The business world has stiff competition, and you need your business to stand out. Over 627,000 businesses start every single day, and the truth is that you’ll never hear of most of them.
So what can you do to make your business stand out? Well, the best thing is to develop a unique, recognizable brand. Luckily, in the digital age, that’s easier than ever.
So what is a digital brand, why is it so important, and how do I build one for myself? Let’s talk about that.
What Is A Digital Brand?
No, a digital brand is not just a logo. It encompasses your entire digital presence and it’s what defines your brand and makes it stand out from the others.
Let’s try a word experiment. You start up your phone or computer, you open up your web browser, and you see a whole page with bold, colorful letters in an arrangement. Those colors are blue, yellow, red, and green. What website are you on?
Whether it was an app for Drive, Sheets, Chrome, or anything else, you know the brand well. Google is the most commonly-used website in the world, so they do have an unfair advantage in terms of digital branding, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for your business to focus on.
Your digital brand is how people will recognize you online. It factors in a lot of different criteria and you need to work toward making everything uniform and custom to your specific brand. That means that employees or partners who put out digital material will have to conform to that brand.
Why Digital Branding Matters
While you’ve probably already figured this out, we’re well into the digital age by now. However, you may not know the extent! Online sales reached 4.29 trillion in 2020 and there’s no reason to believe that will be slowing down any time soon. The global economy has been moving toward the digital side for a couple of decades now, so if you’re not already focused on your digital brand, now is the time to start!
Companies like Nike, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and others are so instantly recognizable that they probably don’t even need a logo to be identified by the average consumer.
You know what their ads look like, you know what their products look like, and if you were put on the most random of pages on their websites, you’d likely still be able to recognize them immediately.
Why does this matter? Because if you want to jump ahead of your competition, a great strategy is to act like the top dogs. You can crop an image on the bunny slopes to look like a professional skier, and you can make your small business appear to be a giant in the industry. In other words, fake it until you make it.
When you look at a company like Apple, you don’t physically see how much money they have. You just see a slick design and futuristic technology. Their visual brand screams that they’re a big player in the industry. Well, yours can, too.
With the right tools at your disposal, you can develop that same level of instant brand recognition among your target audience and establish yourself as a top dog before you even make it there.
Sticking with Apple, the company has some of the most loyal customers in the world, to the point where most people who use their products willingly bash the competition for their text messages appearing green instead of blue.
Apple has developed this brand loyalty by being instantly recognizable, simple, easy to use, appearing futuristic, and technologically sound. That’s the brand they’ve created throughout their existence.
Well, you can facilitate the same kind of brand loyalty. When people are used to your product, they can recognize it in a crowd, they know exactly what to predict from it, and they find it easy and reliable, they’ll be a lot more likely to remain loyal to your company. This is a huge win for a business.
You can spend millions on marketing for new customers when retaining your existing ones will give you the same amount of business, if not more. There are plenty of reasons that businesses fail, and not retaining customers is one of them.
How To Build A Digital Brand
Okay, we’ve established why building a digital brand is so important. Now there’s another question. How do we build our digital brand? Well, there’s a lot to consider and it’s almost all entirely specific to your business or personal brand. Here’s what you need to consider.
Define Your Mission
Your mission and vision of the company are the most important part of your brand, and they’re critical to figuring out the kind of visuals you want to show off. These should be clearly defined to establish a brand, and if you showcase them well enough, people will associate your brand with the vision even more than the product.
Let’s get this one out of the way. Yes, a logo is part of your digital brand and will likely be the first thing people recognize after seeing it enough. However, the goal is to make your company so recognizable that it doesn’t even need a logo.
Logos should be as simple as physically possible. Simple background, simple foreground, no tricks. You want it to be legible no matter how small it’s placed.
Think about when you’re scrolling through Instagram. On that particular platform, you can’t enlarge a profile picture to zoom in, so whatever is in that tiny little circle needs to be legible, especially on a mobile device.
You also don’t want to rely on people clicking to zoom in. What about your products or business cards where you want to put a tiny logo? You want it to be perfectly legible, no matter the scale. Think about the most recognizable logos out there and what they have in common. Try to replicate that (not plagiarize).
