The first challenge of online marketing is to build something that your audience will be inspired by. Whatever your industry, your success will be underpinned by your branding strategy. After all, it is your unique brand that sets you apart from your competitors, makes you recognizable to your customers, and forms the basis of all aspects of your marketing campaigns.
Your brand is not just a name and a logo. It is the identity of your business, incorporating everything from your aspirations to your ethics. This identity will influence buyer perceptions of your organization. Meanwhile, the personality that you define for your brand will determine the style and tone of all marketing content and communications created in your brand’s name.
Creating a new online brand can seem daunting to begin with. However, if you have a promising idea, and the commitment to make it great, then you are already halfway there. The following steps will guide you through the process of fine-tuning your brand identity, building your online presence, and giving your business the boost it needs to succeed.
Defining Your Brand
Naturally, the first order of business is to figure out exactly what your brand represents. If you have a business idea in mind, then you already have the makings of your brand. Alternatively, you may still be looking for the perfect niche within which to set up an online store or provide a bespoke service.
Your brand’s identity is founded on your business aims, ethics, and aspirations. However, at its heart, your business is also a reflection of your own interests, enthusiasm, and dedication to your chosen industry. This commitment should also be conveyed in your brand’s personality, as it provides your audience with an insight into the person or people behind the brand.
The reason this is so important is that, today, customers are far more interested in dealing with people than with faceless organizations. They are just as keen to know why you launched your startup as they are to hear how great your products are. Building trust and familiarity is a powerful way to secure leads and convince your audience to put their faith in your brand.
As such, it is important that your audience not only recognize you as the mind behind the brand, but also that they recognize you as being one and the same in terms of your morality, business aims, and dedication to your customers.
Build Your Image
Constructing your brand’s image should not be as challenging as it might initially sound. After all, you have already figured out your brand’s identity, so the next step is simply to convey this in a manner that will appeal to your chosen audience.
Here are the most important steps to keep in mind when constructing an image for your brand:
- Be authentic
- Be consistent
Tell your story, so potential buyers can build a picture of who you are and what your business can offer them in comparison with your competitors. Furthermore, this is your chance to demonstrate what makes your brand unique, to tell your audience where the business is going, and invite them along for the ride.
Honesty and transparency come with the added bonus of making it far easier to be consistent in your brand marketing. In order for your customers to easily recognize and understand your brand, consistency and cohesion are vital.
This encompasses everything; from the colour palettes used in your marketing communications, to the style and tone of your content. Over time you will become more and more at home with your brand’s voice. However, the more genuine this is to begin with, the easier it will be both to maintain and to impart through marketing communications.
With your brand’s concept established, it’s time to let people know it exists. Reach out to friends and family, generate valuable, relevant content for your onsite blog, and begin to develop your social media presence.
Until you begin directly interacting with your audience, you cannot truly understand how they will engage with your brand, and how your design may need to evolve to fit the needs of your customers.
Be aware of feedback, queries and complaints, and be sure to establish clear times during which you or your team are available to answer customers directly. This will be your main point of contact with the individuals your brand is made to inspire, so it is vital that you present a positive, consistent face across all platforms.
A well-designed brand is not only intuitive but one that all members of your team can understand and promote effectively. Remember, to your customers you are a unified entity, so everything from your email copy to your complaints handling procedure reflects on the consumer perception of your brand.
Test, Adapt and Grow
However successful your brand may be in its early weeks, to maintain its popularity and enable it to continue to grow and evolve, you will need to monitor its performance data, and be prepared to make changes. Tools such as Google Analytics can provide a range of invaluable insights into aspects such as your web traffic, content engagement, and social media interactions.
Similarly, if your online store uses an e-commerce CMS, you should be able to gather useful analytics data from the platform itself. These details not only give you a clearer picture of who is engaging with your marketing, and showing an interest in your brand, but also highlight when something is underperforming.
This information will help you to further improve your branding by optimizing failing content, retargeting your marketing efforts, and generating more accurate buyer personas.
In the long-term, the style and personality of your brand will evolve in line with the growth of your business. After all, however successful your brand may be, it hinges on the interest and approval of your audience. It is your awareness of changing trends and your continued attention to the needs of your business that will enable you to adapt proactively to keep your brand relevant.
Nevertheless, your success in designing an impactful brand gives you a firm foundation on which to build. As such, if you continue to follow the above guidelines, and keep the aims and identity of your brand at the heart of your decisions, your business will go from strength to strength, fuelled by your dedication, and the support of your growing audience.
Victoria Greene, Brand Marketer & Writer
I have helped multiple ecommerce brands deal with the demands of the global marketplace. I know what it takes to succeed as a global enterprise — and memorable online branding plays a big part in that.