Branding is one of the most vital features that help you stand out in the online medium. The right branding can mean the difference between a customer buying from you or walking away.
In 2015, Neilsen IQ, a consumer intelligence company conducted a survey asking people what drove their decision to choose one brand over another. 68% of customers mentioned that they prefer buying from a brand they know and associate with.
Let’s go through the idea of branding in digital marketing slowly, understanding what this means for individual companies.
What is Marketing?
“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.”
These are the words of Milan Kundera and they hold true now and forever! Marketing is the process of selling a product or a service that you have.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? The process comes with its own set of challenges. Everything starting from understanding your customers, building relationships, and maintaining your customer pool are all parts of marketing.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is a term that’s been trending since the late 1990s. Digital marketing started making sense as soon as people started shopping online.
Digital marketing is marketing done online through various digital channels like email, social media platforms, and websites.
Big brands invest in different teams to handle their traditional and digital marketing processes to ensure they get the best results offline and online.
What is Branding?
Branding is a really special term. It is something that converts a business or a company into an actual brand. Branding includes creating a special set of features and attributes to your brand to ensure it stands out from the rest of your competitors.
Over time, your customers will identify, relate and associate you with these features. Branding is a long-term effort and needs to be done right from the beginning.
Check this fact out – About 77% of customers purchase a product solely based on its brand name! How many times have you visited a shop and asked for ‘Maggie’ instead of ‘instant noodles’? That’s the power of branding.
What Is Branding in Digital Marketing?
Branding in digital marketing is also called ‘digital branding’. This is the process of using different digital channels and platforms to create your brand identity and maintain it.
According to Statista, the size of the e-commerce industry in India in 2020 was worth USD 64 billion. The same industry will be valued at USD 200 billion by 2027. If you have not considered investing in digital branding before, this data should encourage you to take the right step ahead.
Difference between Digital Marketing and Branding
Is digital marketing and branding the same concept? They complement and support each other but both of them offer strikingly different values to the brand.
|Definition||The process of selling using digital platforms||Creating values and features that help people associate with your brand|
|Attention||Digital marketing techniques aim at getting a customer’s attention||Branding aims at retaining the customer’s attention|
|Goal||To create awareness about your products/services and encourage people to buy them||To build long-term relationships with customers, become a recognized brand, improve loyalty|
|Tools used||SEO, SMM, Paid Advertising,||Influencers, Word of Mouth, Loyalty, Engagement, one-to-one interaction|
|Order of implementation||Digital marketing after creating strong branding makes better sense||Creating strong branding ensures your digital marketing efforts pay|
Importance of Strong Branding in Digital Marketing
- Branding helps customers recognize your brand easily on digital platforms
- The right kind of branding ensures people trust you easily and makes the task of marketing easier
- A brand with the right brand value is quickly embraced by the audience and marketing strategies work more effectively and reap better benefits
- Branding ensures organic marketing and advertising happens through word of mouth, natural link building, and brand awareness
- It is easy to get a newer audience when your branding is strong. More audience means a higher chance to convert them into customers
When you concentrate on building strong branding first, here are advantages you can get while digitally marketing your products/services.
- Stand out among them with confidence – Let’s assume you have already spent considerable effort creating a brand value. People recognize your brand name, your logo, and your values easily. Now you start with digital marketing strategies. You can target the audience confidently, assuming you are not reaching them out of the blue.
- Convert Buyers into Loyal Customers – Most brands initially invest a lot of money in paid digital marketing strategies and do get considerable traffic and sales on their site. What next? If you have not invested in branding, the traffic will dwindle slowly. You will have to again pay to get more traffic. This is a vicious and unhealthy cycle. With strong branding, first-time buyers come back to you and end up becoming loyal customers (assuming they like your product and your service).
- Earn Recognition from Branding – Recognition – Is this not something every brand is after? Brand recognition directly converts to better organic traffic, better reach, and more interest in whatever you have to offer to your customers.
When you are listed on an online marketplace, brand recognition will ensure people choose your products over other similar ones.
In 2014, Consumer Reports organization conducted a country-wide survey and concluded that McDonald’s serves America’s worst food when compared to 21 other fast-food chains. Why is McDonald’s doing so well despite this? – The answer is brand recognition. People recognize the brand so well that they walk into the restaurant easily even though they know the food isn’t that great. That’s how powerful brand recognition is.
Branding in Digital Marketing – How do you go about it?
Every company plans its digital branding differently based on its industry, its values, and its target audience. Here is a list of common steps that make up branding in digital marketing.
Step 1: Get your basics right
The basics of branding remain the same whether you do it for digital platforms or traditional marketing. Design your logo, think about the brand name and tagline, and plan the color themes, orientation, and style of your branding. It would do better if you worked with a branding agency to get this done. Your branding is going to follow you all through your journey. Take time to do this right.
Know more about branding here.
Step 2: Work on your website
Just like how a physical store is at the forefront of any offline business, your website is your online forefront. Design your UI/UX with the help of an expert and ensure the website is easy to navigate through and quick and responsive.
It is a smart move to ensure your website works perfectly in all mediums including mobile phones, tablets, and computers.
Concentrate on inbound and outbound links that will encourage people to explore all that you have to offer. Make sure you have an active blog page too.
Step 3: Practice SEO branding
SEO is one of the most vital parts of digital marketing and it is important for your brand image too. SEO branding focuses more on improving brand recognition, creating loyal customers, and helping your brand name reach the masses instead of just focusing on sales.
While you already might be practicing SEO to improve your revenue, consider the same practice for branding in digital marketing too.
Step 4: Get active on social media
Getting active on social media does not mean bombarding your followers with sales-posts every one hour for 365 days a year. It means practicing the art of connecting with your followers in real-time, with complete conviction, and ensuring you use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat to interact with your audience and offer them something interesting and worthwhile.
GoPro is a brand that creates action cameras. The brand was established in 2002 and they took up branding on social media big time. Do you know the number of followers they have on social media now?
All these followers are constantly aware of what the brand is up to, their new products, their endorsements, and offers. It’s not surprising that GoPro is instantly recognized amidst tech enthusiasts now and their revenue percentage keeps increasing every quarter.
Step 5: Build a digital community
Having a community is a great strategy for branding in digital marketing platforms. A community is a group of followers who actively engage with you, share your content, and act as your endorsers, without expecting you to pay them.
All that’s needed is for you to create engaging content, build your followers, and keep them excited about your products and services. Be true to them. Transparency takes you far when it comes to brand loyalty.
Apart from sharing mere product/service posts, make sure you share emotionally strong content, moving stories, great videos, and experiences that pull followers towards you. Use these digital marketing platforms to build your brand value.
Step 6: Maintain a great relationship with your customers – past, present, and future
Once you have established yourself as a recognized brand on digital platforms, you can start practicing digital marketing strategies to get more customers and more sales. Your branding work does not stop here though.
Ensure you keep building new relationships, maintaining past relationships, and scouring potential customers all on different online platforms. Work hard in giving your followers a reason to remain loyal to you.
Branding in digital marketing is a continuously progressing feature and you will have to keep investing time and energy in improving your digital presence.
Branding in digital marketing is not just about selling what you have to offer. It is about creating a large group of loyal audience in various online platforms who buys from you but more importantly, believes and trusts you as a brand. Reaching this pinnacle of branding is difficult but not impossible.
It definitely takes time and you will need the patience for it. When you try and do everything yourself, you may have to reroute, go back, start over, and waste precious years that you could have used towards growth.
By starting to work with a digital branding expert, it is easier to take the correct steps ahead and win over your online audience with awesome products/services, great growth strategies, and a lot of right values.