Branding is a trendy word, often thought about in conjunction with notoriety or glamour. On the contrary, branding is relevant to everyone; including small businesses, solopreneurs, restaurateurs, insurance brokers, or aspiring students.
Branding is more than your name or logo (although very important) and should be carefully thought about; especially in the digital landscape. Did you know -- according to Hootsuite Digital 2019 Report -- 57 percent of the world’s population is now connected to the internet and likely to spend more than six and a half hours online each day?
What does brand mean?
Brand as a noun is defined as a type of product manufactured by a company. As a verb, brand is defined as an identifying mark, habit, trait, or quality.
Consumers no longer make decisions about a brand based solely on their logo or quality of product. They also consider how leaders in the organization act, what the company likes/shares online, content tone, and content’s subconscious meaning.
Consider Dove who was known for empowering women, with a focus on realistic beauty standards. In late 2017, they released an ad where a black woman turned white after using their product. The problem isn’t solely the ad concept – even though it’s very problematic – but the message and how it was misleading and disconnected from their brand.
Branding includes portraying a feeling that represents your organization’s mission, vision, and ideals. In Dove’s case, they portrayed a feeling of discrimination, which contradicted previous inclusive campaigns. They inadvertently deterred consumers and damaged their brand.
Branding in the digital age must include these three things:
Trust must be established, especially in a world of fake news, ad tracking, and noisy news feeds. Consumers crave niche businesses. They want to feel like they know who is behind the decisions, and they want to be able to relate. If your brand isn’t relating – even to a small audience – then you’re missing out on opportunities to engage, enlighten, and convert prospects into customers.
It needs to be clear who your company is, but also why consumers should take notice. Brands risk being ignored if they can’t deliver a personal, humanized connection.
Gone are the days an organization’s marketing department should operate exclusively. For any company to succeed, there must be different points of view and contributors across other departments. Algorithms have transitioned to respond to a meaningful connection versus passive consumption.
Content needs created that is important, interesting, and relevant in order to build a lasting customer relationship. This cannot happen from one person’s (or department) point of view.
Attention spans are limited and decreasing rapidly. In fact, the average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the 2000s, to eight seconds today.
Consumers are becoming aware of the negative impacts of social media and opting for digital detoxing. A brand’s purpose must be made clear immediately and in an impactful way.
What does your brand say? Does everything your brand touch represent a similar concept and relevant purpose?
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