There are three pillars of digital marketing: brand, strategy, and content. Each of these are connected. You cannot do one without doing the others. This blog is all about the basics of brand strategy and how brand strategy is incorporated into the other aspects of digital marketing. This blog will cover:
- Elements of branding
- OKRs and KPIs
- Branding and creating a website
- Branding and marketing collateral
- Branding tactics and actions
- Measuring results
Branding Strategy Basics
Creating a brand takes more than choosing your favorite colors and designing a logo. A brand needs to represent your audience, the product you offer, and identity/messaging. Your brand is how people perceive you so it’s important to first define how you want to be perceived and make sure that aligns with what your audience is looking for. If you are a lawyer, having a more educational brand tone and professional look will align with what your audience is looking for, whereas if you are cupcake bakery, having a more colorful and playful brand will align better with your audience and the product you’re offering. This all needs to be portrayed in your brand identity and messaging.
When designing your brand you need to look at all the aspects of branding, such as:
- Identity. What makes your brand recognizable. This is an umbrella term for what goes into branding.
- Image. How your audience sees your brand.
- Positioning. What makes you stand out from competitors.
- Personality. What characteristics people associate with your brand.
- Equity. The value of a brand based on the consumer’s perception.
- Communication. How a brand shares its values and mission with its audience.
- Values and impact. Are you a triple bottom line business? Have you considered how you are using your business to promote good globablly?
The most important thing to remember about branding is that your brand is how people perceive you and your work so make sure it represents who you are, what you do and also what your audience is looking for and who they are.
OKRs and KPIs
Your business has goals, objectives and key results (OKRs), and your brand needs to help you accomplish those goals. In order to see the progress you are making you need to identify your KPIs, key performance indicators. These are the foundations of strategy. They help you know what success will look like and what exactly you are trying to accomplish and from there you can build a strategy.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
OKRs define the process of your strategy. To identify your objectives, you need to look at company objectives, individual department objectives, and personal objectives. These objectives are broader than individual goals. Once you have identified your objectives, you need to look for your key results. These key results help you identify your KPI’s.
- Objective: Update weekly newsletter for better results.
- Key results: 10% increase in opens , 5% increase in clicks.
- Objective: Improve customer satisfaction.
- Key results: 10% decrease in negative ratings, 5% increase in positive feedback.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
You need to identify your indicators, such as clicks for an email marketing campaign or views on video. This is where lag measures come in. They track your campaign and measure the success based on your indicators.
- Increase in contacts signed per quarter
- Increase in number of ranking keywords per year
- Increase in social media followers per month
A website is the online home of a business. Everything about your website must represent your brand, including the typefaces, logo, and colors. A website must portray your brand identity and show your brand messaging. It’s a place to get creative, so have fun with it but don’t get too distracted with the fun stuff.
Remember: your website needs to be usable and be part of your lead capture strategy. Ths means your website must incorporate branding, user experience, and lead captures.
Websites are a great way to show your brand messaging. You can do this through your tagline, your service or product descriptions, and of course, your about page. Every inch of your website must represent your brand identity. That could mean your call to action (CTA)includes something about you being a B Corp if that is part of your brand.
User Experience (UX)
If your website is not user friendly, no one will stay on it. This is where the principle of least astonishment comes into play. If your website is too “astonishing”, meaning it’s not easy to navigate, people won’t enjoy it and will leave. You don’t want to negatively surprise your user. Just like you want the bathroom to be easily findable in your building, you want your contact or services page to be easily findable.
Lastly, you want your website to be accessible to everyone. This means look at things from the perspective of someone with low visibility. Do you have a high contrast between fonts and colors? Make sure things are readable and comply with screen readers and other tools for the diabled community.
Websites are an asset. To get the most from your website you need to include leads captures that are easy to find.
Some lead captures could be:
- Newsletter sign up form
- Free strategy session
- Free course or Ebook
A successful lead capture is one that is user friendly. This means you can’t hide the unsubscribe button on your newsletter or mke the signup form long and complicated. Most important, remember to follow up. Let’s pretend you signed up for a free strategy meeting from a website. If an hour went by and you got no email follow up, would you be concerned and confused? I know I would. What if you received a confirmation email and a reminder before the meeting? That might make you feel more positive about the company and lead to a sale.
