The Internet is growing fast and consumers all over the world are spending more and more time on their desktops and mobile devices. India has the second largest Internet-using population (over 30 Cr), that too with a penetration of just 25%. As a result, the advertising potential of the Internet has grown tremendously over the last 2 years – surpassing even the TV in 2013 (as per IAB report).
So what does this mean for brand marketers?
Digital media’s sophistication and measurement capability has caused a lot of brand marketers to consider this medium as a mainstream branding channel. Digital Branding equips marketers with engaging digital experiences, strong storytelling, highly relevant delivery of content, scale and that too in real-time. What follows here is Amura’s digital branding recipe which will help marketers to leverage the ever-increasing potential of the Internet for their brand campaigns.
1. Identify the objectives of branding
Before starting any branding exercise marketers need to identify the objectives of their branding activities. Typically, the objectives of any branding activities are:
- Spread awareness amongst TG
- Inform consumers about your products
- Increase brand favorability
- Increase share of voice and market share
- Increase purchase intent and improve pipeline velocity
- And create a “Halo Effect” to increase “Brand Induced Purchase”
The halo effect can be achieved by first establishing your brand persona, to create and reinforce a particular impression of your brand in your consumer’s mind.
2. Create a Brand Persona
A consumer’s immediate reaction to an ad is often influenced by an existing impression of the brand and they often tend to click on the ad/communication of a brand that they have already seen or heard of. Hence, it becomes extremely important for marketers to create a well-recognized brand for their direct response campaigns. Firstly, you need to define brand positioning and create a brand persona.
So what is a “Brand” to the consumers?
‘Brand’ is the experience consumers have when doing business with your company.
A brand persona is defined by
– Company’s vision and mission
– The benefits you commit and deliver
– The promises you make and keep
– Follow-up and feedback after delivery
– Company’s ideology and commitment
– Create a brand persona and carry it in all possible interactions you make with your consumers.
3. Identify your Demographics
The key to success for any marketing campaign is identifying the target audience and brand campaigns are no exception to this. The biggest mistake committed by most marketers is not conducting demographic research. A typical marketing demographic is characterized by:
- People (Age, Gender, Education, Occupation, etc.)
- Geography (Physical location, Internet location, Where they travel)
- Behavior and Psycho-graphics (Who are they? How do they browse on the Internet? What motivates them?)
Marketers need to understand why consumers need the brand and what aspects of the brand will appeal to them. Not only do they need to understand their direct consumers but also the influencers’ psycho-graphics in the consumer buying cycle.
4. Content and engagement strategy
Digital media is an interactive platform, so the content has to be engaging and interactive. Marketers need to diversify their content strategy and make sure they have a presence on all relevant online media. Content marketing is very versatile and it enables marketers to interact with the consumers by listening and responding. With the help of social media, marketers can reach millions of consumers and get feedback in real time. Content marketing helps them build engaging stories that will leave a long-lasting impression of the brand on their consumers’ minds.
So what are the different types of content marketers should consider while devising their content strategy?
- Emails, newsletters, research reports, and white-papers
- Blogs and articles (with visuals and infographics)
- Press Releases
- Podcast, Video blogs (e.g. Q&A sessions, How to, Best practices, Quality processes, etc.)
- Rich media content like Banner Ads, Audio-Visuals, and Presentations
Marketers need to connect with their audience with quality and engaging content. Highlighting customer success stories and testimonials will have the highest impact as it adds authenticity to the content. You should provide consumers with a platform/mechanism to ask questions and address their concerns with the utmost priority. Consumer engagement could be your winning strategy while building a brand.
5. Create reach to target demographics
Marketers need to understand the various platforms available to promote their content and brand stories. Consumers are available almost 24*7 on various platforms, but engaging them with the right message at the right time is key to a winning engagement strategy. Typically, the various platforms available for brand marketing include:
- Search engines and Display Network advertising (Google, Bing, Yahoo, GDN, etc.)
- Social media & professional networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Image and video sharing sites (Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, etc.)
- News networks (BBC, NY Times, Times of India, Economic Times, NDTV, etc.)
- Audio and podcast sites.
- Content networks and native content sites (Yahoo native ads, taboola, outbrain etc.)
6. Track, Analyse, and Measure
Measuring any branding campaign is extremely important because it helps you analyze its impact on direct sales. Brand campaigns should be assessed against the brand KPIs and not against the KPIs for direct response campaigns.
The parameters that need to be constantly monitored when you are running a brand campaign are:
The key brand uplift metrics that marketers need to measure:
- Share of Voice
- Purchase Intent
- Sentiments (positive, negative or neutral)
The success of a brand campaign is measured not only in terms of brand KPIs but by how much it has affected the sales velocity and top line. Brand marketers need to employ listening tools and measuring systems to track and analyze the direct and indirect impact of brand campaigns on sales.
In India, brand marketing is often overlooked in favor of direct response. Most of the marketers I’ve met are channel stereotypes who prefer the TV and Hoardings as branding mediums over the Internet. However, as consumers are spending most of their time online, marketers need to create maximum brand touch-points on the Internet. I hope marketers will break the traditional media stereotype and adopt the Internet as their mainstream branding channel for their next branding strategy!
Happy (Digital) Branding!
Infographic : Dyaneshwar Maid