In 2020, COVID-19 shook the world to its core. In this year countless small businesses learned about the importance of a strong digital presence. Some also learned that the strength of the presence partly depends on well-defined brand identity.
Do you possess knowledge about how to create a brand identity for a powerful digital presence? If you answered no, this blog is for you! You’ll learn about digital branding, its benefits and how to create an online brand identity.
Let’s dive in.
What is Digital Branding and Why it matters?
Digital branding is the design, development, and building of your brand using tools such as websites, social media, video content, and apps. Think of it as a mix of online branding and digital marketing trends.
Defined brand identity and a strong digital presence are important for various reasons. One of the biggest reasons is the amount of time an average internet user spends on social media alone. In 2020:
- Global internet users’ average daily social media usage was 145 minutes
- The average time was a 3-minute increase in 2019
- Users in the U.S. spent an average of 2 hours and 3 minutes on social media per day
- Users in the Philippines spent an average of 3 hours and 53 minutes on social media per day
- The global social network penetration rate is almost 54%
- Western Europe’s social media penetration rate is 79%, the highest in the world
Those statistics only represent social media, not all the other things people use the internet for. A strong digital presence and a clear brand identity will get your business noticed—and that’s not the only benefit.
Digital Branding Benefits
In addition to increasing consumers’ awareness of your business, a strong digital presence offers benefits such as:
Targeting customer groups
You can target specific groups of customers via various online platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Transform the customer experience
A strong presence online lets your business engage with customers meaningfully. The result can transform the experience from one of sheer consumerism to one of belonging to a group, club, or lifestyle.
Wide reach in a short period of time
Content you create and publish online has the potential to go viral. If that happens, your brand will reach a huge audience in a short space of time.
Now that I’ve undoubtedly got your attention let’s explore the elements of creating a brand identity for a strong digital presence.
Elements Of Creating Brand Identity Online
Use the following 8 elements to create a strong brand identity and presence online.
Design an effective logo
A simple design is easier to remember and to spot among the many images your customers and potential customers get bombarded with every day. Simpler designs also translate well to small thumbnail images. Consider the effective logos of major brands such as Apple, National Geographic, and Pepsi.
Build a user-friendly website
Your online customers know they’re likely to find the answers to questions about your business’ contact details, operating hours, products, and services faster on a website than in a telephone directory. A user-friendly website is an essential element of creating a brand identity for a strong digital presence.
Your website should be easily navigable and uncluttered. Streamline the design for the sake of customers who browse the web with their mobile devices. Select a color scheme that complements your logo or brand’s colors and use a font that’s easy to read.
Keep the information on almost all pages to the point and make sure all the necessary images are displayed, and that all links work. Thus, try to optimize images added on your site.
Define your brand message
Your brand message includes the content and the tone of your company’s message. The content and the tone should convey positively what your business does as well as the values that guide it. They also should address your customers’ immediate needs.
Answer the following questions for help in defining your brand message:
- What does your company do?
- What are your company’s values?
- Why does your company matter?
When you’ve defined your brand message, make sure your company’s messaging sounds the same on all your platforms. The content and tone should be consistent, whether it appears on your website, Instagram posts, YouTube videos, email campaigns, or other channels. Use internet-appropriate communication, such as GIFs, memes, or emojis, occasionally.
Set up and use social media accounts
As we saw above, more than half the world’s population has some form of social media. Your business cannot afford to be without it, especially if you want to build a brand identity for a strong digital presence.
As ubiquitous as Facebook is, it’s not the only platform. In addition to creating a Facebook page for your brand, set up profiles on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. Consider platforms that are popular among younger internet users, such as Snapchat and TikTok, if appropriate.
Tweak your content to suit each platform. Use tools like Hootsuite to manage your social media accounts and track users’ engagement with your posts.
Use email marketing
Despite the huge emphasis on social media, good old email campaigns still work wonders when creating a brand identity online. Craft emails that are easy to read, contain images, and that have a call to action.
Use your website and social media to build targeted email lists so that you can reach potential customers easily. Let your goal for the campaign inspire your choices, from the wording to images and even the subject line.
Relying on content to go viral is an unreliable strategy when you’re trying to create a brand identity and strengthen your presence online. Incorporate search engine optimization to boost your website’s rankings in the search results of Google and other search engines.
This gives your brand better chances of being present where most users who search for it or for related products or services will find it. Tips from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines include:
- Design pages for users and not for search engines
- Check every site page is linked to another findable site page
- Include value-add information onsite to stand out from competitors
- Check regularly for hacking and links that don’t work
- Use Ahrefs or Ubersuggest to find frequently searched keywords to include in the copy on your site
Remember to include external as well as internal links on your site pages.
Invest in online advertising
A staggering range of an online advertising options is available. Consider taking advantage of one or more of them. A few of those options include:
- Display adverts on banners on websites
- Search engine adverts that place your brand at the top of results pages
- Sponsored content on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
Take advantage of Content Marketing
Content marketing is where your brand can be creative. However, the creative output should always be guided by the principles that inform your brand messaging (see point 3 above). Create blogs, how-to videos, recipe ideas, music playlists, and other content to bring a human side to your brand.
Good content marketing can increase interest in your brand, build trust between your company and your customers and potential customers, and heighten a sense of brand loyalty.
The Way Forward Is Digital
The convenience of shopping and doing other business online that many people discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered long after these trying times are over. The future is digital, so ensure your brand has a strong presence where it matters.
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