In recent years, digital branding and digital marketing have exploded onto the marketing scene. With the ever-growing connectivity of consumers with everything from smartphones to social media, it’s no surprise that marketers want to penetrate this incredible wealth of potential clients.
So What is “Digital Branding”
In it’s most simple form, Digital Branding is simply “branding.” And, it is using all the resources of the digital world like Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc…), search engine optimization and websites to convey your brand message.
How are Business Strategy, Digital Branding, and Brand Planning Linked?
A good marketing plan includes combining and mixing several forms of digital marketing to get to your desired client or user. It provides a roadmap for how digital marketing strategy links together in an effective cohesive manner. It ensures that your brand looks the same, feels the same and communicates the same core values overall digital platforms whether it’s your own website or Facebook.
Where to Play
Once you decide what your message is and how to communicate it (content marketing), your next step is to figure out where to communicate it. Obviously, this process entails identifying your target audience demographic then figuring out where they are likely to “be” on the internet. There is a myriad of ways to approach client acquisition on the internet from search engine marketing to social media marketing. But, prior to doing that, you want to ask a few questions to best position your brand:
- Target markets – how big are your target markets? How fast are they growing, are these clearly defined and understood?
- Customer needs and wants – How are the target markets segmented? Are there groups within your group that you want to specifically target? Are there groups within your group that are “influencers” that will make others come to you?
- Differentiation – How is your brand or product different? What is your unique value proposition? How is your client likely to be different (do you have ‘value’ oriented client or a ‘service’ oriented client for example)?
Answering these questions helps you identify the venues and platforms to find your unique audience.
How to Win
When it comes to ‘how to win,’ the words of the ‘epic’ movie Spaceballs:
If there’s one thing I despise, it is a fair fight.Spaceballs (1987)
You must engage your competition in areas where you have or can create a clear competitive advantage. When you’re working on where to place your efforts in the digital marketplace, you must know where your brand has the ‘high ground.’ Here are a few things to consider:
- Brand Proposition. What differentiates the business in eyes of target consumer? (e.g. why do consumers increasingly prefer to buy from Amazon rather than bricks and mortar type stores?)
- Brand Assets. The capabilities in place (assets, people, resources) that enable it to deliver the brand’s value proposition and communicate the positioning?
Positioning is what you do in the mind of your target consumer not what you do to a product or service. Emotion has been shown to be the first driver of decision-making on a consumer’s path to purchase. People typically purchase things for how it makes them feel (or pain that they can avoid feeling). Perhaps, you remember the sad commercials of the 1980s from AT&T about the son calling his mom. Bottom line, get a clear reason on the “why” people buy your brand then appeal to them in those areas or venues where you can amplify that “why.” For example, if your product is something people do with friends (like games), social media is likely a natural venue for you then people can share with friends and interact with your ads.
Finally in the immortal words of the great management guru, Tom Peters:
If it cant be measured, it can’t be managed.
One of the most important aspects of figuring out if you’re winning your digital marketing game is figuring out the score. You must clearly define the objectives of a plan before you implement the plan; otherwise, your focus and objectives will drift. You need to clearly identify the “what” of what will determine if the plan is a success or failure.
These types of items are normally considered in an Annual Brand Plan. In this plan, you and your marketing team (in-house or outside firm) are going to clearly identify all the elements of your Digitial Marketing outlined above. In addition, they are going to ask and hone in on these important issues:
- Content/Story. Have a compelling story to tell that will communicate the brand proposition and differentiate the offering in the target consumers’ minds?
- Platform Engagement. Are the activities aligned with a brand and channel perspective?
- Performance Evaluators. What have key performance indicators been agreed to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiencies of the activities?
- Keeping Score. How will we know whether or not we are winning?It is at the ‘situation analysis’ stage in the planning process that the communications strategy, including digital, is reviewed/developed.
- Adjustments To Plan. How do we adjust when the time comes? If either the plan isn’t working or if new opportunities present themselves, what are the “core goals” and what are operational goals that can be adjusted or modified?
If you have questions on how to make your brand work on the digital marketing landscape, contact us for a free “snapshot” review of your current footprint on the internet and some steps to make it larger!