Branding, brand identity, brand image and awareness are often described as important parts of the business world. But what do they exactly mean? A company’s brand is more than just its logo and tagline. It is also what sets a company apart from competition and how they tell their audience why they should pick them and not someone else. Developing a strong brand creates the opportunity to be in control of your narrative. You can tell the world what your business is about and what your core values are. Having a strong brand is important to a business regardless of their size, industry or location.
Back to Basics: What is Branding, Brand Identity, Brand Image, or Brand Awareness?
As you may have noticed, these terms are intertwined and differentiating them may seem confusing. So it may be beneficial to clarify them here:
- What is branding? : Branding refers to incorporating various factors in your business model that make your products or services easily recognizable. This includes tangible factors such as a logo, tagline, your product or service. It also includes intangible factors such as your consumer service, your marketing style, and company values. These elements can help you find a unique selling point that you can use to distinguish yourself from competitors and connect to your consumers.
- What is brand identity? : Brand identity refers to tangible and intangible factors that portray the ideas, values, lifestyle and cultural associations of your product or service. It is also the active efforts of a business in controlling the perceptions that consumers or general audiences may have of them. In creating your brand identity, you can consider the type of tone you will use when communicating, the colors you will associate with your brand and the types of graphics you will use when marketing yourself. These elements help you create a personality for your business that will establish an emotional relationship with your consumers. Its almost like creating a friend for your customers.
- What is a brand image? : A brand identity is great for developing a relationship with your consumers that goes beyond just your products and services. However, not everything will be in your control. For example, consumer reviews may affect how your brand is perceived. This is where brand image comes in. Brand image refers to outside factors that can potentially affect the reputation of your brand. In such situations, a strong brand is beneficial as the connection to your audience will allow for a seamless crisis management strategy.
- What is brand awareness? : Brand awareness refers to the marketing methods that a business uses to communicate or reach their loyal consumers and potential future consumers. These marketing methods are also helpful in outlining the businesses core values and creating a relationship with their consumers. In today’s society, creating brand awareness has become easier through digital methods. I will explain more below.
Click here to find more branding glossary terms: https://www.brand-trust.de/en/glossary/brand-image.php
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide highlighted the importance of having a strong brand as a business. While digital transformations are happening more rapidly, many sectors have found themselves strengthening their online brand to remain competitive. During the pandemic, consumers have had to depend on digital methods in order to find products or services. This presents a great opportunity for businesses to widen their audience base while maintaining an existing one. Through digitization, businesses can interact more, create more efficient systems and gain insight into their consumer needs.
Although many businesses have successfully maintained a strong offline brand, transferring this to the digital world is not so simple. Developing an online brand requires much more than a website or a social media account.
It requires digital skills that will allow the business to maximize brand awareness on each user touch point. While creating brand awareness, the business has to be strategic in the representation of their brand identity. They also need to manage their brand image across every user touch point to create a pleasant customer experience with their brands.
These are some of the digital user touch points you can consider for your business:
- Social media
- Blog posts
- Search engine optimization
User Touch Points
User touch points are points of interaction which can influence a consumer’s experience with your business. They are a great way for businesses to maximize their online branding. A strong brand not only about consumers perception, but also the experiences consumer have when they engage with it. It is important to create a strong branding on all of your user touch points as they influence a consumer’s journey from when they are researching your business to the moment where they make a purchase decision. Strong user touch points are beneficial in creating trust and credibility and can facilitate a tailored approach to reaching your consumers. It is also important that your branding remains consistent throughout all your user touch points.
These are factors you can keep in mind when developing online user touch points:
- An understanding of your target audience: It is essential to keep in mind the type of person who is most likely to use your product or service. While thinking about this, factors such as lifestyle, needs, preferences can help you in reaching your target audience. It is essential to also consider how you communicate in order to create a good experience. Therefore researching the type of keywords and language that your consumers will easily relate or respond to, can be beneficial.
- A credible digital presence: Creating a strong digital presence can go a long way in connecting with your consumers. A strong digital presence can expose you to a wider audience reach, create credibility and sustain your reputation. You can boost your credibility through frequent interactions and reliable communication channels.
- Having a narrative: It is important for your business to incorporate its’ story and core values, vision and mission in its touch points. A consistent narrative can foster a strong connection. Questions such as “How will my product or service help someone?” and “Why did I create it in the first place?” can help you create a captivating narrative.
- Consistency: Your brand should be reflected in every aspect of the company. Therefore, it is important for the message to be consistent across all channels in which you interact with the consumer. Inconsistent branding can create confusion, distrust, and an inconsistent consumer base.
In conclusion, developing a strong brand allows you to create a story about your company that your consumers can easily relate to and connect with. Branding incorporates various aspects such as brand identity, image and awareness. The rise of digital platforms, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic creates an opportunity for businesses to maximize on their brand awareness. However, developing an online brand for your business is not as easy as setting up a website or a social media platform. There are many other channels that your business can take advantage of. Being present in these channels requires you to consider customer experience in all of these touch points. Branding plays a big role in how they are constructed and can ultimately influence the customer journey from when they are doing research on your business, to when they are making a purchase decision.
Written By : Poloko Mokonehatse