The way we connect to consumers is changing, and the new generations are seeking to consume information in an ever evolving way. Online branding, can help you reach them.
Branding is no longer limited to physical items for purchase in the commercial market. Branding is a concept that has transferred down to the level of a person’s individual identity, especially with the ease of capitalizing one’s entrepreneurial spirit on the web. Nowadays, consumers have an unprecedented access to information via online communications. It is imperative to remember that a website’s purpose is to communicate information to a wide audience. Too often good web design gets lost in a sea of generic sites and online branding falls by the wayside in an effort to appear as professional as any other competitor. Online branding allows consumers to look for something relatable and trustworthy about the product or service they are electing to purchase.
What is Online Branding?
Before we get into why online branding has become a buzzword in the web development community and in important first step in creating an online presence, we need to talk about what online branding entails. There is no singular path to creating an online brand. Instead, online branding involves a multitude of marketing strategies that conveys who you are, what your business represents, what is important to the business, and why your services are beneficial to the consumer.
Online branding transcends static approaches to making a product or service available to be seen online. It is no longer enough to expect that simply putting up a website, blog, or social media account is adequate for businesses to truly develop a strong online presence and convert online views into quantifiable business. The popularity of social media now dictates new norms in the trends of web development. Nowadays, consumers have the ultimate choice in who to do business with and they expect to do business with companies that do the following:
1. Have their own voice and are able to communicate what distinguishes them from their competitors
2. Cultivate a sense of personality, familiarity, and trustworthiness
3. Take the initiative and keep consumers in the know to latest developments, updates, changes in service, and specials
4. Streamline efficiency to maximize user experience via web development and social media engagement
5. Make information accessible, relatable, and engaging by incorporating personality into every choice in online engagement
Why is Online Branding Important?
Consumers now have the ultimate authority in the success of a business’s online presence. The degree to which the web is saturated with sites creates an information overload and consumers choose to do business with companies that feel familiar, convey a good reputation, and convey a distinct and appealing message. What could once be conveyed through word of mouth, is now replaced with the Digital Age equivalent — a digital marketing strategy that conveys the same some sort of familiarity that one looks for in a referral.
Without a conscious thought, we utilize online searching and social media coverage as an extension of our own thought patterns, especially considering how easy it is to always stay digitally connected. It is no longer sufficient just to finalize a web design and expect consumers to find you. We need online branding to speak to the unquantifiable aspects of business development, such as consumers recognizing what you stand for, if you are trustworthy and likable, and if your business is credibly worth exploring doing business with.
In other words, people are looking to do business with other like-minded people who can get the job done and who retain a personality while doing so. Our subconscious dictates our choice in consumption. If we cannot find these personable aspects in a business, something within us urges us to move on and look for someone else who offers personality with likability. And it has never been easier to find a competitor that exemplifies online branding.
Building Your Brand and Building A Foundation To Beat The Competition
Let’s brainstorm some ways to showcase your brand and personality online! Digital media is no longer the impersonal, professional showcase of what you offer, but rather a huge opportunity to re-conceptualize your web presence in your voice.
Analytics Help! Integrating analytics in your business approach allows you to understand your audience, who clicks on what, and what leads to sales conversions. Knowing your audience helps you hone in your communications, down to the decision to speak with more personality over strictly professional language.
Hype Up Your Arrival! It may seem logical to make sure your website is live and up to your standards before advertising it, but building anticipation is actually beneficial! Everyone is connected via Facebook and social media, so it makes clear sense to regularly engage with followers on social media while your site is in transition, dropping hints of what your new brand may entail. Your followers look for frequent updates to feel engaged and a priority of your business and when you keep them informed of your re-branding, the connection and trust only strengthens.
Little Things Matter! Choice in logo, business name, tagline, and image choices by seem secondary to actual content, but humans subconsciously make decisions based on visuals all the time, often times without crossing our awareness. Logos and website images need not be complicated to be effective; minimalist design actually is at peak popularity now with sleek designs and web interfaces aiding in their appeal. And making sure your selection of images on your site remain authentic to your brand and convey a distinct message of who you are is imperative!
An effective logo is one of the most quick and effective ways for consumers to find out what you’re about and whether it is worth their time to invest their attention to. Same goes for brand name. It need not be fancy, but it should speak of what you represent and how you are different from your competitors. Taglines are an easy way convey your brand beyond your image and name but in a way that is concise and will not get lost in information overload.
Extend Professional Courtesy to Your Site! You operate your business with excellent customer service, and your site should be an extension of your reputation for commitment to your customers. Your efforts to online customer service should work even harder than your in person contact. That’s because tone and intention can be lost in translation when you are dependent on text to convey your message. However, if your branding is strong and relatable, consumers can easily find your site and social media content accessible and friendly. People look to do business with people that they know and trust and who consider them a priority; and there is no better way to make this accessible to a massive audience than to showcase it on your site and continuously stay engaged with your audience who chose you amongst your competitors.
Invest in the Big Ideas and Remain Authentic! Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, everything associated with your brand must actually represent your business and reflect what you cannot deliver. Conversely, don’t be intimidated to showcase unique aspects of your business, like special promotions, events, and other services that showcase your brand indirectly. Making an uniquely authentic appeal demonstrates to consumers that you take pride in who you are and care about your audience’s engagement to the point that you invest your time in staying creative and engaged online and not letting customer service fall by the wayside when your customers are not around. And that creates brand loyalty — along with repeat customers, referrals, and an established loyal fan base.