The whole wide world exists online. At least, that’s how it feels in the adult industry, which tends to thrive in the more private, underground spaces the internet provides. As brand managers, we don’t often choose to kick off our marketing campaigns with huge billboards in residential neighborhoods or full page ads in mainstream national newspapers. The digital sphere is the first and sometimes final stop for our branding initiatives.
Branding in the digital sphere has almost limitless potential. In fact, we’re sometimes spoiled for choice by the blank canvas the internet provides. When leading branding initiatives, do we concentrate on a social media push? Do we take out ad space? Blog? SEO? All of the above? Something else entirely? It’s easy to feel paralyzed by these choices, or to make the mistake of diluting our brand image by trying to fill each space simply for the sake of filling it.
Become familiar with the overall trend for digital marketing in your particular corner of the industry and let it inform the architecture of your campaign. Then, once you are standing on solid ground, you can let your unique voice and message define your space.
That’s why, no matter which online tools we use to communicate our brand, it’s essential to have a firm understanding of certain core values that will ground your branding initiative in success.
Know what you’re selling and what the brand represents. It seems obvious, but consumers can spot empty, meaningless fluff from a mile away. All the snazzy graphics, expensive ad space and inventive giveaways won’t work if you aren’t able to create a connection between your branding message and the more tangible aspects of your product or company. Who are you? Why will people enjoy what your product offers? Once you know yourself inside and out, you will have an easier time permanently cementing your brand in the digital sphere.
Learn the rules before you break them. Many marketing managers think introducing a new branding initiative means trying to break the mold right out of the gate to make as big of a splash as possible in order to put themselves on the map. Creating buzz with an inventive, even reactionary campaign is always a good thing. It’s just as important, however, especially when establishing a new initiative, to create a framework that will sustain the brand long into the future. Become familiar with the overall trend for digital marketing in your particular corner of the industry and let it inform the architecture of your campaign. Then, once you are standing on solid ground, you can let your unique voice and message define your space.
Be authentic. Authenticity is the one thing that can’t be faked, which can be intimidating. Luckily, all brand initiatives are driven by actual people. These people are often the most important resource a brand manager has when establishing themselves online. Let your humanity shine through. Express your brand with genuine enthusiasm, interest and curiosity. It will be infectious. When you are jazzed about your product or company, other people will be too. A foundation of authenticity driven by real human emotion is invaluable in making your brand stand out from the crowd and in creating a long-lasting connection with your consumers.
Do you know your audience? I mean, really know them, beyond general demographics like age and location? Have you asked them who they are as individuals? A successful branding initiative should create a connection with an audience by starting a conversation. Don’t use your voice just to announce your brand with repetitive, one-way communication. Instead, discuss who you are and give your audience the space to respond. This will give them the opportunity to be a part of your brand. If there’s one thing people love talking about more than anything else, it’s themselves! If they can talk about themselves and your brand in the same breath, you’ve created an organic dialogue that will carry your brand further than you could ever reach on your own.
With all the communication tools available, and the many places online available to establish a branded presence, the details of a successful online branding initiative will look different for every product or company. Everyone can start on the same solid footing by engaging in a set of best practices that will keep your campaign grounded and primed for success.
Laura Burton-Bloom is the senior copywriter for premier performer community ManyVids.com, where she helps drive successful digital branding initiatives.