Well-known companies like Starbucks, Zara, or Tiffany did not become powerhouse names overnight. If you need new carpet, what company first comes to mind? What about if you were shopping for an engagement ring or wanted to send flowers? Likely, you can quickly recall a specific company for each scenario without needing to consult Google. Through successful marketing and reputation, these brands have achieved excellent brand awareness – but how?
Brand Building is a long-term, strategic approach for improving your digital footprint.
What is ‘Brand Building’?
Your brand is much more than your logo. Your brand is what consumers think of you and, ultimately, what they believe about your brand determines whether they choose to be a customer or not.
But before a consumer can form an opinion about your brand, they have to know about it first. We may judge people on first impressions, but it takes several touches before we begin to really notice or recall information about a brand. This is where Brand Building comes in.
Strategically speaking, Brand Building is a multitude of on-going efforts to increase your brand presence and reputation across the web. To be clear, even if your business does not include eCommerce or digital services, digital brand building still applies. With so many consumers searching for and doing research about products and services online, having a digital presence is crucial for any business.
A Brand Building strategy focuses on four elements:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps your business be found on the web by increasing your organic ranking in search engines. With today’s search algorithms, a successful strategy is no longer focused on keywords alone. There are many factors contributing to SEO, such as content, website load speed, whether your site is optimized for mobile viewing, as well as the competitive nature of your market niche. Search engines are designed to produce the highest quality results for searchers, so websites with fast load times, hyper-relevant, and updated content will generate more relevant and quality traffic. Because search algorithms are continuously updated, SEO optimization is a long-term and on-going strategy.
2- Local Listings
Have you ever looked up directions to a store only to get there and discover the store is no longer there? Claiming and updating your local listings is essential for your business or you could be driving customers straight to your competition. Even if your business has been at the same location and had the same phone number for years, in this digital age of user-input where internet users can make suggested edits to business information on various sites, it’s important to maintain control of your listing to prevent inaccurate information from spreading.
Updating your local listings also means keeping your customers informed of changes to your business hours, such as holiday hours or special events. Making one-time adjustments to your hours is simple with Google. If you do adjust your hours for a holiday or event, it’s also a good idea to publicize this on your social channels. You want to take advantage of every opportunity to inform your customers and avoid having a potential customer come to your business only to be disappointed and then seek out a competitor.
Content in the form of blogs, videos or images plays a pivotal role in Brand Building. Regularly updated, rich content helps improve visibility and traffic for your website. Meaningful content provides additional value to your customers, builds trust and positions you as an industry expert. Content shared through social channels also helps drive engagement and will build your brand’s authority online.
4- Reputation Management
A positive online reputation builds trust in your brand, garners credibility and satisfies search engines with a reputation ranking factor. Your online reputation shouldn’t be a passive exercise. It’s in the best interest of your business to solicit and respond to reviews.
Why is Brand Building Important?
Digital brand building is a crucial component to driving sales. These four primary tactics of brand building aim directly at helping your business be found and then convert those prospects with a strong reputation and brand presence.
When searching for a product or new service provider, you might recall an ad for a business to begin your research, but very likely you are among the majority of consumers who consult online reviews before making a purchase decision. In fact, 74 percent of consumers trust a local business more after reading positive reviews.
Decisions we make as consumers don’t rely on reviews alone. We also have our own inherent tendencies to make choices which appeal to us or feel familiar. It’s the difference between buying your favorite brand of cereal at the grocery store rather than the cheaper, generic store brand. When you consider 60 percent of consumers prefer to buy from familiar brands, the value of building your brand is obvious.
The Challenges of Brand Building
With so many components working together to build your brand online, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Maintaining a Brand Building strategy does require a significant commitment of time and resources for creating content, responding to reviews, and monitoring your brand online. These responsibilities shouldn’t be left in the hands of a business owner or single marketing manager. Allocate your resources and marketing budget to cover all your bases and remember that Brand Building is just one piece of your overall marketing plan.
The most important element of Brand Building to remember is Brand Building takes time. Our society has conditioned us for instant gratification and it’s a common misconception among business owners that marketing investments drive immediate returns. Brand Building is a marathon, not a sprint. To build positive, enduring brand recognition, a long-term strategy with a secured budget and a healthy dose of patience is required.
Brand Building and Your Bottom Line
Over time, a successful Brand Building strategy will increase your brand’s visibility on the web by dominating the SERP (search engine results page). Optimized listings and a strong SEO strategy that establishes relevancy and authority will help your business show up in the coveted Google Local 3-Pack. Higher organic search rankings and could also reduce your CPL (cost per lead). This is particularly important for industries whose PPC campaigns compete for popular and high-cost keywords.