branding Journal defines branding as “endowing products and services with the power of a brand.” It turns intangible values into tangible expressions. For consumers, branding provides easy identification and shapes their company experiences, hopefully influencing them to select it over competitors.
Like traditional branding, strategic digital branding communicates what your company does and establishes credibility with intended customers. Businesses that stand out from the crowds employ exemplary branding. McDonald’s, Apple, and Coca-Cola are indelible, chiefly due to their brand marketing strategy.
Consumers are intelligent. It’s not enough for companies to tell us what they represent; they also have to embody and live by their values. Digital branding is one way to communicate this. According to Juntae DeLane, founder of the Digital Branding Institute, branding in the digital age is the process through which a company communicates its “identity, visibility and credibility among consumers who discover, relate to and interact with a brand on digital platforms.”
Let’s examine how and why branding should be incorporated into your digital marketing campaigns.
Branding encompasses developing a business’s identity, image, positioning, personality, and experience. Theoretically, branding in the digital age still adheres to these core practices, and it’s merely the medium that’s changed.
Previously, companies relied on traditional communication channels like newspapers, radio spots, TVCs, and magazines. Because digital devices are present at every touchpoint of people’s lives, digital marketing and branding have superseded traditional platforms.
And to clarify, while marketing and branding are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Digital marketing concerns advertising a product or service. Digital branding, through SEO, online advertising, content marketing, and social media, subtly communicates a company’s core values.
With more than 81% of Americans using smartphones, digital branding is more pertinent than ever. Correctly applied, it directs the correct traffic to websites, differentiates companies from competitors, sells advantages, and creates positive user experiences.
Brand campaigns will be ineffective if they reach the wrong audience, regardless of much money is pumped into them. The process of branding helps companies understand who they are and what kinds of consumers they service. Without clear branding, it’s impossible to market products and services effectively. Branding is more than just a logo; it is also about the ways a company communicates.
The average person views between 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day. Even with the broad range of marketing and real-time analytics tools available, companies still need to have a distinct idea of their target market. With thousands of ads constantly vying for consumers’ attention, it’s paramount to market to prospective buyers who engage and express interest in what your company has to offer.
Brands need faster and smarter ways to market their products in a high-speed eCommerce world. They cannot afford the luxury of a ‘slow burn’ rollout. Products have shorter life cycles because cultural and social trends accelerate so fast, so there is immense pressure on companies to stand out as early and quickly as possible.
Effective branding in the digital age helps to market products fast and efficiently. The right aesthetic identity coupled with appropriate marketing material messaging can go viral. For example, Old Spice’s famous The Man You Could Smell Like TVC that went viral. Within 30 days of its launch, the video saw over 40 million views on YouTube and a 107% increase in body wash sales.
Why? Of course, the commercial is entertaining, but more importantly, it subverted the traditional message of selling to older men to attract a younger market. This was only possible due to a strong understanding of their brand. The brand still retains its masculine appeal but with rejuvenated vigor.
A successful brand marketing strategy plans a brand’s online presence. Structured digital branding improves visibility and credibility. Moreover, it encourages interaction with target audiences and boosts brand awareness. Brands that do this well reach eponym status. Take Kleenex, for example.
It is a brand name for a variety of paper products trademarked by Kimberly-Clark. Except, most people refer to Kleenex as a paper tissue. Now, that is the power of branding. Digital marketing strategies like SEO, content marketing, and paid search ads work remarkably well with good branding.
At a certain level of recognition, companies can trigger brand awareness at the right moments to create a relationship with prospective leads. Digital marketing underpinned by solid branding helps build an image reinforced at all contact points with your customers.
Some many steps and processes go into digital branding. Most companies hire experts to help them achieve the best results. The first step is to create a logo and visual identity that goes hand in hand with your company or brand’s messaging. And, the latter can sometimes be challenging to articulate succinctly.
Successful brand messaging should answer; what your company does, what it stands for, and why it matters. Another important aspect is deciding on your tone of voice, as this will influence how and what you communicate to customers. Companies like Netflix use meme culture to communicate humorously with their audiences, whereas the tone of The White House, understandably, is the complete opposite.
There’s no set way to do digital branding, but there are core principles to follow. Most start with a website and logo and then migrate to philosophical concerns and marketing strategy. Once the basics are established, digital marketing can truly be tackled, as all messaging needs to be clear, concise, and consistent.
Not quite. Marketing refers to the tools used to deliver your brand message. It constantly changes and evolves, but branding generally stays the same, barring a logo or packing update. A good way to think of it is that branding comes first and marketing second.
Digital branding will determine the position and strength of your entire marketing strategy and is the core of a marketing strategy. Branding is an ongoing effort to communicate your development and values as a business.
On the other hand, marketing is about attracting a customer’s attention and encouraging them deeper down the buyer’s funnel until they make a purchase and hopefully become returning customers and refer other buyers.
Digital marketing drives sales, while branding drives recognition and loyalty. As branding pioneer Walter Landor once said: “Products are made in a factory, but brands are created in the mind.” Both branding and digital marketing are necessary for any company to be a success.
Digital branding and marketing are a necessity for businesses of today. If you need help defining your brand and implementing a marketing strategy, we can help. At Comrade Digital Marketing, we offer web development and marketing services. As a digital marketing agency dedicated to business success, we guarantee results or your money back. Call us at (312) 265-0580 or contact us online to get started today!
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