There is a lot of confusion around digital branding and exactly what it is. Decades ago branding was defined literally just as a name, slogan, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of these elements that distinguish one product or service from another.
The brand of a product or service differentiated it from the competition. Today’s brand is a bit more complex, and even more important in today’s world of marketing. It’s the perception that a consumer has when they hear or think of your company name, service, or product.
Overall, online business branding is so crucial to any online success. No matter what industry. Or if your company provides a specific product, service, software, etc. Thus, branding will play a huge role in growing that specific business. And now, let’s dive into brand, branding, and digital branding.
What is a Brand?
A brand is a product, service, or concept that is publicly distinguished from other products, services, or concepts so that it can be easily communicated and usually marketed. While a brand name is the name of the distinctive product, service, or concept.
Branding, on the other hand, is the process of creating and disseminating the brand name. Whereby, it can be applied to the entire corporate identity as well as to individual product and service names. Simply put, a brand is a way a company, organization, or individual is perceived by those who experience it.
It’s more than simply a name, term, design, or symbol, a brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes. Brands, then, live in the minds of everyone who experiences them. May it be employees, investors, the media, and, perhaps most importantly, customers. In other words, brands are perceptions.
What is a Brand Name Protection?
In simple terms, trademarks are legal protections that prevent others from reproducing or using identifying features of your brand. Such as your company name or logo – without your permission. This even extends to the use of names or logos that could be easily confused with yours.
All brand elements are trademarked as soon as they’re in use. Furthermore, if you design a logo and put it on your website, it’s technically illegal for someone else to copy it. However, it’s wise to formally register your trademarks. If you don’t, it can be more difficult to take action against anyone who tries to steal your branding.
Generally speaking, the consequences of choosing not to register a trademark for your company name or logo can be severe. Someone may imitate your brand to sell customers low-quality versions of your products.
In the event that the trademark examiners allow a trademark that is closely related to yours, you have the right to oppose it before it’s officially registered. Learn more about What Is Brand Trademarking?
What Is Digital Branding?
Digital Branding is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol, or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. This helps to identify a product and distinguish it from other products and services.
Basically, digital branding is a very important tool for online businesses. Simply, because it’s what makes a memorable impression on your lead consumers. Equally important, it allows your target customers and clients to know what to expect from your business.
In short, it’s a unique way of distinguishing yourself from competitors. By clarifying what it is you offer that makes you the better choice. Your brand is built to be a true representation of who you are as a business, and how you wish to be perceived.
The best example is Nike’s swish which conveys a sense of speed and movement. Also the likes of Coca-Cola, jmexclusives, and Safaricom PLC. These are distinctive brands in Kenya which you can never forget that easily.
Why is Branding important?
There are many areas that are used to develop a brand including advertising, customer service, promotional merchandise, reputation, and logo. All of these elements work together to create one unique and (hopefully) attention-grabbing professional profile.
Branding is absolutely critical to a business because of the overall impact it makes on your company. Not to mention, branding can change how people perceive your brand, it can drive new business and increase brand awareness.
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Yet, you also do not need to spend tons of money on branding and many of the well-known companies themselves do not spend a lot. Instead, they focus on a strategic brand management process that enhances their brand.
And then, they also make sure that they are highly visible in their markets. This also ensures your company has a better chance of being chosen during the purchasing decision. If you have bad branding, you have poor sales, poor client retention, and weak growth.
You’ll get more recognition
The other reason why branding is important to a business is that it is how a company gets recognition. Whereby, it becomes known to the consumers.
As an example, the logo is the most important element of branding. Especially where this factor is concerned, as it is essentially the face of the company. This is why professional logo design should be powerful and easily memorable.
Whilst, making an impression on a person at first glance. Printed promotional products are a way of getting this across too. People are more likely to do business with a company that has a polished and professional portrayal.
Being properly branded gives the impression of being an industry expert. It also makes the public feel as though they can trust your company. As well as the products and services it offers and the way it handles its business.
It increases your business value
Digital Branding is very important when trying to generate future business leads. Not forgetting, a strongly established brand can highly increase a business value to ten folds. By giving the company more leverage in the industry.
This makes it a more appealing investment opportunity too. Merely, because of its firmly established place in the marketplace. In addition to that, branding also allows you to generate new customers.
A good brand will have no trouble drumming up the referral business. Strong branding generally means there is a positive impression of the company amongst consumers. Overall, they are likely to do business with you at any time.
