Brand Strategy and the Case for Digital Marketing

Who Hearts ♥ your Brand

 

Synergies from digital marketing and brand strategy are obvious because while brand comes from the heart and love and purpose drives brand strategy and impact, digital marketing and communications as well as digital transformation tools and trends uplift business capability to collaborate, produce and share information with clients, customers and suppliers. Used well, loyalty and advocacy grows to sustain brand impact through the customer experience digital methods allow us to harness and deploy through pursuing brand strategy objectives.

A resonant and strong brand cannot be built in a vacuum or in void of values. We tell our clients that brand strategy fundamentally starts with deciding, defining and clearly articulating what the brand promise, personality and proposition are, and claiming a tenable, even an unassailable position. But it does not end there, and even in that initial discovery phase, how what has been decided in terms of brand principles and purpose will be communicated and to whom, needs to be considered closely. Increasingly, consideration of ‘how’, the link between and symbiosis between digital marketing and brand strategy becomes more apparent.

The magic is in ensuring and insisting that these principles and promises are translated to practices, manifested in business processes and enshrined and embodied in your people. Having an emotional connection with your brand, investing your business with a lifeblood conceived in clarity, and imbued with purpose allows you to transmit and communicate all of those emotions to your tribe and be in accord with them.

The key to all of this, lies is in the building of the perception you want to project to the people you can best serve. Having found your tribe, how can you project the perception that yours is a story they (your clients/customers/tribe) can be a part of, that you are not peddling a commodity, you are filling a gap in their lives? How do you keep on top of and keep meeting existing and emerging needs in their lives and psyches and how can you fully deliver on benefits they want and cannot be without? Like all perceptions, once in place, they will need to be reinforced.

The ‘how’ of course lies in the combined capacities of digital marketing and brand strategy and the opportunities they afford to, take a position, forge a message and communicate them to your tribe and empower your staff.

Digital Marketing and Brand Strategy creates tribes that love your brand

 

Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has the power and potential to define and impact the brand-consumer relationships and brand strategy definitions of demographics will be tested, proved and refined by strong and targeted integrated communications. Digital marketing approaches include Content Marketing, digital tools deployed in SMM (Social Media Marketing) and Social Media Integration, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), SEM (Search Engine Marketing) PPC (Pay Per Click)and e-mail marketing, encompassing organic and paid methods.

Adopting digital marketing provides companies with greater opportunities for deeper understanding of their customers and therefore requires a good psychological scheme, according to Ekaterina Smolkova in the ‘Influence of Digital Marketing on Brand Image Perception of the Company’ (2015). There is no doubt that brand recognition, loyalty and attachment or all greatly inflated and persisted through digital marketing.

Afrina Yasmin et.al (2015) relate that digital marketing is pivotal in attracting new target customers, and enabling customers as a whole to interact with the brand through digital media.

Christian Hoffman and Lisa Weithaler (2015) examined the role of digital marketing in the transformation of brand identity into a resonant and positive brand reputation, through the influence on consumer perception by online communication channels, helping to position the consumer’s decision-making bias towards the particular brand. The study also found that the brand reputation determinants are of course, differentiation, trustworthiness, irreconcilability, willingness-to-support,responsibility, reliability and credibility, all of which elements, brand strategy serves to define and enable, highlighting the interrelationship of brand and digital strategy.

Cait Lamberton and Andrew T. Stephen (2016) point to the ability for self expression rendered by digital marketing in consumer self determination and choices available for doing so and the opportunity this gives for collecting market intelligence, a crucial benefit of digital as a whole for every industry.

In the ‘Influence of Digital Marketing on Brand Building’, Dr. S. Yuvarajand R. Indumathi (2017) identified that ‘digital channels and assets are used to communicate a brand’s positioning as part of a multichannel brand communication or engagement program’, asserting through their research that there is a significant relationship between brand building and digital marketing.

Brand strategists must incorporate digital tools to fully realise benefits and brand potential

This is why brand strategy must be developed in parallel with, and deployed through integrated marketing communications. A primary objective of brand strategy is the delivery of the construct around which messaging can be mobilised, and finding the benefits in your offering that help delineate the brand’s truest tribes. Brand strategy development and implementation, to be effective, need to be multifaceted and integrated as does effective digital marketing which encompass integrated marketing communications

Digital and Customer Experience

It’s worth bearing in mind that while Digital Transformation is a separate field from DM, the two strands of Digital endeavour can dovetail synergistically not least because of the imperative to review, improve and even re-engineer the business’ existing Customer Experience processes.

The Customer Experience and Engagement journey is so integral to Brand Strategy and also to how you can drive your business processes or business transformation in alignment to the brand strategy — it gives you a map to connect your customer’s journey to how your business can interact with your customers and what you can say at each stage, and also provides pointers as to how best and where best to incept and continue these conversations.

Digital marketing is the right vehicle for that, and it’s the vehicle that will not turn into a pumpkin at midnight because your message is kept fresh and current across a multitude of channels. This is how you can compete with the big guys too, because imaginatively parlayed and presented messages can play better and for far longer, and digital marketing allows you to pivot and pare, refine and repair.

man carrying backpack walking on garden

All big truths and chunky lessons, but fundamental to grasp, is the role of digital marketing in constructing the layers of your brand — from purpose to image to the story — buttressed over time on every channel where you meet your tribe, to disseminating the messages that move the narrative on and deepen engagement. Brand values are a precursor to brand identity and together they create your brand image. Digital Marketing’s primary goal as it relates to brand strategy, is the projection and perpetuation of a perception and the bolstering of the perceptual mindsets of the persona composites that constitute your brand tribes.

Whether it’s your first foray into strategy and brand management or you are embarking on a refresh, opportunities abound. For the former, these opportunities are in creating and claiming and conquering a position. In the second, it’s a Change process, with considerations for internal brand engagement, technology alignment to optimal business processes that can also be defined. In either case, measurement is crucial because this is what allows for review and improvement. Mining this information provides direction and digital capabilities, as well as the myriad opportunities described above, provide untold advantages in this regard.

Brand comes from the heart, and we must discover emotional levers to connect the brand to its tribe, but if Love and purpose drives the strategy and impact, digital marketing drives the brand and to an increasing extent today, the loyalty and advocacy that sustains it. It provides the tools and reach and capability to disseminate the messages and engage with the the right people, enabling as it does, a ready finger on the pulse and ebbs and flows of the initiatives you are making and of the people your brand impacts.

Chinenye Ikwuemesi
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