Branding... Your Path to Success and Pitfalls to Watch in the Digital Age
- Written by Peter Vazquez
Start with Understanding What is Branding?
Type in "branding" on Google and you'll get results that range from livestock branding to a logo created for a company. The common thread that ties all the results together is that branding is something that identifies—it's a symbol that you associate with something. Think of your brand as your promise to customers. It's a representation of who you are and how you would like to be recognized. It extends beyond a logo, marketing materials and packaging. It is a story of what you embody and here are few questions to ask yourself to help get you started:
- Are your services approachable or elite?
- Does your company speak to young people or everyone?
- Are you bold and outspoken or relaxed?
When it's all said and done, your brand will convey a distinct message.
What Branding has Become and How to Stand Out
Consumers are interacting differently with businesses in the digital age. Old methods of marketing and branding are becoming obsolete. The other issue that arises is how quickly things change—one minute something is a valid tool, the next something different takes its place. It's a fast-paced world and can easily cause you to go out of business by not adapting to what is most consistent today and that is "Technology Changes."
One of the most blatant differences in branding in the digital age is the customer's journey. There is a huge change in when they are most engaged in the marketing process. They still want a clear brand, but businesses must expose where they are drawn in. The process is now about reducing the bombardment of available products and services, and make yours the one still standing.
The Pitfalls You Should Avoid
When formulating your branding strategies, there are some pitfalls to avoid:
- Don't separate your digital and traditional marketing teams – Your marketing should be fluid. By implementing a cross-channeled strategy, you are able to run a more successful campaign on both sides that supports the business's mission and philosophy across.
- Don't implement programs and technologies just because you can – Put more thought into your branding strategies. If you're utilizing a method simply because it's there and easy or the latest and greatest, it can backfire if it lacks a purpose. Your goal should be taking the time to adopt technologies and programs that serve a specific purpose and fulfill consumer's needs. Taking your time will also prevent you from losing money by aimlessly participating in every hot new trend.
- Don't drown in a sea of data – It's easy to get sucked into the endless data available to companies. At some point marketers need to identify which data affects their bottom line and let the rest go. Information overload is a real risk in the digital age.
- Don't forget to look at customer insights – If you're so busy trying to adopt the latest trend, you may forget to look at those who drive your business. Use customer actions and feedback as your guide, and always seek solutions that give the customer what they want. They will tell you how they want to engage, what they want, need and what experiences were less than satisfactory.
Your First Step in Successfully Building Your Brand
The process of building a brand starts with self-discovery. Your first priority is defining who you are and how you stand out among competitors. Some things to focus on include:
- Your mission
- How consumer's view you, or how you would like them to view you
- The benefits of your products/services
- The message that will introduce and bond you with customers
Research will be your friend during this ongoing process. It's about knowing what your customer's think, feel, desire, and need. Most importantly, be authentic. Creating successful branding strategies will play a central role in your business-building journey.
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