In a world where customers seamlessly jump between the on and offline worlds, your digital brand needs to work harder than ever before. One of the main challenges global organisations now face is how to position their brand successfully in a rapidly changing digital space.
Digital, whether we like it or not, is the main channel through which organisations reach mass audiences, and — as such — is a key part of any brand identity. As a result, the digital manifestation of a brand needs to be addressed either in parallel with (or even before) the offline application of the brand.
However, despite the digital evolution, companies still tend to think about their brand execution primarily in terms of billboards, newspapers, TV ads and digital afterwards. As a response to the frustration of guidelines that don’t cover how a brand should be adapted for use on digital channels, digital agencies started a new service line: ‘digital branding’.
ORM has considerable expertise in this area, having helped to define the how GWR, Aviva Investors, M&G and Artemis, amongst others, should communicate their brands in the digital space. This includes not only how the brand looks online but also what it says, how it says it and its key points of difference.
Here are some questions that will test the digital readiness of your guidelines:
- Do your guidelines mention digital? If it’s somewhere near the back of the document, alarm bells should ring
- Is the tone of voice defined for the digital space? Do the guidelines have a section on writing for digital?
- Have you defined the rational and emotional benefits of your brand you want to communicate on your digital destinations. Do you have a digital brand pyramid?
- Is the role of images, video and illustration for online use specified in your brand guidelines?
‘Digital branding’ and ‘brand’ are not two different entities. However, it’s important to create a cohesive brand experience that works across all channels. Some businesses are more prepared than others to think digitally, yet they will need the support when it comes to identifying rules for image styles, iconography, video and, let’s not forget, an accessible colour palette.
There is also the temptation to consider brand as little more than colours, font, image selection and logo. Digitally, the reality is so much more complex. From the way your digital products interact and engage users, from animations upon a tactile button press to the way elements on the page load; this is how users interpret your brand on new platforms. It is these micro-interactions that tell your brand story in the digital space.
It is therefore best to engage with a digital firm and brand agency together during the brand definition phase. At ORM, this is the approach we take with our clients, and it is proving a much more efficient way of creating a successful brand experience.