Marketers and agencies do not make brands, customers do. A brand is an emotional and psychological connection in which the customer has a business and its products and services.
What marketers and agencies are good at is creating environments that encourage a brand relationship to occur between a customer and a business, and nurturing that relationship once a connection has been made. And the key word here is ‘encourage’, as you can’t force a customer to have a brand relationship or guarantee that it will even happen.
Every marketing channel a business uses has the potential to encourage or destroy a brand relationship. Equally, every time a customer interacts with a business – whether through traditional awareness advertising, the purchase process, customer service or post-purchase loyalty marketing activity
Digital, or more precisely the vast array of digital channels, is a fantastic environment for brand building. As both a sales and marketing channel, digital offers businesses the opportunity to meet the needs and expectations of customers throughout the buying cycle. Also, no other channel offers the level of potential for customer-business interactivity that digital does. This helps explain the almost hysterical clamoring for the next big thing in digital in recent years, whether that is Search, eCRM, Social Media or Mobile.
Where digital brand-building can go wrong
Alongside this exciting potential also comes a certain danger. The instinct to jump on the bandwagon and head off in all sorts of digital directions is one that needs to be considered carefully. What’s right digitally for one brand doesn’t automatically make it right for another and what a brand stands for and how it’s best presented to its audience always needs to sit at the heart of any digital strategy.
The idea of truly understanding a brand – its proposition, messaging, tone, visual presentation – has always been integral to the development of any traditional marketing communication
Good practice in digital brand-building
There are many considerations when it comes to ‘branding’ online. Of course, creative presentation is the obvious one with any creative idea or design immediately reflecting a brand’s positioning. But there’s much more to it than that…a brand is brought to life online through content, copy, tone, user experience, fulfilment, how it engages with its audience through social media, to name just a few.
At every turn, the nature of digital can leave a brand wide open and exposed to its audience. Here are the opportunities for genuine engagement, but also the reason why a solid strategic direction and consistent brand experience needs to lead the way.
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