What Does Branding Mean In Digital Marketing?

Brand Management or Branding is a very strategic process and a crucial function of Marketing for any company. This process ensures positioning their Brand name such that it is either in the Consideration Set or the Choice Set of the probable buyers of their products with a distinct bias in the Brand’s favor.

For eg., if you are a buyer of a professional Laptop. Then, Apple’s or Dell’s Branding efforts would be to place Apple MacBook or Dell XPS in your consideration set/Choice set respectively.

Since branding attempts to create a bias in favor of the brand in the customer’s mind, it helps the brand to compete with other brands and most likely comes out to be a winner in the customer’s decision process.

Branding also attempts to reduce the sizes of the consideration set or the choice set of the buyers. This would mean less competition for the Brands. It also eases the evaluation process of the buyers and sometimes bypasses it completely. For example in the case of routine-buying product purchases or less involving commodity items like soaps, toothpaste, etc…

Further, evaluation being a cognitive exercise leads to cognitive dissonance and stress for the purchasers. The buyers also face themselves in a risky position in case they do not possess prior experience and knowledge to have a comprehensive comparative analysis of all the available options. In such situations branding proves to be a great support and offers substantial value to the buyers in making a purchase decision.

Digital Branding/Online Branding

In the above context, Digital Branding utilizes all the possible Digital Assets to maintain the Brand on top of consumers’ minds. This may require regular exposure of their brand to the user community, through Advertisements on all the possible digital channels, in such a way that their brand has a high recall value and the users are able to associate themselves with the brand on both Cognitive and Emotional grounds.

Internet/Digital Marketing, on the other hand, manages the overall Digital Assets and online activities that may help any organization boost sales & generate leads in the short run or foster a deeper relationship with the user community in a sustainable manner.

Online Branding can be considered as the sub-strategy of Digital Marketing that is focused to create a superior Brand Image in customers’ minds using Digital Assets including global digital infrastructure, networking, and software tools & apps. It envisages creating associations of Trust and Relevance about the brand in customers’ minds, through Digital media, resulting in a high brand recall and brand loyalty.

Brand Identity and Brand Image

Branding/ Digital Branding starts from the perception of Digital Brand Identity that the company intends to create in customers’ minds. It also covers all the measures that the company takes to successfully establish the Brand Image (in customers’ perceptions) in line with the Brand Identity. These measures may include managing effectively all the possible interactions and moments of truth wherein the customers engage with the company and develop a perception of the company based on their experiences.

You may learn more about Internet marketing, Brand identity and Brand image in the following article Internet Marketing, How Marketing Is Getting Digital?

Customer Encounters or Moments-of-Truth

The above-stated moments of truth may occur anytime and may have a deeper impact on the users, for example:

  • A user finds a company’s ad in a magazine. He/she gets influenced by the message embedded in the company’s logo design, color, or shape; Similarly,
  • Another person may visit the company’s website. He may be attracted by Site Title, Tagline Site Icon, or the website user interface, its easy page navigation, helpful Chatbot, product information brochures, etc…
  • A prospective buyer of a product, say Smart Electricity Monitor, visits an e-commerce website like Amazon, Flipkart, or Intelliware. He checks the product details along with customer reviews and ratings and finds them useful in making an informed purchase decision.
  • A new customer of the Brand may find an Unboxing video of the product on YouTube very helpful in setting up and configuring a newly purchased Home appliance like a Bosch Dishwasher or refers to FAQs on the website to resolve any of his/her technical queries.
  • An existing user makes a telephonic call with a customer support executive and finds the support person extremely helpful and efficient in resolving the issue immediately…

All the above examples of possible user interactions and day-to-day experiences with a brand create Brand Perception. And hence Branding becomes very important to be managed efficiently on a consistent basis across the channels, offline or online.

The Digital user community is growing very rapidly globally. Each user is a part of multiple channels and forums. Any message or emotion on one channel spreads across the channels with a very high velocity. Such prevailing user sentiments on a platform may have a great impact on the brand perception of the members. And depending upon the nature of sentiment it may go in favor/against a brand impacting its sales as a result…

Considering the criticality of the Digital Presence of a Brand and its Brand image. It is very vital for the company to have a strong Digital Branding strategy. As a part of Digital Branding, the company may consider the following cyclic processes and the underlying online activities:

Customer Insights

  • Monitoring e-commerce platforms for customer reviews, ratings, comments, and feedback vis-a-vis competitors’ performance
  • Analytics solutions like Google Analytics to gather insights into user engagements with the company website

Product/Services Design

  • Active membership in technical communities and user forums to have regular feedback on product performance, gaps, issues, and user expectations

Marketing Communications

  • Create subject-specific Blogs to share the latest information and educate the users
  • Participate in user forums to address relevant user queries and issues, and set the right expectations
  • Run a series of ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc..showcasing their CSR activities and contributions toward social causes
  • Showcase customer testimonials on their company website to build users’ confidence

Product/Service Delivery

  • Run a YouTube channel dedicated to the usage and problem-solving of their products on a DIY basis. This may act as a quick reference for their customers etc.
  • Maintaining an integrated customer support process backed by customer ratings and feedback

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