Saturday, July 13, 2019

Trends in 2019 for Digital Branding

Consistency is the basis of Digital Branding. The customer should receive your branded experience from your product descriptions to your customer service responses. Digital branding goes far beyond sticking on everything with your logo.

It's easy to get lost in the numbers in e-commerce, however, and forget the importance of making a good first impression.

The most important part of creating a good customer journey is to make a positive first impression. Your efforts to continue this experience through their purchasing journey are important, but without the hook of that initial good impression, it will be useless.

We will take you through some trends in digital branding that are having a real impact at the moment. Test them on your own. These trends will help keep your brand relevant throughout 2019 in the digital space.

Let's get there!

Who are Millennials? Think!

Millennials are people born between 1980 and 1995. They’re in their mid-twenties to late thirties. Most of them have responsible jobs and children. Their frivolous youth is over. The newest generation is Generation Z. People born between the mid-‘90s to the early ‘2000s. The oldest members of this generation are now in their early 20’s and have begun their first jobs. From this point on, their purchasing power will only increase. To accommodate this demographic, your brand will need to shift digital branding strategies.

Not only is this generation the most up-to-date with current trends and internet language, but it is also the first generation born in the digital age in which we have grown. When it comes to navigating and buying from online retailers, they are more knowledgeable and the fastest to spot a scam. You need transparency, a quick, easy-to-shop website, and a genuine story to tell to sell to this generation.

Build Customer Trust

Hacked accounts stories and online scams seem to only become more regular. Reassuring your customer base that you are a legitimate business is more important than ever.

It is essential to have a clear privacy policy. Include what you plan to do with any collected personal data.

Potential customers are always in search of any signs of dishonesty. In the beginning, anything you can do to reassure customers will result in a more enjoyable buying experience for them and more sales for you.

What could alarm your visitors? All possible suspects are your website design, sales copy, ad design, and even the quality of images or videos that you use to promote products. Moreover, visitors also look at customer feedback and how often you engage with your customers on social media.

Confidence used to matter only at the point of sale and the experience of buying. Now, customers can provide their feedback in real time, so at the moment they arise, you need to be ready to address concerns. A chat feature ready to answer questions with customer service advisors is a valuable asset to any 2019 e-commerce website.

Exercise Transparency

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are flooded with fake news. There are endless articles with click-bait headlines and ads stating “free product worth $20” when in reality $20 is added to the shipping costs that remain hidden until the last minute. This noise has trained users to be more and more unresponsive to anything that they think is too good to be true. It has also turned customers to trust individuals over faceless brands.

Successful brands have been noticed and are implementing digital branding and marketing tactics that highlight their brand's human aspect.

They speak to customers as friends rather than customers, responding with enthusiasm and kindness to their messages. Based on what your offer promised, you must be prepared to deliver exactly what your customers expect. Be honest with what you're offering. When telling customers what you need from them or what they should expect, don't hide any details.

E-commerce driven by Content

With social feeds being so noisy, it takes a lot more than a product image and a few emojis to make your offer stand out.

Many brands have started posting visually stunning content for their offer, going so far as to forgo the product itself. In Gary Vee’s book The Thank You Economy, he stresses the importance of front-end value, stating “nobody likes being sold to, but everyone loves buying.”

This is how most social media influencers are building huge successes and at the same time marketing their offers.

Ninety percent of these profiles are filled with related and amusing content and amazing photographs to captivate the viewer and attract them. For instance, take a travel account on Instagram, the visitor doesn't necessarily follow because they love each photo or want to visit each location. Rather, it is due to the overall consistency of the content of the page.

A good social account gives a value of 90 per cent and makes only 10 per cent of the time a sale or a request. This builds a relationship with followers and creates opportunities to be well-received asks for the future. Below is an example of a brand that provides value first clearly leaving MNCs far behind in India in terms of Brand value.

When Verghese Kurien “Father of the White Revolution” reluctantly took the job at the Government of India’s experimental creamery at Anand, Gujarat very little he knew that he will end up giving birth to Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and the brand Amul. Nor did he know that his contribution will give him the honour of being the “Milkman of India”.