Why? Because of the familiarity and assumed dependability of using a name they can trust. Once a brand has been well-established, word of mouth will be the company’s best and most effective advertising technique.
It’s a form of employees pride
Of course, employees who work for a strongly branded company truly stand behind the brand. After all, they’ll be more satisfied with their job than the others. And even have a higher degree of pride in the work that they do.
Working for a brand that is reputable can help in high regard amongst the public. It also makes working for that company more enjoyable and fulfilling. More often, having a branded office can also help employees feel more satisfied too. Since they’ll have a sense of belonging to the company.
In that case, it can all be achieved using promotional merchandise for the workplace desktops. Likewise, it also creates trust within the marketplace. Not to mention, a professional appearance and well-strategized branding will help the company build trust with consumers, potential clients, and customers.
On the other hand, branding supports advertising. Advertising is another component of branding, and advertising strategies will directly reflect the brand and its desired portrayal.
Digital Branding Success Key Elements
Branding has been around since 350 A.D and is derived from the word “Brandr”, meaning “to burn” in the Ancient Norse language. By the 1500s, it had come to mean the mark that ranchers burned on cattle to signify ownership—a precursor of the modern logo.
Yet branding today is so much more than just a look or a logo. It has come to signify the emotional “gut feeling” reaction a company can elicit from its customers. Your brand is the set of perceptions people have about your company. But branding is the set of actions you take to cultivate that brand.
Advertising techniques such as the use of promotional products from trusted companies such as Outstanding Branding make it easy to create a cohesive and appealing advertising strategy that plays well into your branding goals. These are the elements of branding that you’ll need to create in order to cultivate how your business is perceived by customers:
Mission Statement & Brand Values
Your mission statement and brand values are the foundation for your branding. Think of your mission as the brains of the operation—a short and succinct statement that defines the present state and purpose of your organization.
Meanwhile, your company’s vision is its heart, providing an inspirational and motivational snapshot of what you seek to achieve in the long term. There are also brand guidelines to consider. With the mission and vision statement set as the pillars of your organization, your brand strategy comes to encompass everything in between.
This will take the form of brand guidelines (also known as your “brand bible”). These guidelines are comprised of a tangible document. To reflect and support your business goals or differentiate you from competitors. As well as resonate with customers, provide a template for decision-making, and precipitate ideas for future marketing campaigns.
It will also include all the stylistic elements of your branding, including your color palette, fonts, and an outline of your brand voice.
Logo, Website & Other Assets
Your logo is the face of your company and designing your logo is arguably the single most important branding you’ll do for your business. During the design process, think about who you are as a brand and how you want to be perceived by your customers. Use that to drive your design strategy.
Designing your website is also a key branding step. Your website is your brand’s digital real estate and when your customers visit, it should be visually engaging, easy to use, and most important of all a reflection of who you are as a brand. Similar to your logo, refer to your brand guide to choose your web design elements (like layout and fonts).
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to branding. Depending on your business and industry, you might need additional assets like business cards, product packaging, or event flyers. Assess your business and your unique needs, and then develop additional branding assets accordingly.
Types of Digital Branding
In reality, there are many types of digital branding styles and techniques. But, they all involve the process of developing a unique name and identity for a product or business. As I mentioned, online business branding ensures awareness and credibility for a brand.
Additionally, it also creates customer loyalty, among other added advantages. Unfortunately, for startups, building a brand from the ground takes a lot of time. It also involves a lot of resources with an added patience demand.
On one side, when we say “brand management,” we mean providing an online catalog to the customers’ company. Including branded or printed products. More so, that will be available for anyone who is authorized by the company to make a purchase.
A product, service, person, or place that is branded automatically develops a personality as well as a reputation awareness. Businesses and individuals can as such take advantage of the various types of branding that are available. Below are a few types of digital branding for online businesses:
1. Product Branding
This is the most common and easiest type on the list. Product branding is a symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.
Product branding is very easily noticeable when you walk through a supermarket that has different products. Hence, most products have a unique color, design, and logo.
2. Personal Branding
Very common among politicians, athletes, and celebrities. Personal branding makes it possible for famous people to reflect a good image of themselves to the public.
Politicians, for instance, use personal branding to create a good impression and convince voters that they are right for an office.
3. Corporate Branding
Used by businesses interested in creating and maintaining a good reputation. Corporate branding thus cuts across an organization’s services, products, employees, corporate culture as well as corporate social responsibility.
Every activity that occurs in an organization has a positive or negative effect on its reputation. A wrong decision can, in fact, have an adverse effect on the corporate brand.
