Before we delve into the technicalities of what branding is, and what it means, we need to know what a brand really is. A brand is a particular theme, idea or picture of a particular item or organization that customers are familiar with. Every time they see or hear about that brand, they relate the name, logo, trademark, or the design to the actual organization that it represents.
Now, branding is the actual process of creating the unique identity and perception of your product in a customers’ brain, using a specific name, a unique symbol, or a distinctive design that people relate your product with. Usually done passively, or indirectly, by publicizing your product and associating it with a consistent idea, theme, or service, it is the emotional and psychological connection that a customer has with that organisation, or its products and services branding also builds up goodwill, and sets up a critically solid and well-established presence of your company or product in the business sector. This, if done correctly, can successfully reign in new clients while retaining the existing ones.
In the recent years, the Internet has grown from a curious, newborn hatchling people regarded with awe and confusion into a powerful, living, breathing entity, that has integrated itself into the deepest and most regular aspects of our lives. From Facebook to Whatsapp to Netflix, the internet has become a part of us, which we are constantly connected to. And this has become an enormous boon from a marketing perspective. Instead of door-to-door advertising, or billboards and posters, Digital Marketing has taken over the market by storm. Whether it be through Facebook, Ads on websites, or on TV, Digital Marketing is the highest contributor, when it comes to creating product awareness, advertising, promotional publicity, or creating your brand and building upon it. And in this day and age, unless you focus on Digital Marketing, you will be at an incredible disadvantage to other brands, as you’ll be ignoring a vast, untapped potential that could easily skyrocket your brand’s name value and customer base.
Now the first thing one needs to keep in mind is that, organizations might create the brand identity, logo, trademark, etc. but they cannot force customers to have the perception, loyalty, or idea about their company or product, that they want. The reputation, goodwill, and relationship that customers have with an organization or product is built over an extended period of time, through customer experience, word of mouth, etc. What the organizations can do, is create the kind of environments that encourage a brand relationship to occur between a customer and a business, and nurturing that relationship once a connection has been made.
Actual photos of the products are the best way of creating awareness and promoting them, and most of the leading brands of this age have already adapted to it. Photo sharing websites like Pinterest are perfectly suited for this purpose. When people view the photos of the products you offer, they associate to their feeling of owning that item. Take, for example, a company that designs luxury cars, or one that designs dresses. A well-edited picture of that item instantly evokes in your viewers the emotionally pleasing feeling of driving that exclusive product, or wearing that dress as they walk down the road. For example, designer clothing brand Chanel is one of the highest “pinned” brands on social network, averaging more than 1244 pins of Chanel products, per day!
Nowadays, any brand without an internet presence, in the form of a unique website for that brand, immediately falls behind its competitors. The reason being, with the advent of social media, and the rise of the internet, most people choose to find out about a product through the internet. So, a dedicated website for your brand, that offers an exceptional user experience, while being stylistic and functional at the same time, immediately creates a good impression in the minds of the customer that you’re trying to bag. As they say, the first impression is the last impression! However, while being stylistic, you should also keep in mind the user experience, and take care that it does not become too cluttered, slow, or functionally poor.
Instead of talking about what your brand does, you should focus on why it does that, and why it exists. Drawing references to the origins of your company, how it came into being, and what it’s all about, will create a story that your customers can relate to. You can then use that emotional connection to talk about your products, the values that define it, and what it represents can create a lasting impression in the minds of your customers. For example, this is how Apple connects with its customers:
“Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently (why Apple exists). The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly (How Apple achieves what they represent). We just happen to make great computers (What Apple does).”
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are probably the best suited for digital marketing, as they offer you immense knowledge about the customers you’re targeting, letting you direct your products based on their specific preferences! This is because social media platforms can be used to target people based on their age groups, their lifestyle, and their personal quirks, all of which you get to know from their profile information! For example, you can promote handbags, cosmetics, and dresses to women aged 20-30, or suits and shoes to middle-aged corporate executives! Even Youtube can be handy in this aspect, as you can get an idea of the customer’s preferences from the videos he watches or even the channels he subscribes to!
One cannot practice digital marketing without keeping in mind SEO. The higher you rank in Google’s search results, the better your promotional efforts will be! This is because people usually search for what they’re looking for on Google first, as they’re still unaware of the best products and offers available on the web. So, when, for example, someone searches for “best headphones under 1000”, if your website is at the top of the search results, you can be sure that that’s the one he’s going to check first!
Digital marketing, or rather, the vast number of digital channels through which one can conduct digital marketing, is incredibly effective and essential for brand building, in today’s life. It offers a brand the means to improve and expand both their sales as well as marketing, and gives customers an easy way to get to know about it. This, in turn, increases and improves the level of interaction between customers and the company, and helps the organization know about their expectations, and strive to meet them. This is why there’s been such a huge rush for improving digital marketing in recent years, whether through Search Engines, Social Media or Mobile, and it’s only going to rise even more.