Branding is sometimes hard to separate from advertising and marketing. Although it is all under the same umbrella of external communications, some differentiation can and should be made between them so you can strategically put them to work for your business. Branding deals most closely with the image of a company and how it is being portrayed to the audience and various publics the company has. There are three simple facets to branding that a company wants to make sure they concentrate on in all their messaging for branding goals: (a) name/who they are, (b) what they do/product category, (c) core message (tag line/motto) what separates them from the competition. These are elements that surely are integrated into other forms of communication that the company engages in, however, together they are the essentials in this process.
When a company is looking to brand themselves, they need exposure from off-site locations to push traffic to the site. Concentrating online for this is key and social media is truly essential here. Additionally, integrating in PR efforts establishing media placements is becoming increasingly important. First, let's look at social media for this, although social media is an extension of the company's website, it plays an integral role as each new account presents an opportunity to widen exposure. Companies using social media in coordinated marketing strategies or simply on their own accord can and should make an effort to concentrate on these elements in their branding:
- Authenticity - marketers need to prioritize transparency in their online writings for the company and across the various platforms. How the accounts of the company and its employees look and operate reflects back on their image and certainly branding. Things need to be what they appear on the platforms.
- Consistency - content and engagement needs to be kept up because strong companies engage and post regularly without long breaks. Significant breaks reflect stretched staffing, disorganization, and carelessness. The reality is that this can occur easily if the social posting is not made a priority and other activities take precedence, sometimes understandably so, but consistency suffers, and with it brand credibility.
- Quality - the value that marketers give in their posts and writings is also paramount. This has always been the case, but when you are using social media for branding, you need to make sure that every post the company is tied to is compelling and of a high quality.
Further, as Google's "Search, Plus Your Word" feature, social information will be of increased importance from here on out as the information that companies put on their social accounts will get greater exposure in the results pages of Google.
This operates much in the same way with PR efforts. If company executives and experts have unique insight into the industry and can provide in-demand commentary drawing from their years of experience, then they can be pitched to the media to discuss various tips or perspectives of developments in the industry. This adds credibility to the individuals themselves and the company as a whole.
For more information on branding, check back on our blog as it is a subject we touch on quite often, or reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen(at)webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.