4. Geographical Branding
This type of branding is used for specific services and products that are peculiar to a particular region.
This is mostly in the tourism industry. Various countries and regions try to brand things that make them different from other areas.
5. Retail Branding
Mostly used by industry giants to increase the interest of consumers and make product sales outpace the competition.
A lot of money is spent to develop unique brand images that convince consumers to select their brand instead of others. Retail branding, however, requires a lot of planning. The right strategy needs to be adopted to ensure its success.
On one side, Co-branding is a type that associates the brands of two or more companies with a specific product or service. It can also be described as a marketing partnership between two or more brands such that the success of one brand rubs off on the other.
On the other side, Co-branding is effective in building the business, increasing awareness, and breaking into new markets. Besides the aforementioned, there are numerous types of branding that businesses can take advantage of. The most important thing is to ensure that your approach to branding suits your business objectives.
How Companies Can Leverage Digital Branding
In today’s economy, many companies compare print prices online. Print technologies are also available almost to everybody. Overall, the type of service and convenience you provide your customers has the biggest effect on their decision.
Especially when the time comes for them to choose their printed products supplier. This is where brand management plays an important role. For one thing, it helps you to keep your customers loyal to your services. Below are some of the ways that businesses can adopt to succeed in digital branding.
1. Success Strategy
To succeed in digital branding, you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. By all means, you can achieve this by integrating all your business branding strategies together. More so, throughout your company at every point of public contact.
Think of digital branding as though your company or organization were a living, breathing person. Just imagine this person explaining the following. For instance, who they are, why they’re valuable, and what they specifically have to offer.
As consumers begin to identify with you, your brand will live in the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects — and connect on an emotional level.
2. Brand Research
It’s important to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer.
If you’re billing yourself as the manufacturer of the longest-lasting light bulb, your brand has to live up to that. In developing a strategic marketing plan, your brand serves as a guide to understanding the purpose of your key business objectives.
It enables you to align a marketing plan with those objectives and fulfill the overarching strategy. And remember, the effectiveness of a brand doesn’t just happen before the purchase — the brand experience has to last to create brand loyalty.
In other words, did the product or service perform as expected? Was the quality as good as promised or better? How was the experience of the service? If you can get positive answers to these three questions, you earn a loyal customer.
3. Brand Relation
If you have bad branding, you have poor sales, poor client retention, and weak growth. Branding defines how your customers and the industry view you.
Hence, misguiding layers of press, media, word of mouth, publicity–all of which make up your unique brand. If you want to stand out in the market this year. Focus on your brand more than ever. This definition makes it clear that a brand cannot exist without the product.
The basis for developing a brand rests with the key characteristics and attributes of the product. It’s absolutely important to have an alignment between the core competencies of your product with the branding strategy.
This acts as an ambassador for the product and unless true to the product, will not work. A great product with the wrong branding strategy is less likely to be a successful one. Compared to a good product with an on-point and on-message digital branding touch.
4. Brand Strategy
It’s also very important to ensure that the product is catering to the targeted market’s needs and brand your product based on the targeted demographic.
If your product does not solve the market’s needs or if your branding fails to identify the audience for the product, you have a failed product in your hands. The efficiency of your brand strategy correlates with the number of customers that will pick you over your competitors.
Two companies could offer the exact product or service, but the one with a well-thought-out and strategic branding plan will attract more customers.
It’s important to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. If you’re billing yourself as the manufacturer of the longest-lasting light bulb, your brand has to live up to that.
Finally, before I conclude on our digital branding topic, according to Forbes, customers tend to associate themselves with a brand that is trustworthy. Since it makes them feel appreciated! Read more from their blog on ‘6 Brand Strategies Most CMOs Fail To Execute‘ in detail.
For instance, travelers are more likely to fly with an airline with a flight crew. Especially, that makes its passengers feel valued and safe than the one who serves the best peanuts and pretzels. It is not just the message, product, or service that interests the customer but most importantly, the delivery.
With that in mind, at jmexclusives, we welcome you to engage and tell us how you would want us to partner with you. Particularly in improving your brand capacity and reputation on all digital scales. It is never an easy job but when we come together great things do happen.
Bearing in mind, our team is always here to make sure that your product and services start selling online. By just adjusting the branding techniques. Perse, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and have understood some of the main benefits of digital branding for your online business.
But, if you’ll need more support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can help you. All in all, if you’ll also have any additional contributions, suggestions, or even questions, please feel free to share in our comments section below.
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