Portrait von Dimitri Wittwer
Dimitri Wittwer
Strategist & Partner @Gridonic
Aug 2, 2017 4 min read

Branding in a Digital World

Branding is a broad term. So is “digital branding”. It encompasses a whole range of approaches businesses take to court consumers in the digital world. Digital branding is a company’s strategic, long-term orientation of how it aims at positioning the brand in the digital marketplace. It may range from owned, shared to paid channels and includes a set of measures such as content marketing, SEO, social media, influencer marketing, and online advertising.

Before diving deeper into the world of digital branding, let us look into the difference between branding and marketing.

What sets branding apart from marketing?

In a nutshell, the most pragmatic difference between marketing and branding is that marketing aims at attracting and activating customers to perform an action. Mostly such activation results in downloads, contacts, and purchases. Branding on the other hand aims at building loyalty by connecting consumers to brands. In other words, branding acts on a higher level and in a more long-term fashion than marketing does. This means it does not spread the word about a specific product or service, but about the core values of the brand or company as a whole. In sum, it lays down the indispendable foundation for marketing communication.

One main outcome of digital branding is that its impact should remain even after specific marketing activities have come to an end. Say a marketing activity brings the customer to a company’s website. This is where digital branding takes over and establishes — a hopefully positive — user experience by presenting relevant information and by making navigation across the site a smooth, intuitive journey. Digital branding encompasses everything from the first touchpoint to an interaction between users and brands, to customer service. This interplay of branded touchpoints within the digital space is what we call “User Experience”!

5 Ingredients to a modern digital branding strategy

In a digital world markets become hyper-transparent as data and information are easily available at very low cost. In such times the importance of brands and stories increases. The digital marketplace offers a vast range of opportunities for brands to present themselves. One can easily get lost in the digital junge. To prevent executives from backing the wrong horse, we pulled together the five most vital ingredients for a successful digital branding strategy.

Service-focus

As information becomes more accessible consumers have an easy job to compare what a brand says and what it does. So it becomes more difficult for brands to live up to the promises they make in widespread image-building ad campaigns. Today, the ability to tell meaningful stories through products and services — not words — is the only way to win. So companies need change and put more effort, both financial and personal effort, into service design rather than image-building campaigns.

Mobile First

In the modern digital branding world, 91% of users turn to their phones for ideas in the middle of a task. In the past year alone, websites have seen a 20% increase in mobile’s share of sessions. So more an more companies are taking the time to optimize their content for mobile. Today, 40% of consumers will leave landing pages that aren’t optimized for mobile within a few seconds. (Source: Google & Statista)

Spacious Design

Learning from mobile devices, most of today’s bigger screen web content now features longform content and scrollable interfaces. This allows for a smoother user experience enabling users to quickly scan large volumes of content in a single, fluid motion. With this more spacious UI the usage of more vivid colors and large, naughty fonts along with full-screen video content becomes more and more state-of-the-art.

Moments of Content

Google introduced the new way people interact with brands. It is I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy, and I-want-to-do. These so-called “Micro-Moments” are the new battleground for brands as it’s these moments when consumers seek for information about making decisions. Therefore brands needs to be ready to engage by providing relevant, useful content in the format requested by their users.

Social is Interaction

In 2016, more than 67% of the Swiss population used at least one social media channel. Today, via Facebook alone, brands reach more than 43% of the Swiss population. Given this immense reach, it becomes obvious why social has become such a vital platform for digital branding. Additionally, more and more of the most used and notorious social platforms allow customers to rate brands which, in turn, ads another layer of transparency revealing true service and product quality rather than a brands desired image which is promoted in one-way campaigns.

The digital world requires dramatic change in how we think of branding and, particularly of the role of a brand in the digital era. As traditional tools more and more lose power, the opportunity of digital branding lies in finally adding real value by improving customer experience through stories about services and products.