Let’s face it, defining a brand in the digital age can be tricky. With an ever changing array of tools, platforms and opinions, it can be hard for brands to feel like they are getting solid footing in the market.
The good news?
All is not lost. As difficult as navigating brand management is today, there are many brands who are excelling at it (and gaining plenty of new customers). So the question is, how are they doing it?
Let’s take a look.
Defining the Brand
The first stage of creating a memorable brand is the time tested method; having a solid understanding of the brand’s vision, narrowing the target market with buyer personas, and building trust.
The main differences amongst brands appear when they start trying to figure out how to do those things effectively today. It’s not as simple as creating a few newspaper ads, a radio jingle and calling it a day. The brands that are truly knocking it out of the park in the digital era are getting creative in their approach.
At the end of the day, we know that marketing is all about people. Creating a lasting relationship and improving engagement are incredibly important. The thing to remember is that just because we are in a digital era, it doesn’t mean those basic concepts go away.
In fact, just the opposite.
It’s not hard to successfully argue that trust matters even more today than it did in the past. Just think of all the “noise” consumers have to sift through online. An endless stream of advertisements are blasted via email, social media, and on the web.
In a Harvard Business Review article called “Why Trust Matters More Than Ever for Brands,” the author notes the difference between the intangibles in brands between the 1950’s and the 2010’s. These intangibles are actually what builds the brand’s value. It’s the company reputation, market share, and customer goodwill, for example, that elevates one brand over another.
The influence of technology has played a huge role in the increase of this intangible value, because now the most important measures for consumers rests in the brand’s “…networks, connections and communities.”
Here’s where trust can take off and become something special. Marketers are now looking at ways to measure engagement, in order to figure out how the consumer feels about and reacts to marketing campaigns.
Both Facebook and Instagram are actively looking at how they can measure engagement with what’s called Brand Lift. In a nutshell Brand Lift is when there is an increase in interaction between a brand and the target audience directly related to an advertising campaign, and showcases an increase of brand recall, positive feelings, and perception of the brand.
Here’s a study from Instagram for Business on a campaign by car manufacturer Mercedes Benz. The goal was to use a complementary Facebook and Instagram campaign to target Millennial drivers and increase engagement.
The focus was on invoking a feeling of “inspiration” from Millennials in this campaign. Using hashtags and photos that were “whimsical,” Mercedes Benz was able to capture far more engagement than they had before using traditional advertising methods.
Bringing it Together
So it’s obvious building a brand that can deliver in the digital age relies on both trust and engagement. While trust has long been an important factor for any brand, the increase in the sheer number of choices a consumer is faced with today has brought trust up to the forefront.
The same is true of interaction and engagement. The brands that understand marketing doesn’t have to be an entirely passive experience are those that see sustained engagement and interactivity, resulting in higher clicks, better brand recall, and ultimately more loyal customers.
The brands, like we saw with Mercedes Benz, that are focusing in on digital social media platforms that specifically draw users into interaction and engagement are seeing the results.