Digital branding. Stage the brand interactively.
Various interaction options with the B2B and B2C target groups at the digital touchpoints allow the user to intensively engage with the brand. However, the large number of digital contact points makes it necessary at the branding agency to consistently design brand-relevant design aspects for input and output in order to strengthen identity, visibility, and credibility. The more recognizable the interactive systems (user interfaces, UI) are, the higher the recognition and brand perception. And the more positive the user experience with digital information and interaction offerings of a brand is, the more positively this impacts brand perception and brand experience.
Corporate design and digital branding
A recognizable brand identity in the digital world is of great importance and touches many areas. The website is one focus. However, the design of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) in web applications, software applications, and apps is also a part. Likewise, the presentation of the brand in moving images, animation, and in virtual space is important. Or in social media. At the branding agency, we are not concerned merely with the right placement of a logo and an image. It is about the definition and standardization of colors, shapes, typefaces and fonts, images, films, sounds, animations, transitions, effects, wording, and tonality … but also about readability, usability, being found, and how long the user stays in the respective digital brand experience. Elements of corporate design have to be more flexibly used in digital media without violating basic brand constants. Corporate design guidelines have to be formulated a bit differently. Despite its long-term orientation, digital branding is to be more implemented quickly and, most importantly, agilely.
Customer touchpoints and digital branding
More and more contacts between a company and its diverse target groups — whether customers, suppliers, partners, staff members, job candidates, or others — take place digitally today. This tendency is increasing. Brand behavior plays an important role. The analysis of the possible contact points from the first look, through the first contact to the first offer, ranging from consulting and purchase right up to the delivery process, complaint handling, and service and support, gives the branding agency the opportunity to see which processes are to be clearly structured and standardized in the sense of digital branding. The analysis also shows where there can and must be a media discontinuity; i.e., personal contact, a contract in paper form, the return of goods, and so on. The clarity regarding the phases in the so-called customer lifecycle and the customer journey are helpful for the analysis of the processes, in order to serve the various users at all contact points in their information requirements and interaction behavior so coherently that the digital contact becomes a positive brand experience.
Digital branding — a broad field
At first glance, the term digital branding is associated with branding on the Internet; i.e., website, email marketing, SEM (Search Engine Marketing), social networking, and social media. The field is, however, broader. In order to reach and bind an online community that reads, tracks, interacts, and recommends, additional new media marketing in the form of blogs, web video, or the active design and use of social media platforms is needed. Advertising in games and videos is also considered in digital branding. This is about optimally leveraging the context in relation to the brand and brand values.
Digital branding and performance
Another topic related to digital branding is performance. With regard to homepages, landing pages, and microsites, it is important to analyze the performance of the pages and to improve them continuously by means of suitable tools. Acquiring and retaining customers is often the focus of the branding agency’s work.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to performance. SEO concerns which keywords play a major role in the brand environment, what is searched for, and which words are used by the competitors — differentiated according to desktop, mobile device, and tablet. Analysis and tracking tools are a further aspect. How many users visit the site, where do they come from, and on which page do they go? The understanding for the user and his needs in comparison to the provided content grows, and one learns which areas of a page need to be optimized. In email marketing, it is also worthwhile to rely on such analyses in order to find out more about reaction and click behavior and to be able to better align content with the needs of the target groups.
Clipping analyses were and are usual in PR (public relations). Tracking opinions about one’s own company and the products in the company should be a matter of course. Listening to the web, as well as to social networks and media, tells you about conversations on your own brand or products or about keywords that are related to each other. Questions, complaints, compliments, and referrals (recommendations) become visible.
Analysis and tracking tools help with managing an online reputation. The special connection between content, SEO, and opinion about the brand becomes visible and can be used for performance improvement.
Electronic posters, digital signage, or multimedia screens indoors and outdoors, with digital or interactive content, belong to the field of digital signage — also a form of digital branding. Content is moving, multimedial, or interactive. It is all about company presentation, visitor communication, information, and entertainment. But it is also about electronic routing. Or activating the target groups at the point of sale (POS) and point of interest (POI). Exhibitions and trade fairs are another field of use of digital signage. This also includes advertising with moving images at train stations, airports, and similar locations.
In the interest of consistent brand management, digital signage also requires a framework that is oriented to the basic constants of corporate design, visual language, and tone, while at the same time meeting the requirements of this form of communication. In short: Digital branding provides the framework for the creative freedom of content and messages.
From our point of view as a branding agency, it is a fast-growing market because, on the one hand, monitors and playback systems are becoming cheaper and cheaper, and digital content can be created and managed more easily and, on the other hand, because digitally processed content can be changed more quickly and played out with pinpoint accuracy. In addition, the viewer can influence the content and course of communication by means of gesture control if this possibility is offered. In times of digitization and individualization of communication, digital signage is an important area of application.