What is digital branding and why is it important?
Here we are in the year 2016, a year of digital revolution, virtual reality and e-commerce! The digital landscape and the internet in general is altering so rapidly that inventions are happening at a rate in which we are no longer able to keep up. Company’s which aren’t online in some form are almost invisible in the ever evolving business world, which is one reason why digital branding is something that should take precedence when either building a new business or re-envisioning an existing one.
Digital Branding is the presence of your business in the online forum. It is the online identity of your company specifically realised and conceived via digital means. Last year we blogged of the importance of digital first design as a branding concept when building a website or a digital portfolio for your business. The difference between then and now is that yes, digital is definitely no longer an after thought and with real estate costs rising many businesses are choosing to opt to be digital only!
Digital Branding has changed the way we go about our daily lives. We have easy access to all kinds of weird and wonderful things via the web and the human brain is literally being altered due to constant digital stimulation and online activity. This is why it is not only important to address Digital Branding to ‘sell’ your business or services, but it is also extremely vital that we begin to understand the future implications of web based identity. Your digital brand must have longevity, truth and an identity that can be distinguished in a crowd.
Aesthetics are the characteristics, appearance and style of your digital brand. The Aesthetic of your brand has to be conveyed across all mediums and needs to be consistent in order to voice the correct tone for your business. The Aesthetic choices you make when building your brand will need to be coherent with what ever way your business grows and evolves and therefore needs to be well considered.
B is for Brand
A brand is either an identification stamp that is burned onto livestock in order for owners to identify them or a series of attributes which contribute to an overall identity for an organisation. This is what we are addressing here – Digital identity and creating a recognisable character for your company.
C is for Colour
Colour can be a distinctive way to separate yourself from competition. A colour choice can instigate certain reactions for people engaging with your company. For example colour can evoke certain memories and derive certain connotations due to their pairings. For example red with white may remind users of Christmas, or Yellow and Blue make evoke thoughts of the seaside. Last year we blogged about the use of colour in ‘Colour me happy‘ and we shared thoughts on how to utilise it creatively to enhance your brand.
Design is where the brand is born. Digital Design comprises of Animation, Photography, Typography, Layout, Alignment, Video and much more. Without design, a brand would have no thread to hold together the various different elements. Clever design can determine whether people invest their time and interest in your company or whether they go elsewhere. Much like fashion, brand design also goes through various different trends – for example right now, it seems the Nordic trend is what many companies are going for. This plays to the broader ‘minimalistic’ design trend that has been popular throughout 2015 and continues to thrive in 2016. Designers should address trends when designing brands however it is important not to invest too much into them as new fashion’s emerge with the every new season.
E is for Engaging
A brand should engage a companies customer base. It should also engage the company staff. A brand should be relatable and should address the needs of the people who are endorsing it. In order to be engaging a brand needs to renew with the evolving digital landscape and needs to be available across multiple platforms for greater audience reach. Social Media is a great way to engage new customers, build a reputable readership and guarantee regular website hits. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are easy to access on the go and can be updated on the fly.
F is for Focus
Choosing a particular genre or style to identify your brand is a bold choice. This can determine the overall perception of your whole company and shouldn’t be a choice made on a whim. If you begin designing your brand with a brocade print to start with then this is quite a strong aesthetic to keep up to and may not be easy to interpret across varied platforms.
H is for History
Historically digital branding has gone through a lot. Various file types have been and gone, some of which are no longer accessible to the programmes we use now. It is important to understand these technically histories, to ensure that we build brands that are sustainable and build for the future.
I is for Imagery
Imagery is an important part of your digital identity. Humans engage in photography emotionally and the way that you use imagery can assist in visual storytelling and help customers to understand your brand.
K is for Keywords
Engaging with keywords when you are developing an online identity is essential for SEO and getting seen on the web. KeyWords can be implemented as you blog, for example Reactive Graphics may use key words or terms like ‘Web Design London’to ensure that if these search terms are typed into google Reactive Graphics will be identified by Google as being a Web Design company in London.
L is for LinkedIn
LinkedIn amongst any other social media sites is an important tool to utilise when building your brand. LinkedIn is a professional network for people interested in finding services or like minded people to connect with digitally. Most social media profiles can be edited in order to fit with your brand and this should be utilised to maximise your brand coverage.
Make your brand memorable, for the right reasons. Do not choose garish colour ways to simply stand out. Do not be memorable for your lack of professionalism in an email. Do not be memorable for choosing a questionable logo design for you brand. Be memorable for developing a brand that listens to the requirements of its customers and delivers what it says on the tin
N is for Name
When choosing your business name, you could consider addressing what your company actually does – eg Reactive Graphics, specialise in Graphic Design, however this is not absolutely essential. You should however consider whether the name you choose has any other meanings that could maybe misconstrued later down the line.
O is for Openness
As a brand you should be open to change and adaptability – things that you feel really passionate about may not necessarily work out and therefore you cannot be too precious about what you want.
Q is for Quality
Once you start to develop your digital brand, you must maintain the same quality of execution for all materials you create under that identity. For example if you have a wonderful website but a very badly written blog, the quality of the blog with reflect badly in the overall standard of you business.
R is for Recognition
It is not only important that you are recognised as a company due to effective digital branding, but it is also important that you recognise your success as a company. You must also recognise and credit the people you have worked with to establish your brand and ensure that you ask for permission when using another company’s work.
Scale and Scalability is an important decision to think about when establishing your digital identity. Can your logo be displayed on the side of a van as well as on a postage stamp if required. Does you digital identity translate to print? Is your website scalable across all platforms and devices? These are all consideration to think about when building your digital brand.
T is for Typography
Over the past few years typography has been quite a hot topic across the web design world. With many businesses opting for a watermark text logo in place of the generic circular symbol and choosing typography as the main defining aesthetic for their brand.
U is for Understanding
In order to continue to build a brand you need to understand why you are investing in one in the first place. Does your business require you to engage in a trusting relationship with your customer base in order to have them revisit you for your services? Do you need to have anonymity as a company to become a reputable business? Do you understand how to manage the changing nature of your brand and how to deal with difficult situations if they arise. All of these questions will be relevant to how you initially decide you brand, so before you go ahead, you need to understand your business.
Various versions of your digital brand should be accessible for varied platforms. You should always save original copies of your designs in various different formats
W is for Website
Web Design and Web Development is extremely important when getting your brand notices. A website can make or break your business success and should be approached with the same finesse and enthusiasm as any other part of your business journey. A Website can be the ‘face’ of your brand, a space online to encapsulate all elements of your business possibilities.
X is for eXamine
Apologies for the copout here. But examining the success and failures of your work are integral to building a long-lasting brand. It is vital that you establish your brand but monitor how it is used through statistics and analytics in order to get a measure of how to keep your customers happy and how to build new interest.
YouTube is a important tool when building a digital brand. The video platform hosts over 300 hours of new videos every single minute and is one of the top visited websites on the web today. By working with videomakers and designers you can establish a YouTube channel that works within your company branding and explains what you do, much faster than a page of text would. See our Youtube company video here.
Z is for Zest
It is extremely important that your online identity and overall brand is always fresh and clear. You should have an enthusiasm for your business and allow your personality and zest for life shine through in the work that you do.
Work with us to develop your digital brand
Reactive Graphics have worked closely with various businesses large and small to develop and sustain brands in today’s turbulent digital landscape. With advancements in digital technologies we are able to personalise brands to such a fine degree, that the whole of your online identity speaks with a collective voice. If you would like help to get your business off the ground or need advice with your next digital branding venture, then please get in touch.