Martin Lindstrom was once cited to have said: 'strong branding has nothing to do with a beautiful logo, but everything to do with your brand message'.
Customers respond positively to branding efforts by businesses and this a wonderful opportunity that even digital entrepreneurs can use to create a lasting impact and message that will endear them to their customer base for a lifetime and profitable customer relationship.
During the plenary stages of the business a marketer has to figure out the brand identity that will form part of the brand strategy.
Brand strategy is just the conceptualization of brand processes that will influence all internal and external processes affecting the brand.
The center of brand strategy is the brand identity work and the team that is entrusted to execute it. Think of all the known names in internet marketing, for example, Chris Farrell, the achievement these brands have gained is not by chance, it takes deliberate effort.
Brand identity is the culmination of the visual elements and core messages that formed the branding process in the minds of the target audience.
For example, Hostgator branding is not just about the brand imagery (logo, colors) but the message expressed through brand attributes (product benefits and features) and brand benefits (personal meaning the customer attach to the product).
Hostgator message of 'eating up the competition' is expressed in the level of service which is unmatched within the webhosting industry.
Hostgator protects their brand by ensuring that the brand experience of their customers compared to those of other competitors is unmatched in all touch points in the market.
These touch points involve customer support, guarantees, price, product benefits and features, discounts and coupons, product add-ons.
The company keeps an eagle eye over their brand impact to their target market and make sure that they live up to their brand promise.
Furthermore, a digital strategist has to ensure that his brand value proposition build a strong emotional link between the brand and the customer.
Digital marketers need to understand the needs of their target market and what stimulates their emotional buttons.
Customers form a strong bond to businesses that they perceive to be closest in the ability to satisfy their unmet functional, emotional and self-expressive needs.
Marketers that consistently use their brand to meet the represented functional, emotional and self-expressive needs build an unassailable lead competitively; through a strong emotional bond.
This the key to creating a differentiation and recognition of the brand which not only endears the customer to the business but makes it almost impossible for rivals to copy.
Iam a huge fan of Fred Lam and his training, I like him because he knows what he is doing, he is generous and transparent with his knowledge, and he is up to date and delivers simple teaching.
His personality brand effect on me is a result of more than just a satisfaction of functional needs concerning his products but emotional.
Any digital marketer therefore has to communicate his brand message to his audience, internally and externally. He has to position the brand.
This is the process of communicating the brand messages that the management team desire to be understood by the audience to build a perception in their minds.
Digital branding does not have to be costly, with the proliferation of social media and availability of enabling content management software such as WordPress, the digital marketer can consistently position what his brand stands for by repeatedly and congruently positioning his message.
Most internet marketers leave this aspect of their business to chance and it is what has given rise to guru marketing and hype in the internet market place.
Moreover, the marketer has to know and gauge the effectiveness of all the brand contact points deployed in the market place to deliver brand benefits during the positioning exercise.
Internal contact points include managers, team leaders, call centre, shareholders and partners. Employees and shareholders are an important conduit by which brand associations are built.
Hence, the importance of training staff in brand identity and service delivery. Conversely, external contact points include, media (tv, outdoor, press, radio, ad agencies, event sponsorship), community, service providers etc..
The idea is to know the contact points that delivers brand messages, particularly, the most influential ones, and manage this to ensure that the brand promise and experience is according to plan.
Consistent service delivery and branding enables digital marketers to build a strong emotionally attached clientele that guarantees mutually beneficial relationship that endures for a lifetime.
This is what differentiates great brands from those just getting by.