How To Use Digital Channels To Build Your Brand

Are you looking to grow your brand but are overwhelmed with the amount of digital channels out there? 

In this article we'll discuss the ways in which branding has developed over the past decade and a model which you can use to manage multiple customer touch points.


The Evolution of Branding.

Over the past few decades, branding has evolved as a concept from one of ownership, to one of identity.  

A brand is no longer just a logo, they now encompass both the individuals and the organisation. 

We are also seeing a drastic change into what is being call the era of the 'Platform Economy'. Platforms, rather than providers, are emerging to the forefront of the market. Uber and AirBnB are fantastic examples of leaders in the 'Platform Economy', 

Uber is leading the taxi service business across 60 different countries worldwide, but owns no cars. 

AirBnB is a leading property organisation, but owns no properties.

Ownerships of a brand are now becoming shared by the brand, the consumers, and their followers. Consumers have more power than ever to greatly influence how a business runs their marketing and their offerings. 

There has also been a shift in the forms of brand engagement that occur. Rather than pushing a 'hard-sell', brands are now having genuine conversations with their consumers to deepen their relationships. The more time consumers spend with a brand, the more then bond, and the more likely they are to buy. 


Using digital media to grow engagement.

Traditionally, engagement has been created using the 'AIDA' funnel. 
  1. Stimulate awareness of the promotion
  2. Create interest in the promotional message
  3. Convert this to desire for the product
  4. Stimulate action 
This model is based around the levels of consumer engagement increasing as they move through the funnel.

Now, whilst this sounds pretty easy to follow, it was heavily criticised for not taking into account the full customer journey, essentially being far too simplistic. If you follow this model, you don't take into account the non-linear journey consumers pass through, due to the amount of touchpoints throughout their customer journey.

---> Touch points: your brands point of contact with potential customers. This can include anything from your website, to an ad, to contact with your sales team. 



Digital marketers of today are instead using the loyalty loop.


Source: https://blog.salecycle.com/featured/important-customer-lifetime-value-online-retailers/attachment/loyalty-loop/




The loyalty loop forces marketers to continually deepen their relationships between the customer and brand for continuous engagement. 

Let's take a look closer into the various stages of the loyalty loop and how you can optimise your digital media channels to increase engagement at each stage:

1. Consider

At the consider stage, you are introducing the customer to your brand. The customer will do searches and consider an initial set of brands as they get a feel for the market and choices available. Utilising tools such as blogs to show off market expertise, social media channels, search and Google ads will help you get your exposure.

Your potential customers will be skeptical of you unless they have gained trust through brand recognition or a recommendation from a trusted source such as family, friends, or colleagues.

2. Evaluate

Consumers of today have constant access to comparison of brands. During this stage, consumers will add or eliminate brands as they figure out what they want and what different brands can provide.

Having an active position on comparison sites is a prime example of a channel you need to not only be on, but be doing well on. You could also run blog posts where you compare your brand to competitors.

Without a strong brand positioning, you can be at risk of being reduced to price cutting strategies, which can devalue your product offering.

3. Buy (or Act)

This is the moment the consumer decides what they wants and purchases something. Note, this may not always be a purchase moment, depending on what you are providing, this could just be an action you are driving that leads onto purchase.

Once they have purchased, it is important to reassure their decision with positive post-purchase behaviour such as onboarding emails, online receipts, order tracking or delivery updates.

4. Enjoy, Advocate and Bond (EAB)

The goal during this period is to keep the customer revolving in the loyalty loop. If you build an emotional commitment that this ensures they don't easily reconsider another brand, you can encourage them to make repeat purchase, whether that be in a weeks time, or a year's time.

If they come open advocates of your brand, especially on social social media platforms, you can use this to actively encourage new customers, that will come in with a bit more trust for your brand, due to recommendations.

To maintain their interest and help build deeper emotional connections, “The Walking Dead” rewards their fans for their dedication to the show with “money-can’t-buy” experiences and rewards (source)



Conclusion.

The challenge for marketers is ensuring that truly engaging content is provided to target audiences. 
Each touchpoint a consumer experiences with your brand must deliver a clear and consistent message. You don't want to get confused with another brand or even forgotten about all together. 

Brands often forget to continue engaging with their customers once they bought from them, so using the loyalty loop in your marketing ensures you are delivering consistent messages from the initial consideration, to the post sales journey. The model also encourages everyone in your organisation to understand the brand messages and what is expected of them. 




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