I remember seeing my first bad ad when I was five years old, and thinking to myself – I can do better than that! Who really thinks that kids like us will buy sweets if they’re devoid of story, and don’t connect with us and our struggles, our meaning, and our vivid and wild imagination. Discounts don’t spur sugar hungry kids to try new brands. All we got was – “HEY KIDS, NEW TOFFEE FOR .50p BUY BUY BUY!”
Online branding is exactly that. A lot of brands striving for attention, while a handful of brands strive for perfection. So how do you really build a unique brand online?
- STP – Segmentation, Targeting, & Positioning – Sounds basic, but it’s the law of marketing. If you can’t visualise who you’re selling to, you’ll never find gold at the end of that rainbow. Positioning is probably the most important of them, while I remember a senior art director telling me – “positioning is the placement of the brand in the mind. Its stored somewhere and where its stored – is what we achieve with branding”
- Strategic Communication – Comms + Strat is the new buzz word that most brands don’t try out. Few fail and the rest wither away with pivots and rebranding year after year. A weak brand, no matter how heavily promoted, will always remain a weak one unless the communications makes sense. It’s the blind leading the blind if you can’t communicate clearly to your customers. Dollar Shave Club (sold for $1B) started out in a guy’s garage, with a single viral video with strong, focused, and strategic communications.
- Social – How are people talking about your brand? Is it good, bad, or ugly. Most often, in India, it’s ugly. People hate telecom, medical, local services, restaurants, and a handful of FMCG goods and services. It’s the truth. We assume that most companies are out to get us. We don’t trust any company unless we get a heavy 50% discount. Discounting leads to anti-social behaviour and makes “people” less relevant in the conversation about branding. I remember quite a few meetings where an Indian promoter would say – “Arey yaar, just dump a few monies in the promotion aspect and we’ll get a celebrity to endorse it on the packaging” Who would have known that a Yogi Baba would have more star power and social connection with the target audience than any Bollywood celebrity
- Connection – Now how deep is your love for your customers? Is it like the ocean, what devotion? – These are lyrics from a Calvin Harris song with more than 500M views online. What does that say to you as a brand? Connection. Yes! Does your brand connect with its audiences? Does a restaurant offer you, as a unique diner, an experience that touches your heart. Do you as a B2B Marketing manager, offer a sales strategy that not only makes your customer’s worries fade away but also makes it “talk-worthy” in the office lunch hour? I remember working with India’s leading hardware-tech company, and witnessing first-hand how our marketing services delighted them to an extent where we developed deep relationships with their team even after all these years. We connected on a core subject of brand-marketing and developed friendships that will extend each other’s lifetime value
- Relationship Development – Now that you’ve hooked them with one piece of content, how regularly do you post? How much hard work goes into connecting with sceptical consumers? Is your video a 20 second explainer or the CEO talking directly to that organization’s head of staff? It’s all about developing that relationship. Some call it CRM, I call it – RelDev. It enters every aspect of data-marketing, user-generated content, and UI/UX of websites, campaigns, and apps. How much does your user connect with your brand? How have you worked hard to develop a good relationship with that brand over the years. Is your QoQ all about the numbers, or have you taken the time to strategically interact with consumers from across the globe in webinars, presentations, tv ads, social media posts, or viral videos. What makes you “You” and how do “You” connect with your customers every day?
Online branding is simple really. And it involves a lot of time, effort and hard work. But at the end of the day, ask yourself this question – “How have I made an impact in the lives of my customers?” instead of – “What social media agency would make me the most amount of sales in the smallest budget”
It’s all about developing that relationship. Some call it CRM, I call it – RelDev. It enters every aspect of data-marketing, user-generated content, and UI/UX of websites, campaigns, and apps. How much does your user connect with your brand? How have you worked hard to develop a good relationship with that brand over the years. Is your QoQ all about the numbers, or have you taken the time to strategically interact with consumers from across the globe in webinars, presentations, tv ads, social media posts, or viral videos. What makes you “You” and how do “You” connect with your customers every day?
Written exclusively for Paul Writer.