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Digital Branding Fundamentals Entrepreneurs Can't Live Without Having a recognizable brand is the first step in establishing trust with customers. Here's how to do it right.
Brands have mere seconds to capture a person's attention online. As if that wasn't difficult enough, how people perceive your brand will determine whether those people trust you and stick around. Online shoppers don't typically spend their money with just anyone, so getting your branding right from the start is key for success.
No one knows this better than Carolyn Chen, founder and CEO of Reset Beauty, a Toronto-based portfolio company on a mission to hit reset on the beauty industry. Chen says she plans on doing this by challenging generations-old standards with digital brand strategies that connect with modern consumers and promote inclusivity, diversity, and fun. Last year, Reset Beauty launched two in-house digital beauty brands: Orosa Beauty, a nail polish brand, and Vesca Beauty, a cosmetics brand. Both are vegan and cruelty-free.
"Strong digital branding and identity help you become top of mind for consumers and build a team of advocates who organically share your brand and products with their networks," Chen says. "It's an opportunity to share your brand story and values with potential customers from all over the world and build an engaging community of individuals with shared interests and values."
At the core of creating a strong digital presence is a company's name and domain. That's why Reset Beauty went with a .inc domain. "We took a forward-thinking approach to our domain and went with .inc because it's incredibly important to secure a good domain name early on," Chen says. "In comparison to the other options available, we felt that .inc allowed us to establish a sense of legitimacy when communicating with potential vendors and business partners and this has had a meaningful impact for us. "
Here, Chen shares her best advice for creating a digital brand that resonates with customers.
Establish and communicate your brand story and values.
Consumers are constantly being exposed to new brands every day. Having a domain name that is easy to understand and immediately communicates your brand is a big first step. "With Reset Beauty, the word reset is key to our brand messaging," Chen says. "Securing the domain name reset.inc allows us to easily communicate this messaging to anyone that encounters the brand without any confusion from additional words or characters in the domain name."
To further stand out from the competition, it's important to share what makes your brand unique and different. Clearly communicating your brand values, product development approach, and your tone of voice across channels is critical, Chen says.
With Orosa Beauty, for example, the company leverages owned content and authentic user-generated content on Instagram Stories that highlight product features such as quick to dry, high-shine, and long-wearing. "We also feature customer takeover videos speaking to the ease of painting their nails at home with Orosa polishes," Chen says.
Build a community and engage in conversation with customers.
The idea is to create a strong base of ambassadors to help your brand scale its digital marketing reach through user-generated content, positive brand reviews, and referrals to friends, family and your customer's audiences. "This helps build a sustainable growth trajectory through reduced customer acquisition costs," Chen says.
From unboxing the product, to how your customers use the product, to how they interact with your brand via customer service, there are countless touchpoints for customers to share their experience online and over social media. "We make sure our customers know how much we appreciate this by engaging and sharing their content on our channels," Chen says. "This strategy has allowed us to develop valuable relationships with people who have become loyal brand ambassadors.
Tailor your content across channels.
It's important to understand how your audience consumes content differently across channels to ensure you are engaging with your audience in the most effective manner. For example, short-form video content works great on TikTok and on Instagram Stories; however, someone signing up to your email newsletter is most likely looking for announcements, blog content, or discounts, Chen advises.
"You do not want to lose audience interest by posting and sending uninteresting content," she says. "If each platform is used in an effective way, you will create brand awareness, build a loyal audience base that actively engages with your content, and generate conversion on your product or service."
Each piece of content you create should accomplish a goal, such as fueling follower growth, engagement, conversion, brand education, etc., Chen says. Invest time in researching the general formats that perform well on the various channels and pay attention to what competitors are doing for an idea of what could perform well. You'll want to create a tailored content strategy for each platform and test different strategies to see what is working and what isn't, Chen says. "Reevaluate and adapt," she says. "Social media is constantly changing, and your content strategies will need to evolve in order to stay exciting and relevant."
At the same time, make sure your branding is consistent.
While customizing content to different channels and audiences is important, maintaining your branding across all platforms is paramount.
"It's crucial to establish a recognizable experience for new and returning customers, no matter where they encounter your brand," Chen says. "Having visual elements beyond your logo that capture the spirit of your brand allows you to break through the noise and capture your audience's attention." These elements go beyond your logo. They can include a background color, a texture, the way a product is photographed, or even a tone of voice.
Having a clear, recognizable domain name is also fundamental to having a consistent branding strategy. With one of the traditional domains, "we could have potentially had to add extra characters or words [to the domain] that might have confused the brand-name recognition," Chen says. ".Inc helped us secure a short, memorable naming that makes communicating with potential partners and vendors a lot easier and also legitimized our business from the start."
Click here to learn more about getting started with a .inc domain and getting your website recognized today.