Branding in the Digital Age: Best Practices for Building Your Online Presence

As the internet and web connectivity spread their tentacles throughout the country irrespective of geography and topography, one industry that is finding itself on the path to exhilaration is Digital Branding. Initially marketers thought it to be just a tweak different from the traditional advertising and branding methods. But over the last decade its growth has provided many options and methods and it has made a point clear that it is an entirely different filed altogether requiring a thorough study, deep understanding and proper identification of the target customer, content, message, frequency, medium and other related factors. Without digital presence a brand will not succeed and would be like a vehicle without a driver. In this fast-paced world online presence is the only tool that drives a brand and takes it to the minds of target customers with other medium playing only minor supporting roles. Let us have a look at some of the best practices for building the online presence of a brand.

Exist: The first step towards brand building in digital age is to exist on the online stage i.e., to have an online presence. A website done professionally with pleasing colours, easy navigation and crisp but complete information would add a lot of credence to the brand. The website needs to stay updated every minute or hour. Some of the social media platforms have a tremendous following and the brand should have a presence there too. These accounts drive the traffic to the website, and it is important to have all of them relevant, up-to-date and attractive. Content plays a very important role in attracting visitors and it needs to be appealing, innovative and engaging. In short, content attracts customers and drives the brand. It is of paramount importance that Social Media accounts and the website are given due importance as they are the mediums through which the customers get to know about the brand and probably hear about the brand for the first time.

SEO: It is the process optimising the search results which plays a major role in driving traffic to the pages related to the brand. It is important to note down all the permutations and combinations of the keywords related to the brand and probable search words that would be typed in search engines and optimise all of them so that the moment any of these words or combinations of words get keyed in, the results displayed should all be related to the brand. The search engine output could be leading to the website or blog post page or the brand review page or the social media page or the Wikipedia page or any other page related to the brand. If executed properly then SEO would add great value to the brand by directly guiding the probable customer straight to a page related to the brand.

Involve: Identifying the target customer and involving them in the brand activities through social media will give rich dividends to the brand in the long run. These activities can have short-term goals as well. Creating related hashtags on any social media platform is one beautiful way to create customer involvement. When a consumer buys a product of a particular brand then he will have an enhanced buying feel if there is involvement. This plays a crucial role in the brand association too as the buyer would feel gratified and would look for other products of the same brand. Getting a customer is just the beginning and the essence of branding lies in keeping the customer for life. Involve the customer with the brand or get the brand involved with him, in any way possible. Social Media plays a very important role in this exercise and to surge ahead brands need to have a strong and effective social media presence.

Active: Brands have to have an active online presence. Brand managers must be on the lookout for fads, trends and fashion and tailormade their brand messages to suit the occasion. With the populace of less than 40 years of age forming the major chunk of customer profiles for majority of the brands, their needs and preferences keep changing fast. A brand that keeps watching its core customers and has an eye for the occasion would be alert enough to not let go of any opportunity to heighten the communication and the subsequent customer involvement thereby creating a great atmosphere for brand recall, brand association and brand recognition. An active brand usually gets more eyeballs and always has the edge.

Each of the above-mentioned practices requires deep analysis and proper execution to hit the mark. They are to be executed in the order specified here to have the desired impact in the crowded and competitive online space. Branding in the digital age is a challenge because of the clutter but planning, innovation and commitment would take any brand home.

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