The brand Amul has since then travelled far and wide breaking traversing across many boundaries and creating and breaking many records. One such boundary that Amul traversed across and made a new mark is marketing communication. The brand has created a new standard in marketing communication. Has it done the same with the social media, the new platform to engage the audience? How Amul fares on this frontier is what we are going to explore in this example.

Brand building and creating, nurturing, maintaining, and reinforcing brand awareness appears to the main objective of Amul’s social media participation. Through Social media, Amul strives to reinforce the top-of-mind brand recall by following the content-path set and led by Amul Butter, a subsidiary brand of Amul India.

The brand has also started to try influencing the product-usage scenarios/occasions (see the image below) to benefit from increased consumption in the category.

Amul on Facebook

Amul already had a winning content tool that its brand Amul Butter usage in print and outdoors, and at times on the web, so it was not very difficult for the brand to take the content leap on Facebook. The brand has simply appropriated the content it has been created for its butter.

Following in its butter’s footstep, the brand has become a canvas on which major news items that affect people at large is talked about (see the first two images below – The First image shows tribute to “Mr. Pran, we usually call him PraanSaab with respect”, an iconic actor of Indian Film Industry & the second image depicts a popular reality show - “Nach Baliye” on Indian television). This has led to a significant boost in the level of engagement for each post (see the third image).

In total, the brand has over 10-lakh fans, of which a little above 27,000 is actively engaged with the page, a number which keeps on going up and falling down, and at times it has gone very low. Even when the brand has dropped in engagement, the overall picture is not bleak. If you compare pages from India which had 10 lakhs or more fans, you will see that per fan engagement of the brand is much higher than the rest.

Using in-depth knowledge of their buyers to create banks of content they know will attract them to follow, no need to push the products.

Community Building

Most of the consumers you will reach are looking for a product to help them solve a problem or improve an area of their lives. Usually, the sale ends with the solution being provided by us. The best we can hope for is that we provided the customer with a good enough experience to return.

They're going to leave a positive review if we're lucky. In 2019, however, successful brands are not willing to end the relationship there.

It's easier to convert returning customers than new prospects. Brand awareness removes most of a buyer's hesitation when buying a new item, and knowledge of the product can help to solidify their "need" to purchase it.

So why don't all this roll into one place where new and old buyers can come together to help each other? Where can they make friends with like-minded people who can interact directly with the brand they love? A community is an answer...

Alone in the past year, membership of the Facebook Group has risen by 40% to 1.4 billion people. More than half of the massive user base of Facebook now use groups on a monthly basis. Of these, 200 million people belong to so-called "significant groups," considered to be a vital part of the daily lives of users. Mark Zuckerberg said within five years he would like to see 1 billion users in "significant" groups. With business page dropping and Mark Zuckerberg championing groups himself, it is probably time for all companies to look at opening up their own groups.

Your brand can establish itself as an authority in your niche by starting a Facebook group. A community can be spread across social media, but communities are provided with great homes by Facebook groups.

Responding to questions in your group in real time builds trust as well as an emotional connection to your brand.

Giving customers a place to exchange information and tips on how to use your product better creates a community— a family that is host to your brand name.

A verified customer's praise is the best marketing you can have. Amazon reviews are all the evidence for this statement that we need. Word-of-mouth can make or break a business, hence provide everyone with the best customer experience they’ve ever had.

Digital branding is never ‘done’

Most of these trends have been used to some extent for years by companies outside of e-commerce, but are only now catching on with retailers. Don’t worry if you’ve not done any of the things we have just gone through, you have time to evolve your brand.

The one thing that all the best examples of digital branding have in common is that they never stand still. The ever-changing environment online means brands that fail to change, quickly die.

Trust your knowledge of your niche, trust your gut, and above anything else – trust your customers. They will tell you what they want. You just need to ask, listen and change.

Take what you’ve learned here and build your brand into the caring and knowledgeable brand you know it to be. Customers will appreciate the extra effort and repay you for doing so.

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