In a world full of brands, standing out from the pack can be a challenge. While new brands launch every day, there is something to be said about those that stand the test of time. Reputable brands with distinguishable offerings and values are the ones that get noticed by consumers.
No matter whether your brand is new to the market or well established, staying relevant is essential to that kind of longevity. The nature of brands is cyclical. They can start off really strong with a compelling product but lose momentum if they stop being top of mind.
That’s why no good brand stays put. You must always be forward-thinking and see what is next on the horizon. Brands that jump on new opportunities are the ones that remain profitable. Just think if Netflix had simply continued to offer DVDs by mail and hadn’t pioneered online streaming. Changing with the times is crucial for progression and advancement.
But while it’s important to stay on top of trends, not least when it comes to branding, there are three essential principles to keep in mind no matter your industry. Keep reading to learn why these online branding principles are crucial to your brand’s long-term success.
1. A Robust Website Is Nonnegotiable
Without this branding strategy, nobody will find your business. Long gone are the days where people supported businesses solely in person (thanks, Amazon). A strong online presence is key to success, as websites are one of the main ways consumers discover a company. They’ll consider the absence of a website—or an underwhelming one—a red flag and take their business elsewhere. Consumers expect to do a keyword search and find the answer to their problem online. If you’re not there, your company won’t be the one to solve it for them.
Even if your brand has a website, your work isn’t done. You must continually keep it up to date. Do you have products listed that are no longer in stock and won’t be available in the foreseeable future? Do you list hours of operation or other information that’s no longer relevant due to Covid-19? Your site is the way your company portrays itself to the world. When yours is out of date, your business looks poorly run and out of touch.
Remember that keyword search? Another reason you need a strong website is SEO. Your website can’t merely exist; it also has to appear high up on search engine results pages in order to get noticed. Creating quality content that is useful to your existing and future customers is key. You can also use competitor analysis tools to see how your rivals are showing up in search and determine which keywords you need to be emphasizing in your content. These efforts can help boost your SERP rankings, creating an even stronger online presence for your brand.
2. Design Elements Must Be Consistent and Aligned With Your Brand Promise
Nike with its swoosh, McDonald’s with its golden arches, and Apple with its, well, apple are just three examples of businesses with consistent branding. No matter where you are in the world, you’ll recognize these logos. Marketing strategies may change with the seasons, but these logos remain recognizable because they are consistent.
While flashy branding may be appealing at first, if it’s not consistent and well aligned, it won’t be memorable. Research shows that brands ultimately have a mere seven seconds to make a first impression on consumers. When designing your branding, it’s important to think long-term. What design or colors are iconic by nature? What fonts are unique but also readable? What emotion is evoked by the branding?
Before settling on your final design, ensure it aligns with your brand promise and reflects your brand’s tone and voice. This is all part of your brand’s personality, or rather the type of relationship you want your customers to have with your business. After all, if you’re in the business of selling homes, you don’t want your design to come across as standoffish or unapproachable. Consistent, well-aligned branding will be memorable for the right reasons.
3. A Regular Social Media Presence Is a Must
Similar to having a strong website presence, a consistent social media presence can do wonders for your business. Just as consumers search for specific brands, they also turn to their favorite social channels to discover and learn about them. That’s especially important now that social platforms have expanded their capabilities to include commerce solutions. Instagram Checkout and TikTok Shopping are giving consumers a reason to go to social first to buy directly from their favorite brands.
For your social media efforts to pay off, you must be consistent. Brands need to post content regularly to stay noteworthy and top of mind; forgetting to post is simply not an option. Fortunately, there’s much you can tell your audience. You can use social media to inform consumers of new product launches, business updates, collaborations, and more. Concentrating on a few social channels consistently—rather than every channel sporadically—will be more beneficial in the long run.
As important as social is for letting consumers learn about you, it also presents a golden opportunity for you to learn about them. You and your team can see who is following your brand page on various channels and get to know your audience(s). This can help you develop better marketing campaigns to attract new, like-minded customers. You can also learn what types of posts work best and when. Tailoring your posts to better align with what your consumers are looking for is a winning strategy.
To establish a brand that attracts and retains consumer attention, you need a robust website, consistent and aligned branding elements, and a strong and steady presence on social media. Embracing these three online branding principles will improve your brand’s footprint and help you stay ahead of the competition. More importantly, they will enable you to remain relevant to your core audience over the long haul.