Why You Need To Strengthen Your Online Brand
The smartest creatives, startups and established companies approach their online presence in terms of brand, leads and engagement. It might be easy to forget that with every piece of communication, every social media post and image we share – we are building a brand.
The power of a strong brand
Some of the fastest growing influencers such as author Mark Manson (from markmanson.net) and artist Christian Watson (from @1924us) credit the massive online communities they have established to their deliberate use of branding.
After Mark Manson changed his website name and developed his brand, traffic to his domain increased threefold. He shares how his awareness of himself as the brand transformed his online presence, ensuring that he reaches the right audience. Manson is meticulous about the tone of every blog post, paragraph header and book he produces, ensuring that they all match his brand identity.
Christian Watson on the other hand, a multi-passionate creative, successfully unites his love of photography, lifestyle, antiques, illustration, travel and design into a single brand called 1924us. The use of selective and consistent visual language is evident instantly in his Instagram feed, which simultaneously acts as the portfolio of the business.
Why branding matters
At its core, branding is one of the most valuable and effective ways to differentiate from the competition. In every moment, customers subconsciously and quickly deduce that they are going to engage with a business or a product because of how it looks, feels and speaks to them.
A product must still solve a real problem, however a well developed brand identity is an integral part of the online presence of a business, especially in overly saturated markets like tech and design.
The two important questions to address are: “What do you want to represent as a brand?” and “What do your customers want to engage with?” Here, it is beneficial to design a brand persona and establish user profiles, bringing focus to why it is that the brand exists. Whilst brand creation requires us to focus on the business, we mustn’t forget what the user needs, wants and values.
“A brand identity is the “face” that interacts with the entire world. Whatever we create should accurately reflect what the brand wants to do and say to particular people.” – Column Five
Branding is never finished
The birth of a brand may only happen once or twice in the lifecycle of a business, but brand creation is an ongoing process. It is essential that businesses ensure that the brand identity they created is sustained, carefully inspected and refined. This is done so it reflects a number of fluctuating factors such as trends, place in the industry and the ever changing needs of users.
Take into consideration the branding journey you went through at the very beginning. This is why it is helpful to create a visual representation of how you got to where you are with your brand identity. The journey starts from idea to a fully formed brand with principles, purpose, personality and strategy.
“Every piece of content which is shared by a person or a business becomes a reflection of their branding, or lack thereof.” – Roller
Visual and written language are powerful, especially in the era of social media and blogging. Everything that is associated with your name or your company has to reflect, complement or grow your brand. That, however, is not an easy task. As time consuming as design thinking might be, it is a necessary part of the process which could be the difference between a generic and an outstanding brand.