What Is Digital Branding? – Definition, Strategies, Examples
Digital branding is complicated but necessary to succeed for every company today. Let's dive into it deeper to get hints on how to nail it.
Do you know that according to recent studies, there are 4.88 billion internet users in the World nowadays? And this number is growing fast: to be more precise, it increases by 5% each year. That's not all; while a decade ago, the average global internet users spent just 2 hours a day on the Web, today they allocate staggering 6 hours for surfing, sharing, and mining information. The tendency is the digital World becomes stronger and more influential, forcing businesses across the Globe from all niches and of all ages to consider their online presence and digital branding seriously.
Speaking of which. Digital branding, which was underestimated last decade, today has grown to the top position and occupied the highest priority ever. The surveys conducted last year backed up this: over 80% of companies said that they would increase their investment in digital marketing next year, whereas almost 90% of companies had already escalated their brand awareness by using one or more digital marketing channels.
What’s more, the situation is accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic that dramatically changed the landscape of consumer behavior in 2020. As a result, in 2022, every company relies on a well-thought-out digital branding campaign regardless of budget, scale, age, and sector, making digital branding and marketing obligatory to stay afloat, fight competition and succeed.
Let's grasp the digital branding meaning and get acquainted with popular digital branding strategies to ensure your company has a surviving chance in today's obsession with the digital space full of cut-throat competition.
Digital Branding Definition
It is crucial to understand the very meaning of branding digital to boost your digital brand strategy.
The definition of the digital brand lies above the basic description, much like the brand itself. It is a complex term with a knotty passage and interplay of marketing assets and social factors. So, let's dive into "what is a digital brand" a bit deeper.
What Is Digital Branding?
The digital brand sometimes can be called digital brand management because it operates and controls brand identity, visibility, and credibility. It establishes the company online, separates it from the competition, and fosters an emotional connection with the target audience to create an opportunity to realize the company's potential.
It is also a set of approaches and tactics used to cement a brand's recognition, reputation, and presence through various digital channels, including websites, emails, applications, social media, blogs, videos, etc.
As we have already said, three main pillars underlie digital branding: identity, visibility, and credibility. Let's consider them closely.
Visual identity is presented as a digital brand design developed by a professional digital branding agency. It includes logotype, mascot, specific color palette, typeface, website design, mobile application UI, email layout, social media UIs, all sorts of illustrations, and even content. These elements effectively visualize and identify the company’s philosophy and values and establish a visual, easily recognizable, and memorable connection between the brand and its ideology.
Brand visibility is the extent to which the target audience recognizes the brand and how it sees the company through various digital channels.
Essential elements of digital brand visibility are:
- Digital advertising,
- Content marketing,
- Social media.
These touchpoints and assets help draw engagement, attract customers and maximize different ways of growing your business.
Visibility is crucial because it ensures your company is visible to your target audience and correctly identified among the competition.
Credibility is responsible for building a customer-centric brand with solid relationships with the target audience. It is hard to earn and maintain healthy, much like a reputation, but it goes a long way because it elevates trustworthiness and improves reputation and authority. On top of that, when it is high:
- it helps the company to fight competition effectively,
- it wins over new clients without much investment,
- it nurtures loyal clients, thereby increasing average revenue per person,
- it reinforces retention campaigns saving a bulk of money.
Essential Components of Digital Brand
Typically, the digital brand implies these essential components:
- Logotype. It is the cornerstone that matches the company’s personality and portrays its individuality. It is crucial to get it right since it is a trigger that makes your brand memorable.
- Website. Gone are days when companies did not have an online estate. Nowadays, it is the central pillar of successful digital branding and marketing. Not only does it feature all helpful information about your company and product, but it is also a tool for interacting with the audience and a powerful platform for implementing various marketing strategies and generating revenue.
- Social media accounts. Social media is everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms have become an integral part of user's life. They are no longer places to entertain. They are places to market and advertise your company and cement your relationships with prospects and customers.
- SEO. Although social media may provide you with a great source of leads, nothing is still compared to search engines. Like it or not, it is the primary avenue through which customers find you on the Web. This sphere closely collaborates with content marketing and brand messaging so that users can quickly locate your company and benefit from the value that you offer.
- Email marketing. While some people believe this niche to be dead, recent studies show it is pretty much alive. Thanks to segmentation and various analytical tools, this sphere offers numerous opportunities to grow and seal the results that have been achieved already. For instance, it delivers a strong return on investment: spending just $1 company may expect an average return of $40.
- Advertising. There are a dozen ways of promoting your brand and going viral with the product. You can run campaigns in social media, search engines, websites, mobile applications, emails, and other distribution channels, including old-school TV. Even though influencer marketing is gaining momentum, old-timey advertising still occupies the leading position when it comes to generating leads, nurturing customers, driving traffic, and simply reminding about the company's existence.
Digital brands do not live in a vacuum. They operate in various distribution channels reaching the target audience through different touchpoints. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that sometimes close disciplines merge. For instance, businesses often maximize on so-called digital marketing branding that has merits of both worlds, thereby opening enormous opportunities for growth, realization, and development.
