The Importance of Digital Brand Building Today
Many businesses might still think that digitalising only means designing a website to sell their services or creating a social media account. It goes without saying these things are indeed essential: to keep a good level of competitiveness, most businesses nowadays cannot go without a ‘digital front’, as any Branding agency in Australia specialising in Digital marketing services will tell you. However, things are a bit more complex. These actions should be directed to the broader purpose of brand-building.
How have digital technologies transformed the way brands are built today? The short answer is: in every way that you can imagine. The path to building a brand itself has changed dramatically, from the avenues in which businesses can build brands to the marketing techniques that can be used for this purpose. In the marketing of yesteryear, brand building implied arduous endeavours involving long processes of market research and expensive advertisement placement in coveted sites or venues to drive demand, all of which made the entry barrier for brand building somewhat high economically speaking.
With digital technologies and the marketing techniques that they have fostered, it is easier to generate awareness and to reach a precise audience with less resources than twenty or thirty years ago. Likewise, the data necessary to inform product development can often be more easily obtained through review engines and data analytics. In previous posts, we have focused on some of these strategies and techniques, such as q-commerce, inbound marketing, paid advertisement, and search engine optimisation (SEO). However, while keeping these marketing techniques in mind, today we would like to talk a bit more broadly about the importance of digital brand building and the things that we think are important when doing so.
Digital brand building defined by a branding agency in Australia
In a nutshell brand-building can be described as the process of transforming a mere product, commodity or service into something more meaningful. Think for example of Apple, a pioneering company when it comes to their brand building strategies in the tech sector. While it is undoubtable that they created groundbreaking technological devices, it is also safe to say that their great success is in great measure thanks to how they managed to create a highly appealing and unique brand identity.
Technically speaking, the purpose of brand building is to generate awareness about these services or products by creating an identity or image built around consumer perceptions, expectations and desires. Usually, a product is replaceable or copyable. A brand, on the other hand, is unique. In short, while companies can make products or services on their own, a brand can only exist in close interaction with consumers. Contemporary branding practices generally aim to remove the perceived distance between business and brand. As a branding agency in Australia this is one of our main objectives here at Wombat.
For ‘analogue’ brands, the process of digitalising is also a perfect opportunity to rebrand completely. Rebranding can certainly imply an important investment, but we can assure you that its definitely worth the effort (both in terms of consumer experience and ROI). There are different scales of rebranding, from a brand ‘refresh’ (tweaking your logo, slogan, or making new ads), to a complete reboot or overhaul of your brand image, personality, or even target market. There are plenty of examples of successful rebrandings. In the high fashion sector Burberry is a good example: from its Victorian roots to being associated with low brow thuggery, and back to being a high-fashion brand in the late 2000’s. As a branding agency in Australia helping with your rebranding needs using the most up to date digital tools is one of our priorities here at Wombat.
Brand ambitions and consumer expectations are changing
Like we mentioned above, in previous times the entry barrier for brand building was somewhat high economically speaking, making it a pricey endeavour for all except the bigger and more established brands. Until recently, companies would build a strong portfolio of a handful of brands and producs, leveraging a large infrastructure to get ahead of the competition. Likewise, generating or promoting demand through marketing was expensive but somewhat predictable. To go back to the example of Apple, their branding budget is nothing short of stratospheric: already in 2015 they were spending $1.8 billion in ads alone! For these kinds of companies the aim has been to create large brands with an equally large and stable consumer base. Today this has changed drastically. In today’s environment, brand building is much faster and affordable, and you can hire a branding agency in Australia without having to invest such large amounts of money.
This is good news If you are starting a small or medium business! In today’s digital landscape, brands can grow and proliferate by aiming at carefully identified small consumer niches. Social media has been one of the main avenues where brand-building is done today, with over 25 million businesses using Instagram to sell their products to increasingly specific niches of consumers identified through techniques of data analytics. Some have argued that these changes reflect a broader shift in power dynamics, which can be described as the rise of consumer-focused enterprise in the digital age. The digital consumers of today expect niche brands which can cater to their specific interests, personality and lifestyle, and digital marketing services in Australia and beyond have taken this challenge seriously.
Digital and social media presence as a branding agency in Australia
As we said, brand-building around consumer niches is mainly taking place in social media. Nowadays it is commonplace for small or new brands to build their customer base almost entirely through targeted ads and curated content in social media. Likewise, in many cases it is also common for brands to follow social media success. This is the case with influencers who can first become popular as public personas and then launch a brand with an already formed niche customer base. One recent example is Huda Beauty, a successful beauty company who’s creator, the influencer Huda Kattan, boasts 48 million followers on instagram. (Curious side note: While we usually see influencer marketing as something that belongs to the 21st century, it is actually much older. While Coco Chanel is a clear example, one of the first ‘acknowledged’ cases dates back 1760 when Josiah Wedgewood’s tea brand was endorsed by Queen Charlotte. However, some argue that even Roman Gladiators were doing it!)
Influencers certainly possess a special capacity for brand-building by associating their personality and style to a brand. (A striking example is Dunkin’ Donuts, probably the only donut company in the world with 3 million followers in TikTok!) However, it is not the only important element to consider when shopping for digital marketing services in Australia to construct a strong social media presence. A cohesive visual identity across platforms is also key to create a brand image which people can recognise and identify with.
As a recent article in Forbes points out, it is also important for brands to understand the difference between social media presence and digital presence more generally. While the first refers to being active creating content for social media, the second refers to the need for also having a good website, infrastructure, and business model. As an agency that offers web development services in Australia, we can also assist you with achieving a good digital presence in these areas.
Another way in which the expectations that consumers have from brands has changed can be seen in the rise of what has been called conscious brands. As a branding agency in Australia, this is a topic that we have covered at more length before, but it is so important that it bears repeating. In today’s environment, a successful digital brand does not only need a cohesive visual identity and a strong social media presence, but also a holistic and well-rounded set of values that customers can identify with.
New generations of consumers demand from brands to take a clearer stand when it comes to the social and political problems of today. This is where the term ‘conscious brands’ or ‘conscious branding’ come into play. Conscious branding does not necessarily mean taking sides on heated political debates (although this can sometimes happen), but rather to abandon the noncommittal stance that has characterised brands, who have historically tended to be neutral on topics that go beyond business. Besides building a brand around a set of values, consumers demand from businesses to be transparent and act according to them. Values such as inclusivity, community and sustainability are very important for brand building today. The case of Patagonia is a great example of a a brand whose appeal and success is tied to their genuine concern with environmental issues, going as far as to motivate their cusomets not to buy new jackets, and recently even giving the company away to fight climate change.
As a branding agency in Australia, Wombat is committed to help small and medium businesses in building a strong brand image using the latest web development and digital marketing strategies out there. Get in touch with us and book a free 30 min consultation!