How to approach Digital Branding – An introduction

Last Updated at: Nov 08, 2019
How to approach Digital Branding - An introduction

In the age of digitisation, the importance of the online presence of a company has assumed an increasingly significant role in determining sales, market outreach and brand identity. A variety of online tools, apps, websites and people connections can be used to generate leads to your brand and boost sales. In this post, we explore nuances of digitally reaching out to a potential customer base while also highlighting new trends of digital branding and their associated advantages. 

Importance of digital communications in brand building 

  • More eyeballs – An average user spends about six hours online every day. This also means that many traditional targets of radio, televised and print marketing have shifted a large chunk of their time to use their phones, thereby making accessibility of content relating to the brand online, very important. 
  • More trust – Most of the brand building that takes place online works on leveraging “word of mouth” – through friends, celebrities, sports personalities and the new emergent “influencers”. This essential difference between traditional branding strategies and online branding makes a critical impact, as consumers associate a higher level of trust with the latter.
  • Better targeting of customers – Online campaign can be more targeted – for example, Instagram advertisements work on targeted delivery based on a user’s past records, making it highly efficient, interactive and reliable as an advertising platform. 
  • Rich and engaging content – Digital branding through a brand’s own page on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc, also allows meaningful and rich content to be shared via pictures, videos and messages of social relevance, while also allowing continuous engagement with customers. 

The Power of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram 

Short, impactful and funny messages on twitter have always received much applause. Take, for instance, Airtel’s dig at Rio after the latter introduced chargeable voice calls. The Airtel ad said “For some, unlimited means something else. For us, unlimited voice calls have always meant truly unlimited voice calls. Switch to Airtel now,” Along with the tweet there was an image that said “Wait a minute, that just cost you 6 paise. Gee-Oh!” and a hashtag #AbTohSahiChuno. Hashtags, given their ability to easily link mass media with a simple hash, can be gauged from many popular political and social campaigns such as #MeToo, #MainBhiChowkidar and fashion tags such as #OutfitOfTheDay (with its now popular acronym OOTD) that can easily add more visibility to an ongoing thread. Thus, in the digital space – crisp and witty content is rewarded. 

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Influencers – Should you leverage a ready fan base? 

Influencers on the internet are mini-celebrities, often connoisseurs in their fields of interest like fashion, technology or sports. Since they review multiple products, give opinions and tips, they have a large fan base, making it easier for a business to reach out to potential customers. However, working with influencers requires time, effort and often money. For bigger business, engaging in paid partnerships and producing good quality content in association with a celebrity is not too difficult. For smaller businesses, it’s ideal to send a PR package – often customised products to a content creator to gather social media attention, leading to better visibility. While some influencers may willingly give credits, it’s important to let them know about your products and have a follow-up. As a business, it’s important to know your product as well as define the outcome you expect from a branded association. Before taking the plunge, it’s best to have good reviews, a well designed and user-friendly website and quality content. 

Some helpful questions to ask yourself before chalking out a digital branding strategy 

    • What’s your biggest platform and is it ready for meeting sales bandwidth today? 
    • What are the social media platforms that best suit your product? 
    • Who is your customer? How well do you know the ideal shopper that likely to want more of your brand? What kind of content do they consume? 
    • What are you doing to routinely engage with your customer? 

When something goes wrong – Using digital branding to make amends 

Not just for brand building, digital platforms are ideal for brand image correction as well. Maggi’s remarkable brand recovery after reports of lead content in its noodles is a classic lesson in brand rebuilding. In three decades, Nestle’s Maggi became the favourite snack in India and popularised ready to eat, two minutes noodles. After FSSAI banned the sale of Maggi, Nestle revised its formula, came out with massive campaigns on food safety, tailored its advertisements around the nutritive value and started new healthier product variants of its noodles made with oats, wheat and dal. Since then, Maggi has revamped its PR, and now also runs a plastic waste campaign that lets people exchange empty packets for a new one. With increased consciousness around fitness and ecology, Maggi renewed its focus on health and environment in its online and offline branding strategies and benefited from centring itself around these trends. 

Avani Mishra is a graduate in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. She qualified the Company Secretary course with an All India Rank 1 and is a recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for her academic distinctions. She also holds a B.Com degree with a specialization in Corporate Affairs and Administration.