For most businesses and brands in 2013, a majority of your business and custom is likely to even be sourced online – or recommended and referred online. Because of this, our branding techniques and our branding strategy (especially when it comes to how we’re represented online) needs to be stronger than ever.
The reality is – that the majority of times now, when someone is searching for information about your business or about your brand – the first place they’re going to look is the internet. A brand that hasn’t been branded efficiently and effectively online –isn’t going to make a good impression, and we all know that first impressions count.
So what kind of things should you be looking for, and how can you begin to improve the way your brand is looking online? Well hopefully in the points below I’ll illustrate the kind of things you should be looking at.
Your Search results
The first place to start looking, is actually the first lace anyone searching for your brand would look – and that is likely a search engine. That a look at the results that pops up for your brands name (or slogan – if that is an essential part of your branding). The kind of results that show up are hugely important and can say a lot about your brand. The aim with any SEO campaign is to inevitably have control over all results on the first page – but it’s understandable that without a huge budget this may not be possible. What you want to make sure is that your official website is showing up in the top 3 results, and that one of your social profiles (twitter or Facebook or linked in) is also showing in the top three too. Next look out for anything that looks like spam or looks hugely unrelated – these are the results you’ll need to push down and out of sight – as they could damage someone’s perspective on your brand.
Example of nice search results:
Because of social media and online networking – the chances are you have got several profiles and websites across various platforms all representing your brand. One key element of online branding is to ensure that these different platforms all match up and that they’re coherent. With this, you need to ensure your logo is uniform across all platforms, and those things like color choices and backgrounds (with twitter you’ll be looking at backgrounds, and with Facebook it’ll be your cover photo) are similar if not the same. This let’s people who are new to your brand recognize and associate your different online platforms easily and quickly – and it also stops copycats or intruders easily being mistaken for you.
Part of online branding that many people forget is the voice of your brand, and keeping it regular and in keeping throughout your various profile and websites. If you’re quite a corporate brand and your website is all about the serious side of business – your social profiles (if you even choose to have any) need to be in keeping with that. One mistake I see brands making all too often, is assuming social profiles have to be casual and slang. It’s simply not the case, you can tailor your social profile to your audience – and by doing so your brand should remain strong and regulated. At this stage, it’s important to keep communication open with whoever manages your social media – and discuss with them how it is you want your brand to come across. If you’re a brand for new Moms, then you’ll have a completely different brand voice, than say, a brand for teenage boys.
Your content is likely to be found on either a company blog, or a social profile – where you’re sharing and publishing content you’ve made or found. It’s important to ensure this content is fitting to the brands overall message – not just for your own peace of mind, but because it could offend and confuse your audience if you get it wrong. Some of the most monumental mistake is online branding and social campaigns, have been through mucking up on the content side of things (simply look at the recent Curvy Kate example for proof of that). Look at what content is relevant to your brand, and what your followers and fans would be interested in seeing. Once you’ve set and recognized these boundaries, posting interesting, but also safe content will become second nature.
Elle is a freelance writer working with brands such as Who Is Hosting This, she works mainly in social media, branding and blogging. You can find out more about them here.