Marketing collateral is how to build a brand outside of a website. There are countless forms of collateral, shown in the graphic below, which means there are countless places to portray your brand.
You can portray your brand in your e-signature by including your logo. For social media you can post branded images, meaning that have your brand colors or logo, and show your brand voice and tone in the caption. Including your logo and colors in business proposals shows your brand. Every form of marketing collateral must be consistent with your brand and it must be sharable. This will help increase your reach.
Branding Tactics and Actions
There are 5 main branding tactics:
Each of these tactics can help you build your brand. For social media, this may look like branding your images and for email you really want to portray your brand voice. Let’s look at what each tactic accomplishes and some ideas for where to begin.
The function of search is to increase your reach. It brings brand awareness of traffic. There are two types of search, organic and paid. Pid search mens paying for keywords so that when someone searches for your keywords you appear at the top of the page as an ad.
Organic means you don’t pay for keywords, and try to make your pages rank higher by finding the best keywords. When choosing keywords, it’s important to remember the buyer’s journey. When people first search for something, they may not know what they are looking for so it is more of an information and broad question based search. Next they search for something more specific and this is where they may come across your brand. Their last search will then be for your brand.
When choosing keywords for organic search, you want to reach people at the beginning of their buyer journey. This means you may write blogs about tiny homes if you are a real estate firm. That way people interested in tiny homes will find your blog and become a potential client.
Social media helps a business in many ways, such as:
- Increased brand awareness
- Wider reach
- Increased websites traffic
- Keeps you top if mind
Once again there are two types, organic and paid. It works similarly to search. Paid social media means buying ads on social media and organic means no ads. To increase your reach organically, you need to use hashtags and create a strategy to improve your content. This could look like doing live streams, reaching out to influencers or hosting a social media contest.
The function of email is to keep you top of mind and increase loyalty. There are lots of different ways to implement email into your strategy. You can have a monthly newsletter, thank you emails after someone buys from you or a re-engagement email.
Advertising increases awareness, reach and traffic. It is the quickest way to get results but also expensive. It is best to start with advertisements and slowly scale them down as your other SEO efforts start to pay off.
There are three different types of digital advertising: search, social and programmatic. Search includes ads you pay for on Google by buying keywords so that your page appears at the top of the results when someone searches for your keyword. These are pay per click ads, meaning you pay a certain amount for each click your ad gets.
Social ads are those that you by ona social platform such as Facebook. These can be videos or photos and are a fun way to get creative.
Lastly, there is programmatic advertising. This is based on device location. For example, a dog grooming company may want to deliver ads to people who go tpo dog parks. They would set up the programmatic ad so that people who go to the dog park see the dog groomer’s ad. Some see this as creepy so you have to make sure what ads you are investing in align with your values.
Content is the foundation for all of the other tactics. Depending on the channel for your content, it leads to different results. Content comes in many forms. Your web pages, blogs, social posts, emails, videos, infographics, advertisements, and more, all need content. All that content needs to be branded!
Measuring What Matters
The last thing to remember about branding and creating a grand strategy is that you have to make sure you track your results and measure what matters. The first step is to implement Google Analytics into your site so that you can track traffic. Lots of social media sites have their own built in analytics so make sure to look at that as well. There you can look and see if you are getting more social engagement. You want to look at your KPIs as well and see if your marketing is giving you the results you laid out in your KPIs. As for paid ads, you want to see if you are able to reduce your cost per click on your pay per click ads. For email marketing, more clicks and opens means you’re getting results. Most importantly, look at your conversions. This is the goal of all your efforts. Accomplishing your KPIs leads to more conversions.
There are three pillars of digital marketing: brand, strategy and content. Your brand needs to be incorporated into all aspects of your business. To create a strategy, you need to look at your OKRs and KPIs and track your results. Lastly, creating content keeps you top of mind, drives traffic, creates loyalty and raises your brand awareness. As you make your branding strategy, look at each tactic and make sure your branding is uniform across all of them.
Do you need help with your branding? Reach out to us for a complimentary digital marketing strategy so we can answer all of your branding questions. Click the button below to get started!