Launching a business is exciting! That idea has been bubbling away inside your head (possibly for years) and it’s finally time to share it with the world. But it’s important to not to rush the process of getting your brand out into the wild – it’s worth investing some time and resources to really nail that first online impression.
Having a great digital brand is not just about announcing your arrival into the world: it adds value to your product or service, inspires loyalty and promotes long-lasting brand recognition. If executed well, it’s a one way ticket to creating meaningful connections with customers, turning them into lifelong brand advocates.
How to take the plunge online
Whether you have a digital-first offering, or whether you’re a bricks and mortar business taking the online plunge for the first time, the process remains pretty similar – and is easily summarised into four key steps.
1. Plan, prepare and plan some more
Your brand is essentially how the outside world perceives your company. So, to ensure you hit the right notes with the right people there’s some preparation you need to put into defining your digital brand strategy. It’s all about knowing who you are, where you want to be, what you want to say, and who you want to say it to. This includes outlining your values, how you differ from your competitors, your reason for getting up and going to work in the morning, and who your ideal customer is.
This will help you create a blueprint that informs absolutely everything about your brand and it’s important that you get this part right to maximise your opportunity to make the right impact with your brand – so spend as much time as you need here.
2. Develop your brand identity
Next up is your brand identity. This is the combination of all the visual and non-visual elements that make you who you are and how you communicate your mission, purpose and values outlined in step one. While your logo is ultimately the cornerstone of this, it goes way beyond that.
Whether you’ve decided your brand is modern or vintage, youthful or mature, daring or down-to-earth, everything from the fonts, colour palette and graphics you choose right down to the tone of voice you communicate with on social media and typography on your website, all play a part in how you come across to customers.
3. Bring it to life!
Once you’ve decided on your brand’s identity, work with a designer who can help you bring it to life into all the tangible assets that your customers will interact with. This includes your logo, website, marketing collateral, email newsletters, social media pages and if you have a physical product, your packaging designs.
A designer can also help you bring it all together in a brand style guide. This can help outline the do’s and don’ts for your brand as well as providing guidelines as to when and how to use each design element. This is a really helpful tool in creating consistency across all the touchpoints (and future touchpoints) of your brand – whether online or offline – and helps instill trust in your customers.
4. Create a community around your brand
Today, customers expect more from the brands they interact with online than ever before. Successful digital brands are the ones that create a community around their customer base. Social media is an incredibly effective tool for providing inspirational, educational and value-adding content that can help galvanise a cult following around your business.
But as a digital brand, you don’t just need to be confined to digital realms. Branded merch is a great way to bridge the physical gap between you and your customers. Not only is it an additional source of revenue, but it has proven to be incredibly effective in creating a community around brands and building loyalty and a sense of belonging.
It doesn’t just have to be a t-shirt with your logo on it either – get creative and have a think about what you could create that would showcase your brand personality in fun and interesting ways.
A great digital presence is not just about being present online. Building a brand is a creative process that needs time and effort to ensure that you convey yourself in a way that’s engaging, honest and unique to you. It is the key to standing out from the crowd and forming authentic, long-lasting connections with your customers.
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