On August 13, 2012, Google employee Saurabh Sharma announced on Google+ that they are taking the first step toward making custom/vanity URLs available. This Google+ announcement brought to mind the importance for companies to remember the importance of online branding.
As more businesses expand their offline brand to the online space via company websites, micro sites, landing pages, display advertising, paid search and social media, it is becoming crucial to identify a successful online branding strategy and to hold to it.
Maintaining brand consistency across online platforms requires some strategy. Here are four online branding concepts to take into consideration when building brand consistency across all online platforms.
1. Establish Your Brand’s Online Voice
Before you begin posting to your blog or social media accounts and meeting with your creative department to pow-wow on splash pages, take the time to determine:
- What is the message you want your audience to receive in your online interactions?
- What types of interactions do you want your consumers to have with your business online?
- Is what your brand says online consistent with how consumers experience your brand offline?
These basic questions will form the foundation for your brand’s online voice. Whether it is your onsite blog posts, status updates on Facebook or Google+, company tweets or paid search advertising, be sure that the tone and voice used is consistent with your brand.
2. Use Consistent and Easily Identifiable Imaging Online
The easiest way for consumers to identify your brand online is through images. If you don’t have consistent imaging online, you run the risk of consumers or your brand advocates finding and connecting with your brand online. If you can, make sure your logo is present in your online images.
Logos, fonts, tag lines and images consistently convey the tone, voice and image that your company wants to portray. Consumers should be able to instantly recognize your brand with the images that you use online. There should never be a question that this is a different company that just happens to bear the same name.
3. Keep Your Online Account Names as Similar As Possible
If your Facebook Fan page is listed as “HyperX, then try to keep your other online names the same if possible. If it’s not an option, try something as similar as possible. As discussed previously: Be sure to focus on the branding of the page and keeping the images and logo consistent.
4. Make This Question a Regular Checklist Item for Every Online Engagement: “Is this consistent with our brand?”
As you move forward with Social Media Marketing, Display Advertising or Landing Page creation, as an integral part of the creative brief process, honestly as the question: Is this online endeavor consistent with our brand? It takes time to build your brand offline. One out of character or “off-voice” online campaign can not only be fruitless, but it can also disparage your offline brand value in the eyes of your customers.
Online branding takes time, but as you focus on consistency in integrating both your offline and online branding efforts, the more prevalent your brand becomes in the mind of consumers. By presenting a consistent online persona, you build brand equity and are perceived as professional, consistent and potentially more trustworthy.