The name of your company is important, and there are options for you to choose from to make it sound right. The examples we’ve been giving are slick tech companies. In this circumstance, a short and sweet name that’s instantly recognizable does the trick for them. “Apple”, “Amazon”, and “Google”.
That’s a good strategy. A unique name that wouldn’t be mistaken for anything else. A store that’s called “Eddy’s Pet Shop” could easily be mistaken for “Annie’s Pet Shop” one town over, which offers an extra hurdle to clear for brand recognition. Try to get creative with your name, but keep it as simple as possible.
Your company name could have a personality behind it. For example, if your business is writing a blog or news commentary, and it relies on your persona, then adding your name to the title would be fully appropriate. Your title could be descriptive and offer insight into the products or services you offer. This could be as subtle or direct as you want it to be.
An acronym is another option if you’re creative and can make it something catchy. A few of the most commonly known examples of this would be CVS, GEICO, the YMCA, NASA, YAHOO, and AT&T. Catchy wordplay is another great idea for a title, but it has to be recognizable by the average person.
Regardless, try grabbing a pen with your idea in mind and write down a long list of keywords that you think would be appropriate for your company. Aim for as high as 100 even if you only wind up with 30. Once you have them all in front of you, it will be easier to brainstorm ideas. Just don’t forget to follow the naming guidelines and write your ideas down as you go!
Once your business is up and running, choose a color scheme and stick with it. Some companies may only want black and white while some may want the whole rainbow and more! Try to make it match your brand.
For example, a Halloween store would be best suited to use orange, purple, and black mainly, with some fall colors as their secondary options. A flower shop may want to use floral, maybe pastel colors in their pallet. A tech company may want to stick to silver, chrome, white, and black.
Consider whether or not any specific colors will have significance or relevance to your business. If not, go with the aesthetic you envision for your brand.
Don’t neglect the color scheme. Believe it or not, color improves brand recognition by up to 80%.
Don’t overlook the font. While it’s not something we pay attention to directly, it’s important for building an aesthetic. We may not know it, but we do associate certain fonts with certain businesses.
Just don’t go with a generic or hard-to-read font, as this won’t help. A cursive font will only be appropriate for things like wedding planning services or flower shops and should otherwise be avoided.
For a digital brand, performance is key. That’s true whether your primary location is on an app, website, or another web host. Slow page speeds, lagging apps, and other hurdles will be what people associate with your brand if it becomes a consistent problem.
Luckily, there are ways you can improve on this. Start with improving your website’s user experience and keep building from there. If you want to compete with the top dogs, people are already used to their websites, so they expect a similar standard.
Reflect Your Brand Everywhere
Everything your business does should reflect your newly-established brand, and it should never stray from this. Once you have your company’s mission and values, color schemes, logos, fonts, and everything else, it should be reflected wherever it can be reflected. This includes:
- In your ad campaigns
- On your social media platforms
- On business cards
- On your website
- On your mobile app
- In your physical store
- On your products
That should be along with anywhere else you can think of. Consider your customers’ entire journeys with your company. From seeing an ad, then over to your landing page, then to your website menu, to your app, and to anywhere else relevant to your business. In every single detail, your brand should be entirely uniform if you want to create that instantly-recognizable impression.
Get Outside Help
The best way to build a visual brand is to get help. A digital branding agency will be able to not only create the exact brand you’re trying to create, but they’ll be able to develop your display cases like your website, your ad campaigns, and your mobile apps to display your brand.
The right digital brand architects will be able to work with you directly and turn your vision into reality with the proper digital product design and function. It’s a lot of work for a business owner to take on, so leave it up to the professionals!
All of these aspects may seem like small things, but they really add up to one uniform aesthetic, and they all work together to create one instantly recognizable brand. Having professional help to get you to that point is never a bad idea.
Build Your Brand Today!
Building a digital brand takes time, effort, and consistency, but it’s a big part of the reason why the biggest brands in the world got to where they are now. Stay up to date with our latest news for your business, keep building your brand, and contact us for any help you may need!