What is digital branding?
The term digital branding frequently gets mentioned, but what precisely constitutes this important aspect of marketing?
As a strategist and brand planner, I find it peculiar that the term ‘digital branding’ is commonly employed. After all, we don’t use phrases like ‘TV branding’ or ‘radio branding.’
Over the past decade, digital marketing has become a distinct area of expertise, originating from direct marketing. With the proliferation of personal devices and their widespread use, brand marketers now have a plethora of direct and interactive communication channels to engage with their intended audience. As a result, it’s natural for branding principles to be employed in the digital media and technology space to create brand experiences through interactions with consumers on their digital devices.
In today’s multichannel brand communication or engagement programs, digital channels and assets are utilized to convey a brand’s positioning or purpose.
How are Business Strategy and Brand Planning linked?
Business strategy and brand planning are closely linked as both are critical components of a company’s overall success. Business strategy involves identifying a company’s long-term goals and objectives, determining the resources required to achieve them, and developing a plan to allocate those resources effectively. Brand planning, on the other hand, focuses on creating and implementing strategies that enable a company to establish a strong brand identity and achieve its business goals through effective branding.
The link between business strategy and brand planning lies in the fact that a company’s brand strategy must align with its overall business strategy. A strong brand identity can help a company differentiate itself in a crowded market and achieve its business objectives. Therefore, when developing a business strategy, it’s essential to consider how brand strategy will support it. Similarly, when creating a brand strategy, it’s crucial to ensure that it aligns with the overall business strategy.
In summary, business strategy and brand planning are interdependent, and a strong alignment between the two is essential for a company’s long-term success.
Let’s examine each of these steps in more detail.
- Define your brand: The first step in brand planning is to define your brand. This involves determining your brand’s unique selling proposition (USP), which is the key benefit that sets your brand apart from your competitors. Additionally, it’s essential to identify your brand’s target audience and their needs, desires, and pain points.
- Assess your brand’s current state: The second step is to assess your brand’s current state. This involves analyzing your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis). It’s also important to review your brand’s current positioning and how it’s perceived by your target audience.
- Develop your brand strategy: The third step is to develop your brand strategy. This involves determining your brand’s positioning, which is how you want your brand to be perceived by your target audience. Additionally, you need to create a messaging strategy that communicates your brand’s key messages effectively.
- Create your brand identity: The fourth step is to create your brand identity. This involves developing your brand’s visual and verbal identity, including your logo, color palette, typography, tone of voice, and brand guidelines.
- Implement your brand strategy: The final step is to implement your brand strategy. This involves executing your brand strategy across all touchpoints, including your website, social media, advertising, packaging, and customer service. It’s essential to ensure that your brand messaging and visual identity are consistent across all channels to create a strong and cohesive brand image.
Where to Play
The primary inquiry revolves around the markets and segments in which a business aims to compete. When evaluating the possibilities, it’s critical to consider various factors such as:
- The size and growth rate of the target markets
- How well-defined and comprehended these markets are
- The segmentation of the target markets based on customer needs and desires
- The extent to which the business must differentiate its branded product or service to appeal to the target customer and/or consumer segment.
The decisions made by a business in this stage are crucial as they have significant long-term implications for direction setting, resource allocation, and all components within McKinsey’s 7S Framework.
How to Win
The second inquiry pertains to competitive advantage. For instance, does the business possess:
- A brand proposition that distinguishes itself in the eyes of the target consumer, such as why consumers prefer to purchase from Amazon instead of high street retailers?
- The necessary capabilities (assets, personnel, resources) to deliver the brand’s value proposition and communicate its positioning?
Positioning is not about what you do to a product or service, but rather what you do in the mind of your target consumer. Emotions have been demonstrated to be the primary motivator in a consumer’s decision-making process when it comes to making a purchase.
Examples of emotional positioning include Coca-Cola, which aims to inspire moments of happiness, and Cadbury, which aims to inspire moments of joy.
How to Win in-market
The third inquiry pertains to the initiatives and activities that a business will undertake to achieve success in the market. These initiatives are usually outlined in the Annual Brand Plan. For instance, does the business:
- Possess a compelling narrative that effectively conveys the brand proposition and sets the offering apart in the minds of the target consumers?
- Ensure that the activities are aligned with the brand and channel perspective?
- Identify key performance indicators to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the activities?
- Have a clear means of determining whether or not they are succeeding?
During the ‘situation analysis’ phase of the planning process, the communication strategy, including digital aspects, is assessed and developed. As a result, digital marketing or communication should not be viewed as a separate function, but rather integrated into the overall business, brand, and communication planning process.
What is the function of digital communication in brand building?
Digital communication plays a crucial role in brand building by providing businesses with various ways to interact with their customers and communicate their brand message. It allows brands to reach a broader audience and engage with them on a personal level, fostering brand loyalty and advocacy. Additionally, digital communication offers businesses valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, enabling them to tailor their messaging and offerings to meet their customers’ needs effectively.
As businesses seek to improve or establish their brands through brand building initiatives, digital capability is increasingly essential. Digital tools offer powerful benefits for brands and are a crucial component of brand-building strategies.
According to recent studies, earned media, including word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, is trusted by 92% of consumers, which is an increase of 18% since 2007. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source with 70% of consumers indicating trust, an increase of 15% since 2007.
While television remains the primary method for brand marketers to reach their audience due to its broad reach, digital channels provide additional opportunities to engage with target consumers and benefit from their positive experiences. These positive brand experiences can contribute to building the brand’s equity.
Adopting a consumer-centric approach is crucial in today’s business landscape. Brands need to understand their target consumers’ needs, wants, and behaviors to create products, services, and communications that resonate with them. This approach helps build long-lasting relationships between brands and consumers, leading to increased brand loyalty, advocacy, and sales. By leveraging digital channels, brands can gather valuable data and insights to develop a deep understanding of their consumers and deliver personalized experiences that meet their unique needs and preferences.
Many businesses emphasize the importance of putting the customer or consumer at the center of everything they do. With new buying behaviors, channels, and technologies, there are more opportunities to deliver engaging and consumer-centric brand experiences. To build brand value and loyalty, it is important to use effective segmentation to communicate with the target consumer and keep them at the center of all activities.
In conclusion, success in digital requires an integrated approach that involves a wide range of online activities in conjunction with offline brand events. Digital should not be viewed as a mere tactic, experiment, or means of providing great content and measuring effectiveness. The ultimate goal is to deliver an authentic and consistent brand experience that aligns with the brand’s strategy, positioning, and purpose.