Building an online brand is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a business owner. Branding is easily misunderstood, and many of today’s businesses fail to create an effective brand that meets the needs of their organizations and audience members.
Knowing what a brand is, the benefits it provides, and how to build one for your business are the first steps in creating a compelling and enduring brand experience.
Understand Brand First
A brand isn’t a logo, tagline, or name. Brands represent an experience that occurs in the minds of your current and future customers. They consist of the emotions, perceptions, and ideas that relate to your products and services.
In today’s marketplace, businesses have the power to connect directly with their audiences. This presents new challenges for business owners and marketers.
You can evaluate the current state of your online branding with a few key questions.
Do your existing marketing efforts provide a consistent brand message across your distribution channels? Has your brand adapted to the growth of social media and other developing trends?
Most importantly, are you utilizing those channels to gain the feedback you need to understand your audience’s primary needs?
Answering these and other questions helps you improve the effectiveness of your brand.
Why Branding Matters
Your brand is the primary component that keeps new and existing customers returning to your products and services. Branding increases your company’s visibility and establishes familiarity, trust, and credibility.
Branding must be a major component of your overall marketing strategy. Building a brand helps you reach your business goals, increase revenue, and grow loyalty among your customers.
Knowing Your Audience
The first step in developing your business brand is to know your audience. Businesses must be clear on the needs, interests, and behaviors of their audience members.
There are tools available that track valuable data including age, gender, income, and location. Getting clear on who your audience is allows you to optimize all of your distribution channels and customize your message to resonate with your ideal customers.
Building and Managing Your Reputation
Your reputation is an integral component of your brand. In order to build an online reputation, you need to take a strategic approach when developing your offline and online networks.
Consider all of the existing relationships you have and leverage those to develop your online brand. And offline network can support your online branding by helping you grow a strong link profile and optimize your organic search rankings.
Giving Your Brand a Voice
Once you understand your audience and have developed a network to support your online presence, you need to give your business a unique voice. This can only come as a result of knowing what your audience needs to hear most.
Remember to engage with your audience rather than simply broadcasting at them. A conversational approach reminds your audience that your business is more than a website, logo, or product.
Your brand’s voice must be consistent across all of your channels including your website, social media, guest blog posts, and paid advertising campaigns. Consistency leads to familiarity and trust.
Be creative when establishing your brand voice. Brainstorm the different ways you can share your message. Each business is unique and will need to determine what works best.
The basics of online branding consist of knowing your audience, building a strong reputation within your network, and developing a unique and consistent voice. Businesses that ignore branding fall behind their competitors. Taking the time to create your unique brand will ensure that you continue to grow your business online.
Let us know what you’ve done to create a powerful brand for your business. If you’re struggling with this stage of your business development, let us know what obstacles you’re facing in the comments below.