The way B2B companies approach their target audience is changing. To keep up, it’s essential to build a strong digital brand. The first step is understanding that a business is a brand. Even the quote-unquote lack of having a brand is, in itself, a brand. To be intentional about the way in which customers see you, set the brand tone yourself.
When kicking off with clients, Highlands works alongside them to review or build from scratch their mission, values and goals. We want the brand to reflect what they stand for as well as communicate their unique value proposition to existing users and potential prospects.
Pinpointing your target audience
A brand should speak to the target audience – those you want to reach through any marketing activity. It’s important to note this group cannot be everybody, and by trying to attract everyone, you’ll likely appeal to no one. Think about who your customers are today and if they’re generally a good fit for the company. It’s a combination of business type, size and geography. If you want to shift the type of clientele you work with, this is a great exercise in defining what the new target market might be.
Making it work for digital platforms
In the digital age, it’s not enough to have a notable brand; it must also be effective for digital platforms and be consistent across all channels, including websites, social media and advertising campaigns. A strong digital brand should be easily recognisable and memorable, making it effortless for prospective customers to connect with your organisation.
More often than not, the company logo needs amending so it can translate into a profile picture, easily fits at the top of a website without taking up too much real estate, works as a favicon (or small browser/website brand icon), etc. Remember, an update does not necessarily need to mean a complete change – think of it more as modernisation.
In the world of digital marketing, more is more. Right now, ‘dopamine design’ and motion graphics are trending. Dopamine design refers to the use of colours, images and other elements to trigger positive emotions and encourage engagement. Motion graphics – such as animations and videos – can help bring a brand to life and make it more memorable and appealing to the target market.
To genuinely stand out, there must be ‘brand bravery’. This means being authentic, real and fast. You shouldn’t be afraid to take risks and be distinct from your competitors – in fact, this is actively encouraged!
Additionally, a brand needs to be swift on its feet, meaning it’s got to be capable of rapidly adapting to changes in the market and responding to customer needs in real time.
Does your target audience devote a lot of time to TikTok and YouTube, for example? Then move quickly to be on those platforms to reach people where they are spending their time.
One of the most critical aspects of establishing a digital brand is recognising what it represents. It is the brand’s heart – reflecting the values and mission, and representing the driving force behind all digital marketing efforts. This is what sets you apart from competitors and helps connect with customers on a deeper level.
It should also influence ESG/CSR (environmental, social and governance/corporate social responsibility) initiatives. Namely, considering the impact your company has on the environment, society and the economy, and taking steps to minimise negative effects and maximise positive ones.
By doing this, you not only deliver a meaningful mark on the world but also demonstrate a commitment to responsible business practices – all of which help in building a strong and positive brand.
Don’t set it and forget it
This is a constantly developing process. It isn’t a one-and-done deal. A brand is living and breathing and should be continuously evolving – for the better – over time. Once the branding is in place, all content needs to reflect the brand and meet best-in-class standards across every platform it appears.
A website remains the cornerstone of a digital marketing platform (an electronic company brochure) and keeping content updated and relevant across all digital touchpoints is critical.
How many times have you visited a website and clicked on the News tab and the last post was from four years ago? Don’t be ‘that guy’! That’s why, when engaging with clients, we align ourselves as partners, delivering new ideas and fresh content on a continual basis.
Liz Bateman is Creative Director at sales and marketing agency Highlands