Branding your product in digital spaces

A woman browses the Internet. A brand that is not searchable online does not exist in the minds of today’s consumers. PHOTO/file

What you need to know:

The effort towards building brands must be intensified considering the dynamic nature of the digital market.

The effort towards building brands must be in fact intensified considering the dynamic nature of the digital market.

A brand is distinguishable by these elements:  logo, colour palette, shape, tagline, tone of voice and vocabulary, fonts, imagery, and positioning, for  brand identity which build a specific reputation.

Good reputation elicits more purchases, advocacy, donations, shares and loyalty.  In Uganda, it is not alien to hear a person refer to any toothpaste as ‘Colgate’, ‘Shell’ for every fuel station, ‘Blue band’ for every butter or ‘Bajaj’ for all motorcycles, to mention but a few.
In the digital space for instance, Amazon as a brand, is pretty dominant on its platform with a steady stream of entrants into the market and with over 70 percent of the search market share. Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine.

Whereas factors such as being a fast mover in the market can partly account for dominance of a company in its space, the power of branding which is its ability to influence behaviour plays a pivotal role.
Business unit head Fireworks Advertising, Francis Kasura, defines digital branding as how your brand shows up online to include websites, social media, apps, emails, video and much more.
“Unlike marketing that is mostly about increasing sales, digital branding focuses on the value and loyalty your brand builds within the online space,” says Kasura.

The much vested effort towards building brands in the analog system by businesses or individuals must now be in fact intensified considering the dynamic nature of the digital market.
It can include online flyers, brochures and posters to boost and sell a brand if your brand wants to get acceptance and traction.

According to the creative director Corporate Image Ltd, Abel Asiimwe, digital presence guarantees a brand’s longetivity.
A key factor digital branding puts forth is the opportunity for the brand to interface with the consumers.

“A consumer cannot have an interaction with a bill board but the pay-per-click brand awareness boost model enables interaction,” says Asiimwe.
Many brands are competing for supremacy. The competition is now in cyberspace - to compete favourably you must have an effective consistent presence, be ready to keep relevant and rebrand whenever necessary.

The more ways you can place your business in front of your target audience with quality experiences, the more opportunities you have to build brand awareness and improve your reputation.

Team Leader, Kafunda Kreative, David Ogutu says: presence gives your business a face and an identity which sparks a deeper connection between your brand and your customers, making them more inclined to the personality you are representing.
A brand that is not searchable online does not exist in the minds of today’s consumers. Digital brands should pay attention to this.

UI refers to the screens, buttons, toggles, icons, and other visual elements that you interact with when using a website, app, or other electronic device. UX refers to the entire interaction you have with a product, including how you feel about the interaction.This is the main point to note as the vehicle of the entire concept of digital branding.
As of April 2022, there were five billion Internet users worldwide, which is 63% of the global population according to Statista. This implies that a business has that number of prospective consumers.

Nonetheless a successful business digital brand will seek to understand a target audience.
Ogutu points out how much more segmented the populace is becoming and also how much more data on people with their needs is at the disposal of business owners.   
“There is no such thing as mass businesses. By studying the likes, hobbies, lifestyle, commonly visited sites by the targeted audience, culture, and all obtainable information; a business can horn into that information and brand appropriately,” Ogutu says.

Kasura says that key brand assets must align when developing a digital brand. All online assets must be branded uniformly and consistently to avoid confusion.
These assets may include; digital files, digital media, images, logos, documents, audio, videos, presentations, spreadsheets, emails, official socials, Apps and websites.
“Every business needs an influential brand message,” he says.
Crafting a clear and consistent message is what is required to get a solid brand message into the minds of your customers.  

Search Engine Optimisation is a crucial part of gaining organic search traffic and brand visibility.
Online Reputation Management is about monitoring and improving how your business is viewed online. This involves looking at and analysing what a potential customer, reporter, or partner will discover about your brand.

Personal branding
Ogutu says often people do not look at themselves as a brand unless they are altruists, careerists, hipsters, boomerangs, connectors and selectives.  However, whether it is a service you render, a product you are packaging or a business you are fronting, it is wise to present yourself online in a way that reflects or compliments your business.
“Online profiles are increasingly becoming formal. For instance, social recruiting a process of attracting active and passive candidates through any social media platform is fast becoming popular that often there is a requirement to provide one’s social media handles on official application forms,” says Ogutu.
As you grow your personal brand, keep in mind that this might work for you or against you in future.

Background checks
Background checks are done by prospecting customers, business partners, or investors to make a sort of risk analysis of you depending on the intended working relationship yet to be built and the desired product.
Social recruiting involves not only posting jobs but also engaging with prospective candidates and building an employer brand on these platforms.

This calls for reputation management, thought leadership and fronting ones distinguishing factor on the socials.
“Unless it’s a brand, use your actual names, relevant accurate bio and deliberate profile pictures to seize opportunities that many have ended up earning from, such as being brand ambassadors and influencers,” Ogutu says.

In a report titled; ‘CEO reputation and corporate reputation’, findings indicated that the CEO’s reputation has a much stronger impact on the company’s reputation  with up to 70 percent  in some cases.