A brand is the sum of every experience a customer has with a company. Today those experiences primarily happen across digital touch points like websites, mobile apps, and social networks. The Internet has simplified consumer access to information, making it easier than ever to discover new brands. In order to remain competitive, it’s imperative brands present a consistent experience across every consumer touchpoint, with a focus on building a strong online identity.
To be the best, you should follow these four key considerations for creating a winning ‘digital-first’ brand.
Look at everything like your customer
At Brandfolder we love to geek out over other successful companies, and our friends at Slack are no exception. Bill Macaitis, Slack’s CMO, recently said, “It’s important to think about the entire customer lifecycle and relentlessly improve the interactions customers have with your company.” After all, these interactions will directly impact your brand. Because Slack is a technology company, their brand strategy oozes digital first. Slack’s CEO, Stewart Butterfield said, “Every customer interaction is a marketing opportunity. If you go above and beyond on the customer service side, people are much more likely to recommend you.” And clearly, something is working. Slack is the fastest growing workplace software ever, reaching a $2 billion valuation in the shortest amount of time, according to data from financial information firm Pitchbook.
If you aren’t putting a customer-first lens on everything you do, you’re missing opportunities. Afterall, customers (regardless of whether their buying for themselves or their company) are just regular people looking to have great experiences with the brands they support. By making sure you revisit the customer perspective often, you’ll be sure to win fans and build a company that succeeds well into the future.
Test and iterate
One of the trendier topics impacting marketing teams right now is optimization. But optimization should go beyond just a single email subject line or the color of a call to action button. Instead try to approach this concept with your brand in mind. What tests you can run to help you realize big picture results?
For example, come up with a few bold statements that define your brand, mission, or values and then test them against your target audience. Once you see what resonates best, utilize the winning statement to influence all aspects of your brand, from colors to in-app messaging and social media copy.
In today’s digital age, data is your friend. You should constantly be tweaking and refining all aspects of your brand by running small and large tests to see exactly what sticks.
Keep it consistent
As a company that understand the importance of brand consistency – this one is probably a no-brainer. However, consumers have short attention spans and need help when it comes to remembering your brand.
By providing consumers with a consistent experience, regardless of whether they watch a TV ad, follow your company on Snapchat, or pick up something from an in-store display, you’re giving them the same experience which is essential when it comes to maintaining and growing your brand.
And with mobile device usage on the rise, it’s very likely potential customers will interact with your brand online way before they ever interact with it offline. Consumers should be able to clearly identify your brand across many devices (as pictured above) prior to ever coming into physical contact with it — a challenge we’re proudly solving at Brandfolder. If you’re interested in learning how we can help you maintain brand consistency, just request a quote.
Tell a story
Lastly, successful brands know the importance of great storytelling. The best brands create a feeling or a lifestyle that people want to emulate. Recently, Gucci has been touted as a great example of a brand doing it right. From a recent article by Hilary Milnes about Gucci’s growth, “Gucci’s digital strategy reflects a brand first, channel second mentality that results in a visually engaging e-commerce store and a social media strategy that isn’t overreaching.” Gucci is perfect at being exactly what it is — a luxury lifestyle brand — without trying too hard. They’re succeeding because they allow the consumer to understand and buy into their story.
According to Karen Walker, founder of One Team Consulting “Aspirational brands should sell emotion and bigger stories that move us and connect with us in a way that’s evocative, that makes us want to emulate them and buy their product.”
To do this right, brands should focus on brand interaction first and worry about the rest later. Develop and deliver a great story, then let your channels drive growth.
Now get to work
Overall, as the digital footprint accessible to brands and consumers continues to increase, it’s important to understand how your brand is being perceived. If your brand is the sum of every experience a customer has with your company, you want to be sure your digital experiences deliver. By looking at things through the lens of your customer, always optimizing, remaining consistent, and delivering a great story, your brand will be one step ahead of your competition.