Online branding: ID card of every business | Sargon Creative Media

Online branding: ID card of every business

Online branding is still a big question mark for a large number of small businesses, and even for some large business companies. A lot of companies are still under the assumption that branding is something difficult to measure, and sometimes it is – unless it’s approached strategically.

Kristina Vuković
DIGITAL EXECUTIVE
Digital Marketing

In our quest to show you the importance of shifting your marketing efforts towards the online world of social media, we attempted to showcase all the elements that can contribute towards developing your online brand. Let’s start with the basics.

What is a brand and how has the internet influenced its development

According to a renown marketing expert Filip Kotler, in a book he wrote – that is considered the “encyclopedia of marketing” (“Principles of Marketing”), brand is defined as “ A name, term, sign, symbol (or combination thereof) that is specific to the manufacturer or seller of a certain product”. What does that really mean?

A brand is in fact a group of characteristics or feelings that customers, the public and employees associate with a particular product or company. Brand elements can be divided into:

  • Visible elements – those that can be seen and include a company’s logo, its online visual identity as well as the fonts they use
  • Invisible elements – those that we can’t see nor define in concrete terms, which relate to the attributes as well as the feelings we associate with a certain brand.

In practice, that would mean that when you saw a short video ad on a YouTube video that promotes a new brand of energy drinks, you would most likely remember the basic visual elements from the ad such as the logo and the colors that were used on the packaging of the product.

The next thing that you would most likely register is something subjective and intangible – a certain “feeling” that we associate with the product or simply put: whether you like it or not. Sometimes this first interaction will determine whether a member of the target audience will further develop a “relationship” with the brand, or if his interest ends there.

The evolution of branding – internet and branding

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, which places digital technology at the center of all future developments and with the advent of “marketing schizophrenia” featuring better informed, more demanding customers, in the midst of these new occurrences the branding evolution has begun.

Unlike the conventional marketing when it was important for potential customers to get in touch with the brand almost everywhere, even in places it didn’t belong, in this era the brand and its elements are strategically released on a digital ether to target the audience that has already shown interest in the specific brand.

Online branding is alive, subject to change to fit the target audience, dynamic and more impactful than ever. Thanks to the data that is available to us through Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel and other tools, we have quick access to our potential customers’ feedback on our brand. The essence of the brand remains the same, only some of its elements are occasionally adjusted.

What falls under online branding

Even though the channels of communication have changed, the primary goal of branding remains the same: “to get under the skin” of as many potential customers as possible. The core elements of a brand have taken their new, digital forms. Here’s how it looks online.

Visual identity

With the shift of focus from business cards, branded folders and huge advertisements in places where the potential customer might not even see them, on LinkedIn profiles, custom designed e-mail signatures and on social media accounts, businesses have learned to promote their brand in places where their target audience is most active. Not only that, businesses are now paying more attention to how to spread their brand values in the era of modern technology.

It’s considered that as many as 65% of the world’s population falls into a category of a “visual type”. In other words – they understand, learn and accept information mostly through the sense of sight. (source: Inc.com). Members of this group define objects, people and relationships based on what they can see, or what most catches their eye. That is why it’s important to pay close attention to a brand’s visual identity, which remains significant even when it comes to online branding.

Here we are first and foremost talking about your brand’s color scheme, logo, but also about the design of all the materials that represent your brand in a digital form:

  • Graphics for social media posts
  • Newsletters
  • Google Display Ads
  • Custom designed e-mail signature
  • Banners or branding of websites and other social media portals.

Similar to traditional marketing it’s important that all these elements follow the same style, color and design in order to stay consistent across all the channels of communication. In that way potential customers will be able to recognize your brand by a particular color or design.

Your visual identity should represent the essence of your brand, but sometimes not even you know how that might look like. In practice, this is a job, that with your guidelines is executed by a professional graphics designer. He can transform your idea into something that is visually tempting and also give you constructive comments in a sense of what looks good in which combination, and what doesn’t.

Website

A website provides a strong foundation for your entire digital presence and online branding. It has to be fast, simple to use and aesthetically pleasing. In case your website isn’t intended for any special purposes, that is, if it’s not made for a business that engages in the information or any other type of high technology, e-commerce, and if it does not operate in SaaS industry, then your website has two main roles:

  • To better present your business to all the interested parties
  • To let someone find you using Google

The website has to be fast so that the visitors get access to information they are looking for as quickly as possible. It has to be simple to use because you want your potential clients/customers to have your product at the top of their fingertips. The website also has to be aesthetically pleasing, in your brand’s colors, so that the target audience can associate your online presentation with your other material they come across with.

