Branding in the Digital Age
Your consumers are online, why aren’t you? Brands today have to realize the importance of the ever growing and versatile digital age while integrating any communication strategy. Digital devices have been on a rapid surge, due to which the consumer is looking to connect with the brands digitally. Your consumers, on any kind of digital media, are expecting you to digitally communicate with them. This means that any brand now has to strategize a digital plan to integrate their communication with their consumers to understand their trends, behaviors and also increase their impact, interactivity and awareness of their products and services with them.
The necessity of branding in the digital age is as important as branding itself. We have already seen what branding is in “Brand Guidelines and Why Your Business Needs Them?” In short, a brand comprises of all the elements such as the logo, color palette, typography, taglines, symbols, etc. that help you differentiate your brand from the others. It could be a product, service or even just a concept that can be communicated to the public to make you stand out from the competitors in the market. The methodology of creating a unique and distinctive personality of any product with the help of various elements is known as branding.
Similarly, branding in the digital age, which is also called as Digital Branding, is a brand communication strategy that is implemented with the use of the internet and digital marketing to enhance a brand’s attributes, establish their presence and promote the brand. It gets its roots from direct marketing and is done via certain digital platforms such as the internet itself, mobile applications, social media and most importantly, digital media content. It also comprises of all the elements such as the logo, color palette, typography, taglines, symbols, etc. The content is in reference to blogs, organic videos, e-mailers, website content, etc. with its overall appearance as well, that appeals to your target group.
Whether it is traditional branding, or digital, successful branding can only be reflected on the target consumer’s perception about your brand. This successful branding will help you enhance your brand positioning in the minds of the consumers. Hence, on the digital platforms, it is important to strategize your communication in a manner that resonates with the positioning that you wish to have. Due to digital marketing and social media, it has become easier to connect and interact with the consumer online, but it has also become easier for the consumer to change his perception about you as well. To avoid this, it is important to stick to the brand guidelines, that defines the tone, color, typography and the overall appearance of your brand, even it if is to be done digitally. There cannot be any kind of inconsistency with reference to the branding tools that are used even traditionally. Your brand should have utmost consistency on all of the digital platforms, which increases your credibility and appeal, and also increases consumer loyalty.
Importance of Digital Branding:
Autonomous Consumers: With oceans of information flowing everyday on the digital platform, the consumer is often left in dilemmatic situations, especially in case of products and services. The consumers are often “spoilt for choice”, which essentially means that you have to make your brand stand out in terms of your product and service offerings as compared to your competition. The average consumer is smarter now, due to the information about all products and services available at his/her fingertips.
Change in Consumer Behaviors: The digital age has eradicated all kinds of geographical barriers in the world today. Due to this, social trends change almost every day, which directly affect the consumer’s behavior as well. The average consumer will still desire new products and services, but their social circles, perception, psychology and research will change their decisions very quickly, which means that your brand’s communication approach has to change with the trends as well, to stay ahead of the competition.
Lesser Importance to the Funnel Model: The funnel model is a consumer’s purchase journey that follows the sequence of awareness, opinion, consideration, preference and finally the purchase. Traditionally, a consumer follows this journey and brands integrate their communication in such a manner that this funnel model is smooth. But in the digital era, the interactivity with a brand is extremely high and directly affects the purchase decision.
Engagement: Digital branding’s greatest factors are the levels of engagement and interactivity that it allows between the brand and the consumers. A consumer will definitely prefer a brand that “connects”. This requires the brand to socially engage and provide interactive content through blogs, infographics, videos, etc. regularly, as it appeals to the consumer very well.
Digital Branding, just like offline branding, has a process that is followed. This process is in such a way that the brand establishes its distinct presence and personality on the digital platforms, and makes itself stand out from the rest.
Following is the process:
Target Group: In the digital era, identifying your target group has a somewhat different approach to it. As the consumer is present on roughly 250 digital platforms today, it is important to understand and map the consumer’s journey, to understand their behavior and segment them accordingly to match the category your offering fall into. This includes specific and detailed research that help you indentify certain factors such as the consumer’s demographics, income, behavior, age, gender, etc.
Brand Values: Your brand values are the factors that drive you to excellence in product and service offerings. Clearly defining your core values and mission for your brand help you remain consistent in your communication processes and implement those values in it. Having a definitive mission and core values help consumers feel connected to your brand and it appeals to them, especially if the values resonate with their own. It has also become easier to reflect the same values in your digital communication through blogs, videos, social media, etc.
Brand Positioning: Brand positioning is the influence and impact of your brand in the minds of the consumers. It helps them make a perception of your brand, and gives you a competitive edge in an already established market. If your brand has been successfully positioned, especially on the digital platforms, it gains certain popularity through word of mouth and the most important factor of digital media – virality. Due to this, it becomes much easier to add new products to your offerings if the consumer already trusts your brand.
Brand Identity: Your identity entails your message, personality, name, logo, etc. and anything that will help the consumer recognize your product first in the digital market. Consumers today tend to buy products that enhance and uplift their own personality. Integrating a strong brand identity gives your brand very high recognition in a market that already has products that are similar to yours. For a consumer that sees thousands of brands on his screen, your brand identity is what will make him consider you first. Brand names and logos are also equally important as they increase the brand’s recall level. Your brand name should resonate with your personality and identity, and also the kind of products and services that you are offering. Your logo is your greatest persona. With successful branding, consumers can identify your product on any digital platform by just looking at the logo, and it also gives certain credibility to it.
Brand Objectives: Now that you are on digital platforms, what is it that you want to do? What are your goals and what are you promising to your target group? Your brand must have a tagline that is extremely crisp, memorable and that resonates with your personality. This same slogan can deliver or showcase your brand’s promise, and this is where you as a brand position yourself in the market. If the consumers are clear with your objectives, you will most likely be the go-to brand for them.
Color Palette: Your color palette distinctly represents your brand’s visual identity. There are certain combinations of colors that help you position yourself and abstractly talk about your brand values, and also attract a certain niche group of people. This color palette helps you remain consistent on any digital platform and provides authenticity. Colors themselves hold meaning and carry a message.
All these factors help you successfully build a brand in the digital age today. Consumers are always looking for engaging content to interact with, and the digital era has changed the way the consumers think and behave, and also the way the brand approaches them. It has become extremely vital to have a digital presence, regardless of the brand’s offerings.