12 May Digital Branding – Why It Matters
Before we dive into digital branding, let’s look at some numbers. 45% of the world population uses social media, 70-80% of people research online before making a purchase, 91% of people read online reviews and 84% trust them pretty much as a personal recommendation.
Welcome to the digital world! Where most decisions are made after experiencing brands online.
The digital world is, however, a crowded place. Users are spoiled with information and choices. So, having a strong, meaningful online presence is essential. This effort of making a memorable impression on users is, actually, a job for digital branding.
BUT WHAT IS DIGITAL BRANDING
Digital branding may seem just like another kicky word. Well, it may be kicky, but it refers to strategic actions a company should consider in order to mark its presence in the digital space.
Digital branding is the process of creating brands, developing them through online interactions with users, aiming to project the company’s image online, to build positive association of the brand, nurture trust and loyalty.
But digital branding goes way beyond that simple website design or other enchanting visual elements. It comes from the core of the company and it underlines the value it provides to its customers. With so many and various online touchpoints (websites, apps, reviews, social media, search engine results), digital branding efforts must take care of each one of them. And the relevant digital communication channels should be spotless.
AND WHAT IS NOT DIGITAL BRANDING
At this point, it is also important to make a clear distinction between two concepts that can be confusing, as are used interchangeably.
Digital branding is not really the same thing as digital marketing. The main purpose of digital marketing is to push forward products or services and have an immediate response – sales.
As for digital branding, its impact is more subtle and determined by long-term objectives. It does not necessarily focus on particular products, trying to make conversions happen right away. Instead it focuses on the company’s values, going for strong relationships with customers, based on persistent and real, trustworthy communication.
In simpler words, marketing is what happens during internal company meetings, while digital branding is what the consumers get to see about your brand.
HOW DOES DIGITAL BRANDING WORK
There are four dimensions to be taken into consideration.
Before planning social media posts, creating blog articles and Instagram feeds, there is one very important process a brand must go through: building its online image. Just like in offline, the brand must enter a branding process where the logo is created from scratch or adapted for digital. This process also includes building brand personality, looks, behaviour, dos and don’ts, colour schemes, tone of voice and online presence guidelines.
The main tools for building an online identity and the most powerful ones are content marketing and social media. If content marketing aims to provide relevant and valuable content to make the customer journey easier and smoother, social media is great for awareness and engagement.
A multitude of touchpoints ensures the brand exposure: website, digital ads, online search results, social media platforms, ratings and reviews. Even though the safest of them are the ones you can control, like your website, the most influential are the ones you cannot control, like reviews – remember those numbers we’ve mentioned earlier: 91% of people read online reviews and 84% trust them?
It’s hard to build and it’s time consuming, but it’s also highly valuable. Credibility incorporates the user experience and a fundamental mix of transparency, trust and authenticity. Social media is one of the mediums where credibility can be nurtured through relevant engagement with the audience.
WHY DOES DIGITAL BRANDING MATTER
We truly do live in the digital age. This is a fact, not just another saying.
The internet penetration rate is about 57% worldwide, while almost 67% of the world population have mobile devices.
What do all these growing numbers say? That an online presence is essential as it has become inevitable. It’s all due to continuously evolving technologies and increased mobile adoption. And that’s an opportunity.
The digital age offers businesses both the tools and space to communicate and engage with users and customers. From mobile apps to email, social media platforms, landing pages and websites, companies now have a rich and powerful mainframe to spread the brand messages and, even better, to emotionally connect with their audience.
And more than that, through digital branding, brands can actually get instant feedback from consumers. This is something vital that has been missing until the internet was evolved enough.
The purpose of the digital branding process is to build and consolidate trust, loyalty, to offer a sort of empowerment in competition with others. This will, at the end of the day, draw conversions.
SO, WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS OF DIGITAL BRANDING
Digital branding works wonders most of the time. Here’s how:
MAKES A DIFFERENCE AND GENERATES DIFFERENTIATION
In the business world, competition is fierce and being like everyone else doesn’t help at all. Branding is what can put your business in the spotlight by highlighting its key elements, its unique story, strengths and successful outcomes. Maybe products and services are similar to others. But the way you present their benefits and communicate your messages will make them different. By doing that, you will ensure a place in the audience’s mind, you will have a chance to be recognisable and memorable.
PROVIDES MULTIPLE COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
Social media, messaging platforms, search engines, apps, online events – digital branding facilitates a multi-channel delivery. This allows branded messages to spread out fast and easy to various customers. Also, one of the greatest things ever is that messages can be customised to multiple audiences or even to each customer.
LEVERAGES “WORD OF MOUTH”
When something online is cool, it spreads fast. And that is a real big deal. That is what going viral means. Virality comes with huge exposure in a shorter period of time and with less costs, as it is fuelled by the actions of others through measurable online interactions: like, shares, comments, reviews etc. However, going viral is very, very rarely done intentionally and with zero budget. Naturally viral things are as rare as an albino lion. They can happen, but it’s really hard to control.
Today, it’s not so much about the product itself. It’s more about the experience the customer has with the product and the brand it represents. Digital branding is able to create multiple and meaningful interactions with customers and offer them unique experiences that will imprint in their minds and impact their future acquisition decisions. YouTube videos, Instagram Stories, Facebook polls are all opportunities for interaction in the digital space.