Building Your Brand DigitallyOne of the most important aspects of data-driven digital marketing is branding. Branding can be simply put as a 'promise' or how the company is perceived by its customers. Google wishes to be the world's information conduit, Facebook its communications conduit and Amazon.com its commerce conduit. Each of these firms has a clear idea of what and who it is and relates that information to the outside world.
Branding is important in digital marketing because brand equity is the value of our firm to that outside world. Coming up with our brand image is the first step, after which we develop our brand story and generate content on various channels. These activities create awareness and recognition for our brand and finally, brand equity. Brand equity has both a financial component in terms of our brand's value and a component of competitive advantage in terms of how our brand is positioned.
For most firms, the challenge becomes integrating the brand promise not only with the firm's offline communications but online as well. In fact, it is my personal belief that branding is more important now that we are so reliant on the internet to achieve our marketing objectives. Branding as a concept can be elusive to those who seek to quantify their digital marketing efforts but we can see the results on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). There are many ways to reinforce our brands online: Search, social media, mobile communications, email, etc. Each of these forms of communication must reinforce who we are and how we wish people to perceive our brand.
|Branding Leads to Search Success|
Search Rankings Reflect Brand StrengthHowever, I have often said that search is strategy. Understanding who we are and how people search for us is the most critical aspect of our digital marketing management process. Search engines like Google give acknowledgement to branding efforts. You may have noticed that when you type in a product name large retailers like Amazon and Walmart come up first, with specialty firms showing up sometimes not until the second page of the search results.
The reason for this result is that Google's algorithms give special attention to strong brands because they are trying to 'cut through the clutter' on the internet and provide searchers something of value. Small companies need to work even harder than large companies to build their brand. Starting with a clear story, telling that story through related content through online channels will increase the chances of having a strong brand. A strong brand will in turn rank highly in search results.
By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on Google+ and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.