The Importance of Branding in Digital Marketing: How to Build a Strong Brand Online

Matt McComb Learn

The Importance of Branding in Digital Marketing: How to Build a Strong Brand Online

Your brand is more than a logo and a product.

To create a successful online brand, all you need is a good product or service, a logo and a website, right? Not quite. The Internet is a crowded, noisy place where everyone, including your competition, is shouting for attention. 
If you really want customers, stop focusing on what you do (product). 

A brand is a sum of three items: your product, your difference (the experience you create), and your beliefs. The latter two are the “people” parts of the brand, and where you can really connect with the ideal customer.  

In a digital world, you need to create as many human elements as possible, because we’re all wired to connect with other people... and the Internet is never going to change that.  

Let’s look at why building your online marketing around a brand’s “experiences” is so important for online success. 

Products aren’t decision points. 

In the age of online sales, consumers have no shortage of options to buy anything they want at any time.  

For example, if you want to buy a new mattress, you can just do an online search and immediately have a list of thousands of results to buy online and locally. By searching, you also eliminated any business that doesn’t offer beds.  

Search engines make it very easy to narrow down your choices to a specific product/service while disqualifying unrelated businesses. So just existing in a specific market isn’t offering any compelling reason for a potential customer to choose your product/service over another.  

Using our previous example, what would you use to determine which “mattress” to buy? You would most likely look for an “experience” that sounds like something you either want to have or something that solves a negative experience you are already having.  

Sell a unique experience. 

A customer’s first real buying decision point is based on how close their expected experience is to what experience a business is offering.  

Let’s look at an example with a mattress. You spend about one third of your life sleeping, so you likely have had some “experience” with a mattress. This means you’ll also have various opinions when it comes time to get a new one, especially if the old one isn’t producing a desired experience. 

Maybe your back hurts and you just want the cheapest mattress that won’t make your back hurt anymore. (Mattress Firm offers good value.) Maybe you have a partner who likes a firm mattress but you like a soft one, and your current mattress can’t do that. (Sleep Number offers control and customization.) Maybe you live in an apartment and can’t just buy a mattress and drive it home in your compact car. (Purple offers convenience.)  

Are you starting to see how these companies are aligning their brand and market position with a specific experience that a customer might be looking for?  

People look for shared experiences. 

To get the experience that you want, your brain will subconsciously be looking to vet your intended experience with what it’s currently experiencing before it can give you a “yes” or “no.”  

Aside from past personal experience, the next best thing your brain can get is other people’s experiences.  

For online marketing and sales, this takes the form of reviews, recommendations and consistency (covered in the next section). If you can clearly communicate your brand’s unique experiences to customers and provide actual examples from real humans in the form of reviews and testimonials, you’ll not only build a solid brand and market position, but you’ll also drastically reduce the customer’s effort in their decision-making process. 

When you shop online, do you shop by “recommended,” “highest rated,” or “most reviews?” That’s your brain looking for an experience that is consistent with what you are wanting your outcome to be.  

Brand consistency is king. 

Speaking of consistency, your brain is a red-flag detector, trying to keep you safe by getting the experience you want and expect. Consistency between promise and experience is the single largest factor in the success or failure of a brand, especially online.  

With digital brands, you rarely get to directly connect with the humans behind them. At best, you get a vague experience through a compilation of colors, images, videos and words on the digital collateral. Every misalignment between a brand’s promise and expectation causes doubt for a potential customer. And that can look like many things.  

A busy logo for a brand that has a business making simple solutions is a misalignment. Using dark colors for the children’s brand might be a misalignment. Not being able to consistently provide the quality of customer service you claim is a brand misalignment. Messaging with generic values like “we have integrity” is a misalignment because they are usually too broad. (Also, who would want to claim the opposite position of “we’re lying dirtbags?”) 

You’ll always forgive a mom-and-pop roadside diner for having a terrible logo and suspect cleanliness if they have good food because the experience is better than the promise. It does not work the other way around.  

A few one-star reviews or pixelated product images when everything else is in order might be enough for you to look elsewhere. If you start feeling unsure, you won’t be convinced your experience will at least meet your expectations.  

Without real human touchpoints in online marketing, consistency across your visuals, messaging, and quality is key. 

Build an unforgettable brand. 

Creating a successful brand is an art. It's storytelling at its finest. 

As a top digital branding agency, TKG will dive deep into what makes your business unique and develop a strategic foundation to guide our brand strategy process.  

Want to partner with us? Reach out today.