Branding in a Digital World
The world around us is changing, and recently faster than most can keep up with. A new era of digital natives who were born in the advent of digital technology, only seem to know the instantaneous gratification that comes through the use of smartphones, tablets and VR headsets. Due to the overwhelming array of stimuli that emerging technologies deliver to the consumer, this generation is becoming desensitised and grabbing their attention takes more effort than ever before. But more than catching passing eyes, it is now about interaction. Because of this, branding is evolving alongside the digital world, both for businesses and consumers.
A brand’s tone-of-voice is more important than ever. Consistency in your online and offline marketing is vital for people to know who you are at a glance – because a glance is all you will get. In a design and advertising world, the consumer has gone from making choices to making micro-choices – ‘Do I click on this link?’ or ‘Do I follow this page?’. These choices mirror the concentration level of social media – we are losing to our now retentive friend, the goldfish. The ability to scroll, swipe and tap our way through life means we have less time to take in an image on our Facebook feed than we do information on a billboard as we drive past. What we say and how we say it now needs to be minimal and impactful. Say it well, say it quickly and say it often.
A consumer can interact with your brand directly, which means they have a voice and can easily make it heard. But so do you. In our digital world, interactions are no longer just transactions. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking social media is a sales tool. It is not. It is a conversational tool. You talk with a person, not at people. Consumers do not follow a product, they follow a brand. They believe in an idea and interact with those who share that idea. The ability for a person to directly engage with brands and celebrities at the touch of a button gives a sense of immediacy and, at times, entitlement. Just like the real world, if someone takes the time to talk with you, they should not be ignored. You engage, answer the question and leave them with a positive tale to tell.
This wave of digital media has brought upon an interesting change in the corporate world – you now need to be human first and a business second. Your brand and your message has to reach people on an individual basis, not the masses. Social media as a platform has dictated a more personal approach from companies. People prefer dealing with people – even through a screen. Individual interactions with consumers via Twitter, Facebook etc. is the new ‘word-of-mouth’. Good or bad, these interactions have the potential to spread and reach further than any paid campaign.
Paul Wade is a Senior Graphic Designer at Fuzion Communications with almost a decade of experience in branding for small and large businesses and is currently undertaking a Masters in Digital Marketing.