Brand Building in the Digital age

Some definitions [and the good news first….]

The mechanics of developing the elements of a brand have remained constant, hooray! And it’s still fundamentally about the sweet spot between:

  • What a product/service does (its rational attributes and advantages)
  • The customer’s needs and how your product/service can satisfy them
  • An emotive charge – the values you wish to associate with your brand

So, the definition of branding as loyalty beyond reason still holds true.

But, what’s changed is pretty much everything else surrounding the brand, in other words the landscape the brand has to thrive in.

This time it’s different [sort of…]

While the core mechanics of what makes a brand a brand hasn’t really altered (your positioning is still defined as the space you occupy in the mind of your customers) what has changed is how you interact with those customers.

The digital age has fundamentally shifted the economics of marketing. That’s irrefutable.

What price loyalty?

Branding in the digital ageSo how has the landscape changed? Well for one thing consumers have so much more choice these days that they don’t have to show as much loyalty as before. Remember when you could get a customer and you had them for life (barring any screw ups obviously) – increasingly that’s not the case anymore.

Sure, there will still be some old (and in the main they tend to be old) advocates or brand aficionado who will remain loyal to you until the day they die, but that’s not the default position these days, they are merely a hangover of days past.

Today’s brand consumer is much more savvy, cynical and ultimately promiscuous. With way more choice than before. And are exposed to much more information not just about your brand, but that of your competitors. So it’s a lot harder to reach them these days.

You have to be able to cut through the clutter.

Customer interactions are now two way

And that’s not all; today’s consumers also expect to have a stake in your brand – marketers responded to this trend by customising their products (remember Burger King’s ‘have it your way?’).

In other words, they want to interact with your brands. There is a caveat of course, and this still holds true. They are looking for brands which share the same values as them. So you need to make sure that that part of your brand is as clearly communicated as possible.

This presents both opportunities and  threats. Do you also remember Nike’s customisation sweatshop PR debacle?   So you see, there can be as many challenges with a digital brand as opportunities. You have to be a lot more transparent with your brand these days.

The digital world means there is nowhere to hide.

A messy digital landscapeNumbers of Network

Another major change that the digital age has wrought is that there are so many more touch points to this interaction.

Now it’s a whole lot messier. And more iterative. With many more ways for a customer to interact with you. So how do you engage appropriately with your audience?

Today’s audience are looking for positive experiences. Not only that, they’re looking for a brand to provide content which is relevant to their lives and authentic. Transparency is key here.

So, to conclude, it’s about being creative on how you engage your audience to make it meaningful for them. Check out how Antwerp Zoo found a whole new audience by using the birth of a baby elephant to grow their visitor numbers. 

In the next blog post, we’ll give you some pointers on how you can start to engage your audience using social media.

Content Marketing Techniques: You Need to be Smart to Win!

We all know that technology develops seemingly at the speed of light, leaving those behind that don’t stay with the times. Of course, the same holds true for effective link-building and content marketing strategies on the internet.

Recently, Matt Cutts of google declared that guest posting, one of the most popular forms of network building on the web, is essentially dead due to overuse and bad quality content. He says the new age of content marketing will largely center on social media and high quality content posts that really grasp the attention of the reader.

While guest posting most assuredly is not dead, but rather evolving, in moments like these it’s worth reflecting on potentially diversifying your avenues for online marketing.

blog

What Went Wrong with Guest Posting?

Guest posting is different from “regular” blogging in that bloggers post their articles and information on other websites or blogs with links back to their own content, in this way expanding their networks and hopefully increasing traffic to their own website. Guest blogging has been one of the easiest ways to advertise a website or blog and has been used by digital marketing agencies and SEO suppliers for a while.

The problem with guest posting is that many people have abused it to spam websites with very low quality content simply to get clicks through to their website. This has resulted in an abundance of bogus and repeated posts that do little to help the internet community at large.

Cutts’ announcement that guest posting is essentially dead worries so many people because it implies that the Google algorithm ,which can have a huge effect on the success of a website, will frown upon guest posting in future updates to its ranking formula. For many bloggers, guest posting has been their main source of self-advertisement. If guest posting is no longer welcome on the web, how can you promote your website?

Make Sure You Only Post High Quality and Interesting Content

Despite some interpreting Cutts’ words in an extreme way, he did not intend to say that all guest posting is dead. What he intended is to discourage the thousands of spammy posts we see on the web every day. High quality guest posts are, of course, still great ways to enlarge your network and share your opinion or information.

You can still generate links to your personal blog or website through guest posting, just make sure you are saying something unique that is actually useful for your audience. High quality guest posting is far from dead!

Social Media is the Way of the Future

social media
Quka / Shutterstock.com

In the spirit of diversification, however, it’s always good to take a look at alternative marketing methods. Cutts and many analysts agree that, in addition to high quality guest posting, social media is really the best way for link-building and content marketing. Social media has soared in popularity in the last decade or so, with millions of people connected to sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram every day.

You can easily establish a presence on these networks for free, take advantage of the secondary networks of your existing contacts, and quickly see your message and links to your website spread around the internet like wildfire. Social media agencies and online marketing agencies are great resources for advice if you would like to try out these lead generation forms of content marketing.

A great tip for content marketing techniques is simply to make your posts as informative and interesting as possible. Take advantage of the rising popularity of infographics or create a useful guide to something that people need. This will allow your links to be accessed through a variety of indirect sources and show your audience that you are here to actually help them out, not simply to increase traffic to your page.

What are you waiting for? Expand your network with high quality content that grabs the attention of your readers. Create an online presence through social media. Get your website out there! Just call us on 01962 605 000 today.

We’re the turbo boost for
your digital marketing engine.

Put Your Foot Down