The website has to be in sync with your brand message, with its visual identity and target audience. That is the only way to get the most out of it.

Over time, special technologies and techniques such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization – optimization for Google browsing), writing corporative blog texts, user interface design (UX) have evolved within the service of site development and user optimization.

If you are just starting out with your online activities, our recommendation is to start from your website. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect and exactly as you imagined it before putting your website online. It’s important to form your first channel of communication with potential customers. In case you want your website setup to go faster, smoother and everything to look better, make sure to contact a web design agency.

Social Media

Whether you like it or not, social media has ventured into the business world and is here to stay. A large number of small businesses are staying afloat thanks to social media, and some large companies understand the importance of it and use it to spread brand awareness and expand their influence online.

For this reason, online branding would be unimaginable without the active use of social media for business purposes. This does not apply to the use of all social media nor do all platforms have to be used with the same intensity. It’s important you chose a social media platform your target audience spends most of their time on.

As we stated in one of the previous segments, it’s important that you keep the same standard for your visual identity on your social media platforms as well. All graphics on posts, cover photos, profile pictures and other designs have to be synergistic and not drastically different from one another.

In addition to this type of branding, the communication you develop with your existing as well as potential future customers is of great importance as well. This way you will earn your followers’ trust and later on can form a community around your product and brand.

The results of a survey that was conducted in 8 countries with 25.000 respondents indicate that having trust in a brand is essential (2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special report). An astounding 81% of those surveyed agreed that the very trust they have with a brand will ultimately determine whether or not they buy the company’s product. With that in mind, you need to develop your social media presence in order to better communicate with your customers.

Another thing to keep in mind is to address your audience with a tone that is in tune with your business and all that it represents. For example, in case you are catering to a younger audience and your target group consists of males and females between the ages of 18 – 24, you will address your audience in a more casual way with the use of emojis and write in a way that is more suited towards their age group.

Employer Branding

Let’s jump back to the beginning of this text for a second. In our definition of a brand, we described it as a “group of characteristics or feelings that customers, the public and employees associate with a particular product or company”. Where do the employees fit in this picture?

Even if you don’t plan on hiring new personnel, it would be wise that your employees become the ultimate ambassadors of your online brand. With their posts and recommendations on social media platforms, they have the ability to bring in new customers as well.

Employer Branding, that is, branding the company as an employer, is especially effective when you are in search of new employees. You never know when an opportunity will occur to take a step in that direction. Technology evolves, customers change their habits, and as the famous quote says “Craziness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”.

By working on your online branding in this sense, through social media platforms and various blog texts, you will gain additional visibility as a desirable employer and thus gain new, quality employees.

Online branding: B2C V.S. B2B

Now that we have gone through the basic elements of online branding, it’s time to take a look at the difference in branding between B2C (Business-To-Customer) and B2B (Business-To-Business) companies. As the names imply, some businesses target individuals while others target entire companies. In a sense of how a company’s branding will develop depends on which side of the bracket they fall under.

In principle, B2C companies find the majority of their target groups online on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, while the B2B businesses are mostly oriented towards LinkedIn and corporate blogs.

Online branding B2C and B2B companies, because of the obvious differences in target groups, have to differ in both the visual as well as in terms of communication styles. While the B2C companies are allowed a much “bolder” approach to their design, as well as a more open, direct communication with their potential customers, the B2B brand requires a more refined tone of formal communication.

How to brand

Online branding is multilayered and it needs to be added on a layer by layer, focusing on your brand. The development itself can be complex: the process of branding or rebranding can be a difficult task, so it’s very important to have a firm strategy in place. It will provide a foundation for all your future campaigns, optimizations and online advertising.

Implementing a (re)branding strategy online should involve both employees, customers as well as the internal marketing team, but also some external and therefore objective parties – most often a digital marketing agency.

If you are not sure where to begin this entire process and how to sort out your priorities, we can provide the required assistance. Our creative team – with their experience and ideas is ready to contribute to the development of your brand as well as spreading its influence across all the modern digital platforms.

Sounds good? Contact us and send us an inquiry. We will provide an offer based on your personal business needs. We would love to hear more about your brand!

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