Updating Approaches to Online Branding in the Digital World

Updating Approaches to Online Branding in the Digital World

The Brand is Paramount.

First, I’d like to begin with a bold statement: For businesses and organizations, the online brand is the most crucial element. When you consider what online branding actually entails—a carefully established position, a series of customer promises, and an overall experience based on communication and service—failing to deliver on these promises and what a brand stands for leads to failure.

In today’s digital landscape, robust online branding enables a closer connection with prospective customers, leading to increased conversions and retention.

Without a strong online brand, businesses will face decreased competitiveness, inaccessible products and services, customer confusion, and dissatisfaction. Since your online brand appears in all customer touchpoints, saying it is everything is hardly an exaggeration.

What is Online Branding?

Today’s online brand identity is shaped by websites, search marketing, mobile content, social media, rich media, e-commerce, email marketing, and more.

If you’re seeking marketing solutions to bring your brand online or to enhance your existing digital ROI, you’ve come to the right place. Our marketing tools and templates are designed to help you develop a winning marketing strategy that supports your business goals and increases your brand’s revenue.

Furthermore, all our marketing strategy resources are integrated across our RACE Framework, ensuring that your strategic planning and channel tactics deliver the results you need to achieve your objectives. Download your free digital marketing plan template to discover how your brand could benefit from using RACE.

Introducing the RACE Framework for Brands

Online branding marketers who prioritize customer experiences at the heart of their strategy understand its importance for brand awareness, conversion, and loyalty. Our popular RACE Framework excels in its ability to plan and streamline marketing activities around your customers’ omnichannel journey.

Integrated across a 5-step lifecycle of planning, reaching, acting, converting, and engaging, our proven structure enables branding marketers to plan, manage, and optimize their marketing strategies.

A Digital-centric Approach to Branding

In this article, I aim to breakdown the major components that comprise a typical brand proposition and explain, in the context of each, why online considerations and experiences must be central to how the brand delivers on its promises.

Key Online Branding Factors


In the branding process, it all starts with the customer; taking into account a myriad of factors from age and gender to disposable income, through to their estimated frequency of purchase. Identifying how the online brand can increase awareness through digital channels these customers frequently use and engage with presents both an opportunity and a challenge.

Customers often have a multi-channel digital footprint. It’s crucial to determine what these customers will search for, what devices they’ll be using, and when, as well as which social networks, websites, and apps they engage with, how often, and when.

Don’t overlook offline experiences either. For instance, in retail, a customer might call to get location and opening hours, drive and park at the location, enter a store or warehouse, use a ramp or lift (if catering to disabilities), get help from staff, find their way to what they need, locate a product within their price range to meet their expectations, access the checkout, make a purchase effectively, and leave safely and securely. You might also be able to easily inquire, return items, and receive postal or telephone communications.

Brand Identity

For some, this marks the beginning and end of brand identity. A logo is a visual marker for a brand. Of course, there’s much more to it, but it’s true that it instantly connects customers with brands. It can spark interest, curiosity, affinity, and connections.

Over time, it becomes an ingrained image representing your consumer experience. An identity that conveys an emotion or a state of mind based on your perception or any positive or negative experiences you may have had.

A hugely important factor in identity is naming. In Digital Marketing, this impacts search the most.

Knowing the name is one thing, but if it’s difficult to spell or remember, it can be as disastrous as having an underground store only accessible via a top-secret road.

Also, the identity often forms the URL, and users will, of course, search for this too if they’ve heard of you offline. Making your brand name memorable and, ideally, if it contains the keywords your potential customers will use, then it will aid SEO as the URL string is an important ranking factor.

Another key factor is how the identity stands out in a multi-platform crowded experience. Our bookmarks, tab favicons on our web pages, web apps on our browser, image results for search, and also our mobile app icons should make everyone think about how the identity performs and connects on each platform. Importantly, we must now consider how it has the flexibility to be changed to “retrofit” these locations and still be easily recognizable.

Facebook is a great example of how its distinctive “Blue F” and like “thumbs up” icon works well alongside or in isolation from the Facebook logo, making it perfect for a multi-platform approach.


Competitor analysis is a key part of the brand process to differentiate image, messaging, and approach. Digital channels and their transparency allow this analysis to be conducted more thoroughly than ever before. From searching online, trying out apps, experiencing website UX, and subscribing to their emails, competitor analysis has never been more open and accessible.

More than ever, insights can be gained to learn what they offer, how they communicate, what the experience is like, and where they focus customer and product attention online.

This competitor analysis can provide key insights into factors such as:

  • The social networks they should occupy and focus on
  • The competitiveness for key search terms among competitors
  • The content strategy employed to deliver more relevance
  • Online Value Propositions, a business can commit to that are better or different from those of the competition.
  • Identifying a strategic and unique gap a business can occupy and begin to monopolize based on a customer-benefiting digital application
  • All brands must be aware that they are being watched, monitored, and ultimately driving a competitor response based on the transparency of the digital world. Prices are being matched, tweets are being scanned, and websites are being trawled through. But brands can compete, with the right resources and tactics.