Digital Branding and Marketing
Digital marketing and branding go hand in hand. We can often see companies employ online branding in digital marketing or maximize digital brand marketing.
Branding through digital marketing helps to achieve the best outcome. However, there are differences between these two disciplines that are reflected in their corresponding goals and objects.
For instance, digital marketing seeks to increase the target audience, expand the customer base, and amplify conversion rates and revenue. It employs search engine optimization, social media advertising, content marketing, email campaigns, and other techniques to achieve goals.
Digital brand aims to gain brand recognition and customer loyalty. It employs various tactics to interact with prospects, drive engagement, build and tell a brand story, place values and critical features of the company into customers' subconsciousness, leave a long-lasting impression and establish strong relationships with the target audience to create a solid base for nurturing and retention campaigns.
In a word, digital marketing is used to market the company, product, or service, whereas digital brand is used to shape the company's ideology and prolong its life.
However, despite these differences, these two valuable company's assets quite often play together. Branding in digital marketing is a common thing. But it should be noted that digital brand always precedes digital marketing. Therefore, before jumping to social media advertisements or running email campaigns, your digital brand identity, as well as digital brand strategy, should be in place.
Benefits of Digital Branding and Online Marketing Branding
Studies done by the Technical University of Denmark suggest that the collective global attention span is drastically narrow these days - it is just 6 seconds. The reason for that is simple. People are constantly exposed to new trends and brands in media channels, including websites, email inboxes, mobile applications, and TV.
Due to this abundance of information, people can only focus on a new brand for a few seconds. Therefore, online marketing and branding have become crucial. Moreover, well-thought-out digital branding offers numerous benefits to the company on its own. For instance,
- It encourages strong user connections with the company.
- It ensures a powerful online presence that is not shattered by minor fluctuations in the market.
- It communicates the brand's value through various channels, allowing companies to realize their potential on different levels.
- It gives better control over brand digital marketing.
- It retains a reputation and garners favorable attraction.
- It separates the company from the competition in a way that appeals to the target audience.
- It improves omnipresence and lets you control it to avoid bad outcomes.
- It helps to generate new leads.
- It helps to retain customers more effectively.
- It amplifies the effect of digital brand advertising.
- It helps to generate conversions more effectively.
- It increases ROI.
- It prolongs the company's life.
Digital Branding Strategy
The crucial part of the online branding definition is the digital branding strategy that stands behind successful development and growth.
Why Digital Branding Is Important?
Branding digital marketing underlies a whole lot of things: it provides effective communication, shapes the overall image in the digital space, amplifies the value of the company, builds up a reputation, and even increases motivation for the team to work better. It underlies each crucial stage in a company's lifecycle and lies at the core of every successful story.
Consider the recent studies as a case in point: they show that branding online marketing strategies drive a significantly higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing.
To sum up, digital branding does such vital things:
- It interacts with the prospects and customers.
- It helps to convert prospects into warm leads efficiently and, most importantly, unobtrusively, leaving a positive impression.
- It makes the company's visual identity more memorable.
- It allows the unique side of your brand to shine.
- It expands the network.
- It helps to build strong relationships with the target audience.
- It helps businesses go viral.
- It gives startups a strong chance to see through the first difficult years.
- It underlies the solid foundation to grow business and develop products or services.
- It strengthens the marketing from different perspectives and angles.
What Is Digital Brand Strategy?
Digital brand strategy is a road map that helps companies navigate the digital landscape and ensure customers perceive the company the way it is supposed to be. It implies a plan of actions that uniquely identifies the company from the competition, escalates brand positioning and awareness, and achieves goals through various assets and tools. It is crucial for short and long-term success.
Core elements of digital brand strategy are:
- 'SMART' goals. These are targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.
- Properly defined brand. This means appropriately defined brand elements such as brand purpose, style and voice, target audience, and competition.
- Target audience. Correctly determining your audience and understanding its behavior and preferences has a top priority for every niche and sector.
- The assets. This may include all sorts of distribution channels and presentation devices. For instance, it can be services, content, media, etc.
- The tools. This implies instruments through which the company realizes its strategy. It can be SEO, user experience, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and PPC.
Key to Successful Digital Brand Strategy
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for creating a successful digital brand. There are millions of companies in the digital space, and each one is vying for the spotlight. However, only a few of them can achieve this goal.
What's the secret? The deal is that they maintain consistency across all marketing channels and touchpoints, making the target audience understand its value and philosophy. For this, they nail such essential components as brand purpose, brand message, brand recognition, target audience, and competitor analysis.
Plus, they maximize on three crucial platforms: website and web presence, social media and social influence, advertising including search engine optimization, and paid advertisement.
Top Digital Branding Examples
1. AmazonWe will start our collection of digital brand examples with Amazon because it is the most successful online retailer in the World, which by the way, gave a massive boost to the e-commerce sector in the last decade.
