Over the last few weeks, ICPAU has been sharing business pro-tips on its social media platforms in line with the upcoming accountancy services week, where businesses, you and I will be afforded free accountancy, tax, audit and business advisory. ICPAU shared a tweet on this emphasizing the importance of branding to a business, organization or company. The post went on to express that a brand is the sum total of the experiences your customers and potential customers have with your product/service.
I’m here to remind you why branding in the digital world is so important, what you must do to get your share of this generation 2.0 pie and more.
WHAT YOU MUST KNOW!
First things first: A brand is a thing (noun). Branding is an action (verb). This is more than just pernickety semantics, also Branding is not advertising as you will learn to appreciate later on.
By definition Branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
A brand is a unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind (see positioning). Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. Legal name for a brand is trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name. Corporate organisations call it Corporate Identity!
BRANDING IN THE DIGITAL AGE
So how have SMEs, Corporate organisations, NGOs etc. benefited from the revolutionary internet 2.0 generation?
Over time, the internet has changed the way we live, transact, communicate, etc. Brands have as well transformed with this Internet of things. It’s visible to see that brands have opened up doors to prospects to have a say in how they associate with their branding and this has set precedents for brands, branding and advertising.
The internet is a crowed place with many brands trying to capture the same audiences and this brings all the evils of competition since prospects and customers have access to unlimited options which can be accessed in just a click. With so much choice, you need your branding to clearly communicate to ensure that you are strides ahead of even your closest competitor and ensure that yours is the first brand that comes to mind when audiences think about your industry.
Audiences have extremely high expectations and at a time when same-day delivery and on-demand entertainment is available, consumers want to connect and converse with brands in a variety of ways and at all times of the day.
The rise of social media platforms means that brands have far less control over what people are saying about them online. User reviews and experiences now have a greater influence over consumer purchasing decisions and it is important that your branding is strong enough to help you to ride the wave of any negative feedback you might experience. Maintaining a strong presence on your social media will help you to steer the conversation and utilise the power of your loyal audience.
Social media platforms are excellent branding and conversational tools because they allow you to present a consistent message and engage directly with smaller subsections of your audience. You might, for example, know that your US audience prefers to interact with you on Instagram whereas your UK audience likes to keep up with your updates on Twitter. This information will help you to tailor your messaging appropriately so that you are always hyper-visible and sharing content that your audience genuinely wants to engage with. Social media allows for many advantages to your branding efforts, as it’s essentially an extension of your brand but it can also be a brand downfall. Keep your branding consistent and ensure it shines through in everything you do and you’ll no doubt flourish in an ever-evolving and ever-competitive industry.
Be the brand of today, open up to your customers and prospects on social media, product reviews on both websites and social media will help you align your branding/corporate image.
Thanks to Sally Newman (www.koozai.com), whose work influenced this blog.
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