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So… you want to learn how to build an online brand, huh? Smart move, friend.
Building an online brand is a successful strategy for differentiating yourself from competitors, connecting with current and potential customers, and creating measurable company value over the long-run.
However, if you have not engaged in the process beforehand, you may likely find crafting the right online brand message to be somewhat overwhelming.
And that’s okay. Unless you are regularly engaging in brand development, it is going to be a challenge.
However, it is not without reproach.
The good news is that the Systeme.io team has done the heavy lifting for you.
In this post, we share with you:
By following the guidelines and information below, you are setting yourself up for incredible results.
Consider the following statistics regarding branding in the marketing world:
As you can see, the statistics do not lie. Establishing a strong online brand is the most effective way to position yourself correctly in the eyes of your target market.
Let’s kick off this post by helping you understand what an online brand is at the general level:
Understanding how to build a brand begins by first recognizing that it is something that goes beyond a logo and a slick tagline.
Your brand is how your stakeholders—like clients, vendors, employees, and the general market—perceive your company’s personal expression. In short, brands are simply perceptions.
Because brands are not something that stakeholders can touch, feel, and analyze, getting your brand messaging right is critical for several reasons.
We will get to those in a few minutes, but we really want to paint a clear picture in your mind of what an online brand is.
A brand and an online brand are similar in that they manage perception and expectation, but online branding refers explicitly to the context in which you are selling your products or services online.
They exist in the mind of the consumer as they interact with you through email, websites, social media, and other forms of marketing and advertising.
In the next section, we are going to take a look at the seven most common elements that encompass how you communicate your brand online.
Your company’s online brand encompasses the totality of all things that you stand for.
Using a brand compass, like the one above, will help you drive the different elements of online brand home in the minds of your prospects and stakeholders.
You can define the areas of your mission, vision, values, and objects to guide your purpose.
Your purpose is what connects people to your brand through carefully crafted messages that are consistent and uniform throughout your marketing, advertising, and PR efforts.
Let’s dive right in and internalize each and every element of what makes up a brand:
Adopting an effective online brand begins with your internal company culture. It is the essence of what makes you, well, you.
Developing your company culture is more than cultivating a competitive environment or having pinball machines available for breaks.
It is the reason why you exist and then nurturing those values and objectives from the top-down, across, or however you establish company leadership roles.
Plus, when your employees understand the internal culture, they can communicate to customers through brand ambassadorship more effectively.
A rock-solid culture is critical to the success of your marketing efforts.
The personality of your brand is a sort of a catch-all term that describes what makes your company stand out.
It encompasses everything from your values, mission, and vision while drawing upon buyer psychology.
You can use your brand to invoke emotions, behaviors, and thoughts, which your customers connect with at a visceral level.
Your personality is also what draws people in and makes them want to say, “I’m with them!”
It is for this reason that people don’t mind walking around like unpaid billboard advertisements wearing logos and selecting certain products because they want to align with the brand personality you cultivated.
Brand identities extend far beyond the symbols, colors, and logos you use. It is the visual perception that reveals who you are and what your company stands for.
Establishing the right brand identity accomplishes the goal of characterizing your brand personality, purpose, and guarantees to your customers and other stakeholders.
Think of it like it’s your mark on the world.
Leveraging a unique brand identity allows your customers to quickly recognize and identify with your product and service offerings at a high level.
In short, it is the way you establish the essence of your brand to your target audience.
Your brand’s messaging is how it communicates itself by creating and offering a “voice.”
Brand messaging is what your stakeholders expect when interacting with your company from every aspect.
It is the words you use in your ad copy, marketing materials, and your public relations campaigns. Your voice is what makes you identifiable to your customers.
For example, if a company with a conservative tone starts using different messaging to attract a diverse audience, doing so will only stand to confuse your existing clientele as well as prospects in the market.
When your messaging doesn’t “act” like it usually does, customers tend to act like they are seeing a stranger.
Websites are as old as the dawn of time, aren’t they?
Their ability to control your online brand and generate revenue has developed how companies use them over the long-run.
Treat your website like it’s the Holy Grail of your brand’s perception. It is the “hub” of what your brand stands for.
