Digital branding is a term that’s used rather loosely to describe all the different ways in which a business draws in its customers online. It includes a number of different aspects of marketing including SEO, online advertising, content marketing, social media, and influencer marketing.
Digital Marketing vs. Digital Branding
While you may often hear the terms digital marketing and digital branding used interchangeably, they are quite different from one another. Digital marketing is more about pushing a certain product or service based on how good it is, whereas digital branding is a little subtler than that. Instead of focusing on one particular product, digital branding highlights more the underlying values of the company.
Branding will remain in place long after any product has been replaced or discontinued. It’s what sticks in a customer’s mind once they’ve made their purchase and it is the first thing they think of when they need your service again.
While digital marketing is fantastic at getting one-time buyers, branding is better at building lifelong relationships between businesses and customers.
Benefits of Digital Branding
There are so many benefits to digital branding; it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some of the main ones:
- Multichannel: Having a strong digital brand allows businesses to spread out on different online platforms. This includes channels such as online advertisements, chat sites, and social media. Being able to promote your brand across several different platforms is a great benefit to any business as it allows a single message to be sent to various customers, yet it is personalized to each and every one.
- Virality: In this digital age we live in, to ‘go viral’ is a big deal. It essentially means maximum exposure in a short period of time, and while it has been misused in the past, it can be a huge benefit for businesses. Going viral isn’t necessarily something that’s planned; it just happens as a post result of your marketing effort. The great thing about digital branding is that brands are easily promoted through the action of others (i.e., likes, shares, feedback, recommendations, etc.)
- Interaction: Digital branding allows your customers to get involved and creates a unique customer experience. Some ways in which digital branding allows companies to interact with their customers include launching a clickable banner ad on certain sites or creating a GIF to showcase your company’s best features.
- Sets You Apart from the Rest: In this day and age, competition is fierce in pretty much any sector and having something that sets you apart from the rest will secure your role in the marketplace in the future. Digital branding does that by bringing together all your business’s strengths and successes. It will help to create an impression and to distinguish you from your competitors.
- Better Connections: Creating a digital brand makes it much easier for you to connect with your target audiences. Brand values stay true throughout the years and are developed to be in tune with the younger generation which still holding some traditional value in which to keep the older generation on board.
Marketing Versus Branding
When distinguishing between branding and marketing, you must take a closer look at tactics that are intended to enhance a brand and a strategy. When you are marketing through digital channels, you are researching, creating interest, generating demand, and promoting your services and products.
When you are coming up with a branding strategy, on the other hand, you are raising brand awareness, providing a quality service to your audience, and creating brand equity. You want to put forth products and services from a brand that people trust and one that they will not be afraid to recommend because of their previous satisfaction rating with your brand.
A branding strategy is not as easy as just telling your audience to buy your product or service simply because it is better than the competition. You want to be able to express the truth and value of your products and services and your brand identity so that the consumer can see for themselves.
You are not pushing consumers, you are showing what your brand attributes are, and you are letting them decide for themselves based on the brand you are showing them.
Understanding your value, showing rather than telling, understanding how valuable you are, and consistently delivering high-quality results are also all great examples of personal branding as well.
Top Digital Branding Trends of 2018
To help you get on your way to creating a fabulous digital brand in a very digital space, it’s good to know what others are doing to give you some ideas of where you want to take your ideas.
The following are some of the top digital branding trends of 2019:
- Mobile Optimization: Pretty much everyone has a mobile phone these days and so optimizing your content for this medium is a must. It’s been estimated that as many as 40% of consumers will leave a landing page if it’s not optimized for a mobile platform. Therefore, those companies that are mobile-friendly are in a much better position to build strong customer relations and create a memorable brand.
- Authenticity: Times have changed, and people are much more clued up than they were thirty years ago. What may have passed as good branding back then would probably now be considered cheesy. Customers don’t want to be oohed and aahed; they just want to be sure they’re dealing with a reputable company that’s open and honest. Those companies that can showcase themselves as being authentic and trustworthy are most likely to have the greatest success with customers.
- Social Media: There’s no getting away from it. Social media is huge right now. In the US alone, more than three-quarters of the population have at least one social media profile. When it comes to firms developing their digital branding strategy, social media is often one of the first avenues that’s discussed. But be careful which platforms you go for. While some platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram are steadily growing, others such as Twitter are not doing quite so well.
- Video: This year is all about companies creating video content that can be uploaded and shared straight away. Video is very popular among the younger generation and is a fantastic way to gain publicity and promote your brand.
- Ranking: As well as helping customers understand what your company’s all about, digital branding helps to create positive rankings too. Google is quickly gaining the confidence of many companies and those who want to get their digital branding efforts known will need to work hard to stay at the top.
- Chatbots: Thanks to the acceleration of artificial intelligence, the rise of chatbots are upon us, and for customers, that means nothing but good news. People like to get answers straight away. If they can’t get the answer they’re looking for they often lose interest. That’s where chatbots come in really useful as they can run 24/7. You can also personalize content with your brand voice with chatbots.
A good digital branding campaign is a vital step in building any successful business. For that reason, it’s important to have a solid digital branding strategy in place before you begin. Not only will a good branding campaign allow you to increase your company’s popularity, but it will also enable you to build a much stronger relationship with your customer.
Remember, digital marketing is something that can be done, but digital branding is showing who you are.