From A to Z and a giant golden smile in a shape of an arrow are two things that are instantly associated with this digital brand. You can hardly find an internet user who has never heard about it. Credit for such colossal popularity goes to the strong digital brand and professional marketing team. Together they have done a massive job at establishing a powerful online presence across all fronts.
And they did not stop there. Despite achieving tremendous success, the company continues expanding its sphere of influence by investing millions of dollars into improving digital branding and employing all sorts of digital marketing campaigns. This way, they always stay on the top, meeting the current requirements and expectations of the target audience.
2. Dollar Shave ClubNext on our list is one of the most famous digital world success stories. Dollar Shave Club took the Web by storm in 2012 with the hilarious commercial that brought actual value to the customers. This video won the "Best Out-of-Nowhere Video Campaign" and Webby Award in 2013.
Today it is legendary and serves as an excellent lesson for those who do not have a huge budget but have a great idea in their pocket. It proves to all startups and entrepreneurs that anyone can follow their dream and go viral instantly; all they need is a well-thought-out digital brand.
The secret ingredient of Dollar Shave Club's success is its relentless obsession with the market's needs. They follow the mainstream and listen to the audience. They have established one of the most potent online presences on the Internet. Therefore, it is no surprise that Unilever acquired them in 2016 for a staggering 1$ billion.
3. AirBnBAirbnb did not have a smooth path to success (even now, it faces claims and lawsuits). Nevertheless, it is one of those digital brand products worth mentioning due to its top-notch digital brand strategies.
Airbnb is famous for revolutionizing people's search for accommodations and arranging to lodge. It connects millions of people across the World. Their digital branding is centered around the premise of providing a user-centric experience. They communicate with the audience through various distribution channels and localize the official website for each audience so that travelers from all regions feel there like home.
That's not all. They make the most out of mainstreams. For instance, they constantly run Instagram and Facebook campaigns to raise awareness about the brand, improve reputation, inspire trustworthiness, drive engagement and generate traffic to the platform. As a result, they steadily increase the number of followers and have millions of interactions each month.
4. IkeaThe famous Swedish-founded multinational conglomerate that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture has carved its own niche for a very good reason. Even though the company has met the growing demands of the market, being in the right place at the right time, nevertheless, their endeavors in digital branding and marketing are inspiring.
Their logotype and color scheme are widely recognizable. Not only do they have a website with a fantastic user experience, but they also constantly improve their presence on the mobile Web, which by the way, drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites last year.
For instance, they have recently developed an application based on the latest Augmented Reality technologies. It lets viewers place a life-scale image of the object inside the backdrop captured by the camera. So, it seems like this piece of furniture is standing right in your room. This solution has won the audience, thereby boosting engagement, amplifying interest, strengthening reputation, and generating leads.
5. Domino'sOr should I say, "Domin-oh-hoo-hoo?" This controversial TV commercial was a hit in 2021 in the UK. Although it caused mixed feelings, people were still talking about that. So, the marketing team has reached the point in the end.
As for the digital World, the company is famous for embracing modern technologies and speaking the same language with the target audience. Their website, as well as the mobile application, meets all the current standards. They even have gone further with "Anyware Domino's," letting customers order pizza through any device: Alexa, Google Home, Smart TV, smartwatch, car, and even Slack and Messenger. How cool is that?
That's not all. They skillfully stay true to their roots and capitalize on their hard-earned reputation. For instance, although the website and other distribution channels feature widely-recognizable yet still a bit old-school design traits, nevertheless, thanks to modern features skillfully incorporated into the platform, they perfectly blend into today's realm, reinforcing the digital brand.
Such an intelligent digital brand strategy reinforces the relationships with the customers, levels up a reputation, and builds the proper emotional connection that effectively nurtures leads and prolongs the company's life.
Can you imagine running a business without establishing yourself online? I bet you can't. The harsh truth is, people expect to find you on the Web. And you should not disappoint them, because they will not take you seriously.
To make matters worse, it is not enough to create a web page or account on one of the popular social media platforms. There are millions of websites out there: competition is cut-throat. You need a strong digital brand to stay afloat and get a surviving chance to win over your target audience.
A well-established, regularly nurtured, and properly-conducted digital brand can take any startup to the next level. Along with a well-thought-out digital brand strategy and marketing campaign, it establishes a strong online presence, fosters healthy relationships with the target audience, generates engagement, drives traffic, builds up a reputation, increases conversions, and most importantly, prolongs the company's life. On top of that, when well done, it gives a solid foundation to launch new goods and services, opening up golden opportunities to expand the market and rack in cash.
However, digital branding is not that easy to nail. You have to excel in branding, search engine optimization, social media, digital advertising, content building, and email marketing. Although some sectors benefit from DIY approaches, as practice shows, only professional digital brand agency knows how to maximize them to achieve the best outcome. Therefore, follow the primer of big names and successful companies and find a reliable partner to make the digital branding work for you.
Updated: Dec 26, 2022