Part 1: An Intro to Online Business Branding

If you thought that branding your business in the real world was enough to get you a steady stream of customers, separate you from your competitors and build significant brand equity, you might want to do a double-take.

The Internet has given us the ability to reach more and more interested customers than ever before. However, this is not without costs and sacrifices; it can be a difficult task handling two different branding channels (both online and offline) at the same time. Also, because there are more businesses online than off, you’ve got some steep competition if you want to step into the digital world, especially if you’re interested in e-commerce or retail.

But where do you start? How do you develop an identity online with so much noise, confusion, and competition?

Brand & Mortar has the skillset, tools and experience to help develop your business’s digital identity. If you’re looking to tackle your own branding and identity initiatives, we have a few fundamental branding concepts that might help. Be sure to join us next week for our Part 2!

 

Recognition

Being recognized by users and past customers is the name of the game here; recognition, or the identification from real world to digital. If you have recurring customers offline that attempt to find you through social media or search engines, and they’re met with different branding (or none at all) on your website or social platforms, you’ve already sabotaged your branding efforts both online and off. Customers or potential clients will likely be confused if the branding hasn’t been streamlined enough; are you the same company they interacted with or bought from recently? Unclear branding can ruin your recognition and, at the same time, reduce your credibility (logos, colours, and other design elements that aren’t consistent can appear sketchy).

Sometimes, jumping online can be a great time to rethink your branding efforts; a new logo, social media revamp, and brand message might be options to help define you as a company or influencer in your field. Is your logo too similar to another company or competitor? In many cases, all it takes is a revamped colour palette or minor graphic alteration to your existing logo to make it (and you) stand out, but remember that your logo defines your brand, and if you develop a solid backing, you’re going to want it to stand the test of time.

 

Understanding Customers

You’ll always have competitors. However, the best choice you can make is highlighting your strengths and differences to those of your competitors. Why are your services or products better? Are they of higher quality? Higher value? Do you come to your clients or adjust to their personal needs? Once you know your personal strengths in your ability to manage your business and act as an interface between your services/products and your customers, then you can understand what demographic might be best for you to tackle. You could make the best product in the world, or offer the greatest services ever, but if you don’t know how to target an audience and understand what makes them tick, you’re unlikely to truly reach them.

When a consumer thinks about your particular service or product, you have to make them think about you in particular. What makes you stand out? Where can you build a connection between you, your service or products, and the consumers wants and needs? Those are always tough questions when you’re searching for a better reach, but looking towards smaller, more targeted niches can serve you well. You may find your perfect audience within the one you were previously trying to target, all because you took a step back and thought like a client or customer. A bigger reach, just like in social media, for example, doesn’t always mean better.

Join us next week for Part 2 of our article on online branding efforts for your business!

Michael Brooks

Author Michael Brooks

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