The basics of building your brand for online marketing
Marketers love talking about brands. We’re sort-of obsessed with them, actually.
When planning marketing strategies for our clients, usually the first thing we talk about is brand. When we talk about branding in marketing, we mean more than a brand name or a logo. Today, branding is a much broader concept, essentially covering everything that defines and identifies your brand: design, messaging, values, actions and more.
Most businesses are comfortable with their brands, but many struggle to build and extend them to digital platforms. What’s worrying is that brands often need to be stronger online than offline. First, you face greater, more varied competition online. Secondly, it’s easier for users to search for brands they like (and avoid those they don’t). Also, digital marketing channels offer many more opportunities for two-way communication than traditional physical channels do.
Start With What You Know
If you want to strengthen your online brand, first write a list of what you already know about your brand, including:
- Core values
- Design approach and colour scheme
- Your USPs
- Your target market(s)
Start to think about how you can extend these elements online.
Do Your Research
It’s always a good idea to carry out a competitor analysis to see how other businesses fare in terms of online branding. Your online brand needs to stand apart from your competitors. Try to ensure that any design elements (website layout, colour schemes, social media profile photos) are sufficiently different to those of your competitors.
Take a look at competitor websites, social media pages, and review websites. Make a note of their strengths and weaknesses – there’s no harm in finding a few ideas for your own online brand during your search!
Assembling the pieces
Let’s return to the core pieces of your brand. This time, we’ll look at considerations you need to make with your online brand.
First, design. You may need to tweak your logo (or produce multiple versions) so that it looks good on social media sites, your website and elsewhere. The media that you use should also reflect your brand. If you’re all about high quality UK manufacturing, use photos of the manufacturing process, and images of British flags to show off this element of your brand.
Next, messaging. This one’s tricky to get right online – particularly on social media and in marketing emails. Think about the ‘voice’ that you want your brand to have. Do you want to be friendly and conversational? Or do you want your voice to be that of a mentor or teacher? Is your target audience familiar with industry jargon or do you need to avoid it?
Set social media guidelines to help you and your team to remain consistent. This is especially useful when dealing with customer queries and complaints on social media.
Perhaps most importantly, your company values can be communicated through your website and the way you talk to customers. On the ‘About Us’ page on your website, don’t be afraid to talk frankly about your values and how you apply them to your work. You should show off your actions in the same way. Use behind-the-scenes photos and case studies to back-up your words and maintain your brand’s credibility.
If you want your digital marketing efforts to succeed, you’ll need a strong brand. The opportunities that social media, email marketing and online reviews offer your business are huge – but you must endeavour to keep your brand messaging consistent across all these spheres if your brand is to remain credible and appealing to new and current customers alike.
If you’d like to learn more about building your online brand or updating your marketing approach for 2017, Built for Marketing can help you create, implement and refine your marketing strategy – get in touch with the team today.