Branding, also known as brand marketing, involves creating and maintaining an overall image that will immediately come to the mind of customers, clients, or visitors. Brand marketing can be easily carried over to the Web, and is used to encourage a specific reaction or feeling from a site’s, or company’s, target market.
There are many components of online branding, including:
1. Business names
2. Domain names
5. Packaging, labels, or other marketing materials (such as eBook covers)
6. Banner ads or other site images
7. General color schemes
Brand marketing isn’t an instant process, even with online branding. It can take time to build brand recognition with a target market. However, there are certain things you can do to increase the effectiveness of online branding efforts:
1. Make sure online branding materials actually appeal to the target market you’re trying to reach.
2. Every branding tool should help to convey the overall image or message you’re trying to send to your target market, and they should create a memorable brand image collectively.
3. The company’s marketing message should be consistent through all brand marketing efforts and marketing materials.
Companies should make their branding experience from offline marketing to online consistent. So before launching your brand online you should first figure out your brand identity and what characteristics you want to be known for, or what positive ones you are already known for that you would like to carry with you to the web.
It’s also important to make sure your products are of high enough quality for people to want to spread the word about them online.
It’s not enough to build a reputable brand image on the Web. An image can be tarnished easily (think of a system being hacked and customer information being leaked as an example), so a brand image needs to be actively maintained. There are several complementary Internet marketing tactics that can help to reinforce a brand image:
1. Online Advertising (You can keep brand imagery such as a logo, slogan, or other marketing message elements in front of your target market with online ads.)
2. Email Marketing (Every email sent on behalf of a company should in some way reinforce the company’s marketing message, even if it’s just increasing brand awareness by adding a logo and slogan to the email signature.)
3. Online PR (Press releases and blogging about company news allow companies to keep their marketing message recurring, as well as building trust in a brand through transparency.)
Forward thinking and thorough planning is the key to any marketing effort online, it’s important to mark out your path and not cut corners along the way. It is essential to work out a strategy for your online branding that doesn’t just outline your goals but also describes how you plan on getting there and how you will measure your success.
Online branding is time consuming and has to be thoroughly planned out from the very beginning, but the benefits greatly outweigh the effort involved.
Sinead is the operations manager of the Dublin based Online Marketing Company Redfly. Apart from Web Design, SEO, Analytics and Training, Redfly offers industry analysis and popular in depth marketing advice on the Redfly Online Marketing Blog. Head on over for more juicy internet marketing tips and tricks.