What would it be like to be a master of internet marketing branding? Well, imagine you’re Apple and people line up for days to be the first to buy your new product. Or, picture yourself as the CEO of Google, your brand synonymous with the best, most trusted service of its kind. It can be yours when you unlock the secrets of internet marketing branding.
Secret#1 – It’s all branding
In all my years of marketing and business development, branding is one of the most commonly used and widely misunderstood concepts out there. Clients and colleagues have asked what can I do to enhance my brand. Here’s the fact, it’s all branding. There is no one thing that can magically improve or change your brand. Both online and offline, it is everything you say to your staff, your clients, your suppliers and the public. With over 80% of the public using the internet prior to making a purchase, understanding the impact of digital media is crucial to you and your brand.
Secret#2 – Manage your brand or it will manage you
Branding actually starts before any sort of marketing happens. It’s the nerve center of your organization and your business plan. People and business structures make up the organs and bones and your brand impacts all of the communication and interaction. Hear this loud and clear, you need to manage your brand internally and externally. One final thing, you brand is not an edict from the top. It is cultivated, nurtured and nudged to get as close to your vision, realizing that you may need to adapt, too.
Secret#3 – Get input from your customers
One of the most powerful aspects of internet marketing branding is the opportunity to engage your customers and gauge how you are being perceived. Experts agree that you need a blog or some other way to invite feedback from your audience. A word of caution, don’t whitewash responses. Everyone knows that nobody is perfect, so don’t pretend to be.
Another powerful way to get input from your clients is to use your online database (create it now, if you don’t have one; AWeber is a good place to start) and create a survey. Imagine hearing from your most loyal customers exactly what is working and what can be improved. That’s precisely what you can get with a well constructed survey. For a free and relatively robust service, check out Survey Monkey.
Secret#4 – Show the personality behind the brand
Have you noticed that I’m not recommending a robotic, “We are the greatest ‘X’ business in your area; you’d be crazy to go anywhere else,” type of brand. Let your personality show through. Your company has a personality and so do the principles. Tell the world and let them see what you are all about. Using video in your internet marketing branding campaign is a fantastic way to show the human side of your company and to give your clients even more to relate to.
Secret#5 – Consistency, congruency, cohesion
I’m going to circle back to general brand advice. You can’t afford to take chances when developing what will become the defining characteristic of your business. When I work with my clients on branding, I make sure they understand that they need consistency, congruency and cohesion in the messaging. Consistency means all of the channels; internal and external, online and offline, written and spoken, all come from the same core principles. Can you picture saying you’re cutting edge and having website from 1984? That’s an example of incongruency. Are there any message like that in your current communication? When being customer friendly and open is part of your vision for your brand, your internet marketing branding better include some social media and other web 2.0 outlets. And finally, to get cohesion, make sure that everyone knows exactly the direction you’re nudging the brand so that they can all lean into it together.
Internet marketing branding is a blessing in the ways that it lets you get your hands and mind around your brand so that you can share it with your customers. When you’re not using it correctly, it’s a curse. Picture your ideal brand. How do your team members act? What do your customers experience? What do you get to do? Now, how close are you?