With consumer’s habits constantly changing in this technological age, the digital presence and brand identity of businesses has become more and more vital. Nowadays, a customer’s first point of contact with a company is through digital means, basically as a form of research into the validity of that business.
It has become an expectation and common practice for businesses to have and maintain that digital presence – even those businesses that operate primarily through a physical storefront. Although a large number of businesses know that they need to have an online presence, not many know the best practices for creating and maintaining it. If a business’ online brand identity is not up to standard, this could make a bad impression on the audience and lose a potential customer.
What is brand identity?
In order to understand why and how a business’ online brand identity is so important, we first need to understand what it is. A brand identity encompasses every impression a company conveys. This brand identity includes advertising, promotional literature, logos and any other means that carry the brand’s message to consumers.
Brand identity is synonymous with a company’s personality or characteristics, and needs to be carefully thought out to project a convincing image that your audience will want to support.
A company’s brand identity also needs to be clear, concise and unique, so that their audience will easily remember and recognize the brand.
When it comes to keeping a cohesive online brand identity, remember to use a similar tone and language in your content. Furthermore, try to maintain visual synchronization in all your customer communications. Keep colors, fonts, logos and layouts similar across all your online customer touch points.
Link your social media channels
A quick way to start streamlining your various social media channels is to add links and cross-promote on each platform. For example, post a tweet on Twitter with a link to your Instagram account encouraging your audience to follow you on there. You could also create social media tabs on your Facebook page that contain a link and updates pulled from your other social channels. Furthermore, your audience may choose to follow you on their preferred social platform. This simple strategy will help you and your audience to get connected on as many platforms as possible, thus further increasing the potential number of brand exposures.
Using the same profile picture on each social platform is also important, as it will allow your audience to find and recognize your online profile. This principle should also apply when choosing your social media handle. Try and find a social handle that is available on each of your social channels, as it is extremely beneficial when your audience can easily remember how to connect with you online.
Consistency is key
Keeping your brand consistent helps to build a strong brand identity that is recognizable in its unique qualities. One vital means of maintaining consistency is to stay active on each of your social networks. This will keep your brand fresh in your audience’s mind, as well as give them a reason to follow you. Staying active on each of your social channels includes posting updates regularly and constantly engaging with your audience.
Content on each of your social channels should be varied and tailored to the strengths of the platform. However, there can be some overlap with the content you post. When it comes to managing your social content stream, it may help to utilize automation software with programs like dlvr.it or Hootsuite. These programs are designed to help manage your time online like maximizing productivity and auto-pushing content from one social platform to another.
Your brand relationships
Just like every individual, brands also need functional and healthy relationships. A brand’s relationships can be both B2B and B2C, consisting of business connections, peers, colleagues, employees, social influencers, existing customers and potential customers, to name a few. Creating, maintaining and deepening your brand relationships is extremely beneficial. Your brand identity will be consolidated and perpetuated through these relationships, while your peers and satisfied customers will also spread the word about your brand to others.
So, who and what do you want your brand identity to be? Think carefully about your company values and goals, and how you can convey this online. Remember, every piece of your brand’s online content needs to have a purpose, to further reinforce your brand identity in your audience’s mind. Most importantly, in order to stand out from the competition, your brand identity needs to be relatable, recognizable and authentic. An authentic tone of voice is easily identified, and adds a crucial level of trust to your brand.
Don’t leave your brand vulnerable to interpretations and customizations. A brand with a well-structured communication strategy is priceless. Your company will gain a relatable identity that stands out from other brands. Your brand will gain authority and a unique positioning in the marketplace, thus allowing your brand to hold a higher pricing-niche for your company’s offering. Your brand’s consistent and clear messages will increase your credibility, in turn increasing customer engagement and loyalty.
Go ahead and have fun defining your brand’s identity, but most importantly, be consistent.