Rewind twenty years and, if you asked anyone what branding was, they’d point to the nearest shop’s over-door signage – usually featuring the business’s logo and slogan. Today, with modern technologies driving the evolution of marketing and advertising, branding has come to encompass multiple elements existing in both the real and digital worlds. So, what is the modern definition of branding, what exactly is online branding, and why is it so important for business success in the 2020s? This article investigates:
We can define a brand as how members of the general public perceive the company to which the brand belongs. Branding, then, is a collective name given to all of the elements that make up a company’s brand. Things like the logo, stylistic elements associated with the logo, the slogan, the colours associated with the company, the tone of voice used in company communication, the appearance and behaviour of staff and owners, etc. Every time a company interacts with a person other than those who work for the company, their brand is being developed. When people look to social media to share their thoughts on a company, their brand is being developed.
Online branding is precisely as defined above, but instead of customers and target audiences interacting with your company in the real world – online branding is built through brand/consumer interactions over the internet. Online branding elements include the business website, company social media accounts, direct marketing like email, content marketing, forums, etc. However, online branding and real-world branding are not to be developed in their own silos. Branding should be consistent across channels, creating a seamless brand experience for existing and potential customers.