"Branding" is all about building awareness of your company. Many different elements go into the strategy of branding, including increasing brand exposure, improving your brand reputation, establishing brand authority, and solidifying your brand identity. More and more businesses are looking to achieve these goals online. Successfully building your brand online requires different strategies and tactics than those that were used for traditional branding efforts back in the day. As a result, it's a good idea to work with an inbound brand consultant.
Here at SMB Advisors, our inbound brand consultants work closely with your business to plan and execute an effective inbound branding strategy tailored to your unique brand.
The World of Marketing and Branding is Changing as We Know It
Before the advent of the Internet, marketing and branding were a simpler process. The strength of a brand was tied to how much exposure the brand got through traditional advertising methods, from TV and radio ads to billboards, magazine, and newspaper ads.
While traditional marketing can still help build your brand, its arguably more effective (and cost-efficient) to do so online, especially for smaller and mid-sized businesses. Audiences are much larger online, which means that there's the potential for much greater reach. However, online branding has its own set of challenges as well as advantages to consider. That’s why working with an inbound branding consultant can be so beneficial.
Less Open to Interruptions
Traditional marketing is more passive. People who are watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading a magazine aren't actively watching or listening to commercials or reading ads. They see or hear them, but they aren't fully engaged. They are more likely to be distracted by other things around them.
With inbound marketing, you're not forcing your branding efforts onto your audience, you're positioning yourself to be found. This means that your audience is coming to you. They're more locked into what you have to say because they made the decision to engage. Online audiences are less open to interruptions--and it's something you have to keep in mind when implementing your branding efforts. You've earned their attention, now you have to show why you deserve to keep it.
Split and Scattered Focus
Although there are fewer interruptions, there are also more options. The moment your audience loses interest, you've essentially lost them completely. They can simply move to another website or exit out of whatever page they're on. The attention span of an online user tends to be short. They are more likely to forget about your brand within a few minutes if you don't make an impact, especially once they've moved off your page. Not only do you have to figure out how to keep them on your page, you have to devise ways to get them back to your website (or social page).
A Quest for a Deeper & More Meaningful Human Connection
With traditional marketing methods, there's no real connection being made. The audience is essentially being forced to consume whatever marketing efforts are being placed in front of them. Because they can choose the brands that they interact with online, audiences expect more. Generally speaking, they're not just looking for a product or service, they're looking for a company that they can believe in, that they can feel good about purchasing from. Because of this, they are looking for a stronger connection with the brands that they interact with. They want to be able to relate to your brand and to connect with it on a personal level.
Branding Must Transcend the Visual or Design
There are businesses that still have the misconception that the branding of their company is just the way their logo looks. While your logo certainly plays a part in your branding (for example, there's no arguing that the famous swoosh isn't part of Nike's brand identity), it's not the only element of what makes up your brand.
The visual aspect and design of your brand help with establishing your identity, but there are many other aspects of branding to take into account as well, including your reputation and your message. It's not enough that your audience be able to recognize your brand--you want them to feel and think something when they recognize it as well.
Branding Must Move Beyond Simply ‘Staying on Message’
Having a clear message helps when it comes to establishing a brand identity. But your "message" and the way that your logo looks aren't that difficult to establish. It's your brand's authority, reputation, and personality that require long-term work. The way that your brand engages with and interacts with your audience are also important parts of building your brand identity.
We Apply the Inbound Methodology to All Branding
The inbound methodology is a process in which you identify who your audience is, position yourself to be found by them, and then nurture them through their buyer's journey. We apply this methodology to your branding efforts using the following steps: