People typically equate a company’s brand with the company’s logo. But a brand is much more than a stylized name: It is a primary symbol of an organization’s purpose, vision and values. Indeed, the act of branding represents a strategic endeavor that encompasses a range of corporate functions—marketing, public relations, and customer service, not the least, among them.
Branding also includes the way employees present their company to its various constituencies, whether intentionally through the communication of key messages or incidentally through everyday emails, social-media engagement and phone conversations.
Digital’s Impact on Branding
Before the advent of digital technology, buyers in both the business-to-consumer (B-to-C) and the business-to business (B-to-B) space would be open to receiving sales communications from a number of brand ambassadors. They may have been exposed to messages pushed to them from dozens of companies, clients, or products from which they could reduce the pool of realistic choices to those offerings that were closely aligned with their needs.
Marketing and other communications professionals relied on this traditional “funnel” approach, and reached out to their prospects and audiences at specific intervals in the selling cycle—most often at the point of “consideration.” The ball was essentially in the seller’s court.
Things are very different today. “Consumers in both the B-2-C and the B-2-B markets still want a clear brand promise and offerings they value. What has changed is when—at what touch points—they are most open to influence, and how you can interact with them at those points,” David C. Edelman states in this Harvard Business Review article. “In the past,” Edelman explains, “marketing strategies that put the lion’s share of resources into building brand awareness and then opening wallets at the point of purchase worked pretty well. But touch points have changed in both number and nature, requiring a major adjustment to realign marketers’ strategies and budgets with where consumers are actually spending their time.” He goes on to suggest that consumers are now most open to influence at the “evaluate” stage and not at the “consider” stage.
Read more about digital’s impact on branding and learn six tips to help optimize your branding efforts in this month’s BurrellesLuce newsletter.