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Top 5 Rules for Branding Digitally

April 5, 2013

brand digitally

Branding online has its own rules. You can’t simply dump your content from other sources into other formats and expect them to succeed. Here are the top 5 rules for branding digitally:

  1. Insight Comes Before Inspiration. The most successful digital initiatives typically don’t start with the idea for a cool new digital experience. Instead, they start with consumer insights culled from painstaking research into who your customers are, what they’re all about, how they interact with consumer technologies, and what they want from the brands they know and trust.
  2. Don’t Repurpose, Reimagine. Creating multiplatform strategies that connect with audiences where they live doesn’t just mean posting television spots on YouTube in the hopes they go viral. In a medium where the possibilities are endless, television is the jumping off point to much more interactive and engaging experiences. You’ve got to invent new ways to help your customers make your brand their own.
  3. Don’t Just Join the Conversation—Spark It. If you want to be part of the conversation on social networking sites, be the party that initiates it—through compelling experiences that keep customers talking.
  4. Tell Your Story. Your brand is a story; tell it. Don’t just sell product; sell the problem it solves, the feeling it gives, the status it conveys, or the value it embodies. But beware of pushing to transform your brand’s website into an “entertainment portal” simply for entertainment’s sake. In the on-demand era, the best branded entertainment experiences are P-O-S-itive—that is: personalizable, ownable, and sharable.
  5. Want Control? Give It Away. “User-generated content” (UGC) might not be cutting edge but it’s a big-time buzz builder. Young consumers, especially adolescent males, seem more than happy to create their own video ads to upload on YouTube and email to friends. How do you give away control while simultaneously getting what you want? Ensure rewards for making UGC promote your brand, rather than mock or bash it.

Adapted with permission from THE ON-DEMAND BRAND: 10 Rules for Digital Marketing Success in an Anytime, Everywhere World by Rick Mathieson (AMACOM).

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About The Author

RICK MATHIESON (San Francisco, Calif.) is a leading voice on marketing in the digital age. Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge calls him “a strategic marketing expert.” His insights have been featured in ADWEEK, Advertising Age, Wired, Broadcasting & Cable and on MSNBC, CBS Radio and NPR. A regularly featured speaker at industry events, Mathieson also serves as vice president and creative director for Creative i Advertising & Interactive Media, and is the author of Branding Unbound.

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