Why Your Brand Matters More Than Ever in the Digital Age

The explosion of digital has fundamentally changed the way consumers and other businesses interact with your brand, therefore not having a strategy for engaging your audience across the digital divide is a recipe for failure. Your brand’s success is now determined by what Google has coined the Zero Moment of Truth: the moment that occurs when a consumer decides to use their digital device to gather information and make a decision regarding your products or services. Today, consumers learn about your business from search results, social media conversations, user reviews and other online forums. This moment of truth is critical and according to Google, brands that win the Zero Moment of Truth stand to gain a competitive advantage over those that choose to ignore it.

Your Brand Is An Experience

Your brand is made up of a multitude of components, including your logo, marketing messages and the products and services you sell. However, the strength of your brand is also determined by how consumers experience your business across the many channels and touch points that exist today. For example, consumers can research a product online, easily comparing different reviews, styles and prices. They can physically go to a store to view or use the product and interact with a customer service representative. They can talk to friends about their opinions and check out product forums and conversations on social media. And all of these different experiences shape the way that people perceive and judge a brand. In 2012, a Google study found that online search was the most common influencer for shoppers; trumping family and friends as the most-used source of information for the first time ever, and as time goes on, the experience of interacting with a brand will only continue to evolve into a more digital one.

Branding Effects Digital Consumer Decisions

A recent Google study found that 90% of all media interactions are now screen-based and 90% of users use multiple screens to accomplish a task. People are constantly switching devices to look at reviews, prices and social media conversations, making it crucial to deliver a consistent brand experience across all digital channels. McKinsey & Company put it well when they stated, “How companies engage customers in these digital channels matters profoundly—not just because of the immediate opportunities to convert interest to sales, but because two-thirds of the decisions customers make are informed by the quality of their experiences all along their journey.”

Digital Branding Isn’t Just for Consumer Facing Companies

McKinsey & Company found that in 2012, strong B2B brands outperformed weak B2B brands by 20%, up from 13% in 2011, proving that business branding can be a worthwhile investment for those who get it right. And getting it right means focusing on a consistent messaging and communications strategy across the ever-expanding digital landscape. For example, look at global lighting and electronics company Phillips, who has effectively run digital advertising campaigns to connect with business consumers. According to Phillip Wergan, CMO at Phillips, “The model of brand building has changed in B2B; you need the emotional engagement to tell these complex stories. Understanding what can be achieved through digital media [is becoming] increasingly important, but there’s still an awful lot of learning to be done.”

Whether you’re a large B2B/B2C company or a small business, creating a strong digital brand is an increasingly important marketing strategy. Companies that build a strong brand across all channels will see improvement in their bottom lines, heightened customer satisfaction, and will gain momentum as the digital landscape continues to grow and evolve.

How does your business create a strong brand across the digital landscape? Comment below with your insights!

References:
http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/research-studies/2012-zmot-handbook.html

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/digitizing_the_consumer_decision_journey

http://mckinseyonmarketingandsales.com/business-branding