The internet has been a great leveller in the world of marketing because it has allowed small businesses to have as much chance as the big multi-nationals of securing high visibility for their brand. Online branding need not cost the earth and will often be free, but it can be more effective than any expensive campaign run across conventional media.
A good campaign starts by identifying exactly who it is aimed at. This may sound obvious, but it goes further than just identifying a target age range or demographic. This vital first stage involves getting to know your audience – what do they like to hear, how do they interact online and where do they hang out? What interests them and what turns them off?
Know your brand
Once your audience is a known and familiar entity the next stage is to define your brand. This means looking at it through the eyes of your audience in order to identify a message they will align themselves with. The tone of voice used is key to the successful delivery of this message. Communicate in a voice your audience identifies with – be it friendly, engaging, formal or professional – but make sure that voice is consistent and authentic.
Delivery of your message should encompass every relevant section of the internet – and there are many of them. If you use a branding agency they should go much further than simply designing your website. An effective branding consultancy will be active on your behalf in every place your audience visits, consistently delivering your message in ways that will engage them and encourage them to interact. They should create ideas around your brand, identify qualities that are appealing and exciting, and communicate them in every way they can – blogs, forums, social media and anywhere else relevant to you and your audience.
Getting social with the audience
Success comes from viewing the whole process as a conversation you are having with your audience. This is especially true in the social media. Instead of simply delivering your message, encourage interaction by asking questions, running competitions or give-aways, or even encouraging people to share ideas for developing your brand.
Involve your audience, make them feel part of the gang and your brand will get the trust it deserves. Forums are another great opportunity for contributing to the internet and building the reputation of your brand. By providing expert comments or advice on problems that people are having, you are establishing your brand as one that is both reputable and community spirited.
As your online activities begin to pay off in terms of new business or greater public awareness, don’t be shy about broadcasting your success. Announce any awards in the social media, and make your audience feel they were part of it. If you partner with a big respected name, include their logo on your website. The internet is a crowded place, but with the right techniques your brand has every chance of rising well above the rest.
Davison Williams is an award-winning branding consultancy agency based in London. We provide Innovative Online Digital Solutions, POS & Packaging for food, drink, lifestyle and leisure-related companies. For more information about branding, please visit: http://www.davisonwilliams.com/