Experienced marketers understand that your homepage is the most important are of your website, since that is where customers often land first.
You have about 15 seconds to position yourself in a way that makes sense to your target audience.
Many companies establish a company name before even developing a marketing plan.
At Systeme.io, we understand that the excitement to name your new baby is fun, but it is putting the cart before the horse a big, so to speak.
Your brand’s name should resonate with your target audience. It should assign a meaning to what you do.
For example, consider the name Under Armor.
Not only does it describe what they offer, but it also evokes a certain feeling. It is a feeling of durability, performance, and toughness.
Call us cynical, but we think that they planned that very carefully
A company’s trade dress refers to the visual symbols you use to define your brand. It encompasses logos, design elements, and brand colors.
It also establishes the legal grounds and rights to intellectual property.
You can register your brand’s identifying trade dress elements with the U.S. Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) for added protection.
While maybe we don’t think about how important color is, consider the change we made to Apple’s logo:
Do you see how much different the brand of Apple would look if yellow were its trade colors? It completely changes the look and expectation of the brand.
The black color evokes sophistication while the yellow makes them seem for playful. As you can see, the trade dress is critical to developing a successful online brand.
In the next section of our article, we are going to get into more specific reasons as to why your online brand is super important to get right.
The most significant reason that an online brand is valuable is that it increases your marketing effectiveness.
And assuming that you have something that people want to buy, it is single-handedly the most important aspect of your marketing plan.
Let’s examine the three biggest reasons that assign importance to the process of building a reliable online brand.
When your target audience can recognize what you care about, and it aligns with who they are, you can attract the right person in the right place at the right time more effectively.
In the next section of this post, we will take a deeper dive into ways that you can align with your target market better though online branding to attract the people you want.
A rock-solid brand message communicates to your customers that turn them into brand ambassadors and stark-raving fans.
It is genuinely an ideal marketing situation in which you can find yourself.
As a result of more effective marketing, your brand also stands to increase your revenue by commanding higher prices, growing sales, and reducing marketing costs.
Do you ever wonder why people pay nearly 30 times more for a Gucci t-shirt versus the same thing you get at your local Target store? It is branding.
Branding is the secret sauce that helps you rise above the noise that your competitors are creating online.
It is what draws people to you and makes them want to spend more money on your products and services. In short, they want to align themselves with you!
Whether you plan on going public, need capital funding, or simply want to cash out, the valuation of your business matters.
Not only does branding increase your liquidity by generating more revenue, but it also creates value within the intellectual property itself.
Building a valuable brand isn’t like trying to sell a home at the last minute by fixing the roof and slapping on a coat of paint.
Brands increase a company’s value over the long run and create incredible returns if you take another direction or seek new investors.
Over the next section of this post, we are going to share with you some exciting strategies that you can start deploying today.
Now that you understand what an online brand, it is time to get to the most exciting part: building it and putting it into action.
It can be a highly addictive process, so make sure you are considering your strategies enough, but not that you are overthinking it.
You can also gain a third-party perspective to help you if you struggle with remaining unbiased.
And it is okay if you do. It is your source of pride, so you are naturally going to be protective of your thoughts and ideas.
But just because you may have gotten a few things wrong, does not mean you are a marketing failure.
It means that you are one giant step closer to figuring out what resonates with your audience.
Here are 11 strategies that you can start planning and enacting immediately to get the ball rolling on building a successful online brand:
You have likely heard that it is vital to develop a mission and vision statement for your company.
Well, you hear it for a good reason.
Mission and vision statements serve as a guiding light for supporting your internal culture, as well as communicate to your target audience what you stand for.
When they know what they are getting into, it helps align expectations with the perception of your customers.
Take the time to answer who you are and why you do what you do.
Spying on competitors is critical to your brand’s success for a few reasons.
First, you will gain deeper insight into how your competitors position themselves in the market. You can draw upon their experiences to elevate yours.
Second, doing your research ensures that you aren’t committing copyright or intellectual property infringement.
You can accomplish competitor research by compiling a spreadsheet that addresses the above-referenced seven elements and take notes on how other companies position themselves in this manner.
