Branding is a crucial element in the success of a company, and it goes way beyond logos and graphics. Don’t get me wrong, memorable logo design is important but branding stretches much further than your company insignia.
Branding is everything that involves customer experience and is usually the determining factor to someone becoming a customer. Although the importance of branding hasn’t dulled, the digital economy has changed the way businesses establish their brands.
Successful branding isn’t done overnight with an announcement of the change, it takes time, strategy, and a trustworthy reputation.
Why is digital branding so important?
Branding today is important because it’s the way everyone is going to perceive your company. There are entrepreneurs who are consumed by the bigger picture, but it’s the details that’ll create the customer preference for your company. Things as small as the way you answer the phone, social media experience, and user friendliness are things you should be aware of.
The main goal of branding is to get past the products and services that you’re providing. It’s about tapping into the emotional side of your business that’ll set you apart from the rest.
Let’s be real. Your products and services can be duplicated, and they probably are. But brand awareness gives you the emotional leverage that will attract loyal customers.
The first thought of branding that comes to mind is a textbook rental platform that I absolutely loved. They did everything the same as every other book rental website, but this one focused on branding. They had big buttons, user-friendly platforms, a beautiful website. It got better when they sent the sweetest personalised emails during the semester just to wish you luck with classes. It’s the little things that matter.
Creating a strong brand will help your company become trustworthy. When your customers have a positive and straightforward experience with your business, they’ll always expect that when they return. It’s important to remember that your brand represents you. What do you want people to say about you? Then reflect those attributes to your company consistently.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of branding, let’s talk about how branding has evolved in the digital era.
How has branding changed in the digital world?
The main change in branding is that there is a tonne of ways to reach out to people. Which can be great for your company. When people shop, they make their purchases online through social proof. They’re looking at who supports you, what people have experienced, and especially your company’s blog.
It takes a lot more than just claiming you’re a certain way. You need to give them proof. Consumers are becoming smart in the way they shop, and digital marketing tactics are getting harder to reach consumers. It’s important to remember that reviews, blogs, and your engagement with people on different platforms are all forms of social proof for your brand.
Your website is now the face of your branding.
Your company’s website it’s the most important form of branding and marketing online. When people come to your site, it only takes them a few seconds to form an opinion about your company. First impressions matter. A lot.
What does this mean? When people land on your site it needs to be simple, beautiful and inviting. Before they even read the words on your site, they’re going to notice the layout. If it’s ugly, it won’t benefit your brand. It’s that simple.
Along with a beautiful and simple layout, it needs to be straight to the point and provide the answer to any question they may have. Your landing page/home page should start off with what you offer and what they need to do, to start their process with you.
Best practices for branding in the digital era
Today’s practices for branding today are going to be completely different to before, so let’s jump right in:
You’re going to need to differentiate yourself from competitors. Start by looking at your customers and finding out what they find valuable in a company and prioritise it. This could mean making a process easier and personalised or working on your customer service.
Be authentic. There are lots of options for consumers and you aren’t going to win their business by bad mouthing other companies or using negative marketing. Focus on the customer and make them feel like you care, by actually caring for them!
Share your passions, goals, and the mission of your company. Being authentic will help the consumer understand your values and how important they are to you. This includes the promise you make to customers and how important it is to fulfil it.
Connect with your customers emotionally. The emotions your customers feel when they interact with your brand is just as important as the quality of the product you sell. Create an emotional trigger for your customers that solves a problem or inspires the prospect.
Know your target market. Study your target demographic and find out what’s important to them. When you fully understand your audience, you can start to market directly to your ideal customers.
Interact with your customers. Talk with them and listen to their concerns. Take reviews seriously and constantly tailor your business to what works.
Branding is getting more important every day as competition grows online. Although there are different methods in branding, it all has the same roots. Be authentic, provide value, and constantly improve. Your customers care about the details, and so should you.