After that, find a way to differentiate yourself from them to stand out and rise above the pack.
Before you can align your brand with your target audience, you need to get to know who they are first.
Conducting audience research that helps you understand demographic and psychographic needs is vital to crafting a more compelling personality and message.
You can use tools like Nielsen, Google, Facebook Ads, and comScore to elevate your research efforts.
Consistency is king when it comes to establishing an online brand.
Aside from uniformity, make sure that you are creating a consistent message for all of your marketing channels.
Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.
Say it like a mantra because that is precisely what business owners should strive for when planning their marketing efforts.
A lot of managers and business owners will spend all of this time and money on building an incredible brand, introduce it to the world, and then hear nothing but crickets chirping back at them.
Well, branding is just one aspect of marketing. It is the foundation of your efforts, but there are other actions you must take to get your message out there.
Building an online reputation takes time and careful cultivation to get people to take notice. Make sure you have a healthy mix of
Once you have a strategy set out for how you want to communicate your brand, you can then name your company, design your logo, create a tagline, and craft your message.
It is one of the most fun aspects of marketing and one that should not be created with indifference.
If you aren’t excited about the brand you are cultivating, why would anyone else feel the same way?
These elements of trade dress are what you use to establish visual cues to resonate with your target audience.
Do not fear the process of conducting a focus group. Focus groups are a great way to receive unbiased feedback about your brand.
You can hold them in-house or hire a third-party researcher to do it for you.
Now, we will caution you about handling a focus group internally.
When participants realize they are providing feedback to a company’s representatives, they might be more polite and gracious versus working with an external party.
Since branding is vital to your company’s ability to market itself effectively, it is worth the extra cost.
Be sure that you perform your due diligence and shop around and conduct research before selecting a provider.
Doing so will only elevate your results and improve your brand’s message alignment with target audiences.
Creating your brand voice is the most effective way to set the mood with your target audience.
Are you trying to position yourself as friendly? Or are you trying to establish a culture of exclusivity?
Your brand voice is what sets you apart from your competitors while educating customers on who you are.
There are virtually unlimited opportunities when it comes to how a company describes itself.
Based on your research, you can establish a brand voice to differentiate further who you are.
In one sentence, can you describe what your company does in a way that so perfectly describes it from the top down?
If it sounds like a hard pitch to craft, you aren’t wrong. There are several good reasons that companies avoid this aspect of branding.
An elevator pitch is the succinct culmination of everything that your brand represents. It is a phrase that should tell your customers who you are, what you sell, and why they should care.
A branded elevator pitch is one of the most human ways in which stakeholders interact with your brand because of it just being you, exposed, and your promise to deliver. Don’t fear this process.
Approach it with inspiration and enthusiasm.
It is okay to be excited about your brand! When you are passionate, it excites other people.
Have you ever visited with friends or family and started describing why you love a particular product or service so much?
You are likely describing the functionality, customer service, and how it makes you feel when you purchase them. You can thank good, authentic branding for creating that feeling.
There is excitement on your end because, not only does that product work as expected, you feel confident that others like it, too.
It is what makes a brand ambassador champion your company through word-of-mouth marketing.
Online technology systems can either be your best friend or your absolute worst nemesis.
But how does it apply to online branding? Great question.
The marketing automation and AI tools you use should have the capacity to support your brand.
Customization, ease of use, and a comprehensive suite of tools under one roof will ensure that your employees, customers, and other stakeholders experience your brand as you intended it to be.
There isn’t anything more detractive from your mission when you are stuck with a system that simply does not work.
Invest in the time to research your options by opting in for a free trial before making a significant time and money commitment.
As you can see, learning how to build an online brand is a great way to help your company break away from the online noise, while allowing you to create an authentic message.
No matter what products you are selling or services you are offering, business is all about people.
And we don’t mean that like it is a sappy, cliché assertion. We say it because it makes a difference.
When your audience members feel like they know, trust, and like you, it is a process that takes you from the ground floor to top-of-mind in their perception of your brand.
It is worth the time to invest in this critical marketing process.