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4 Questions about Branding in the Digital Age

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Recently our CEO Nicole Skuba gave a guest lecture for New Media Strategies, a course in the e-Marketing Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Virginia School of Continued and Professional Studies. Her subject: “Branding in a New Media Environment & Online Reputation Management.” As part of the branding process, Nicole encourages businesses to take a few steps back and ask themselves a series of questions when it comes to branding.

1. Why do we do what we do?

The popular TED talk on “What, How, Why” has a lot of businesses asking themselves some tough questions…and for good reason. Businesses can explain what they do, in terms of their product or service. They usually can explain how they do it—their methodology. But how many can clearly explain why they do what they do? (Hint: this is a way of using storytelling in your brand). Communicating that “why” to your target audience is how you build your brand and successfully make connections.

2. Who is our target audience?

Defining the target is the most important step of any marketing endeavor. Ask yourself:
Who is the ideal customer? What customers do you not want? Who are the decision makers? Identifying your target audience by gender, age, web browsing habits, and more can help businesses refine their branding. Can your “why” resonate with your audience?

3. How can we reach our target audience?

You have your “why” and your “who.” So how do you communicate that “why” to your audience? The answer is social media. With it you can:

  • Reach targets on their own turf.
  • Build brand awareness.
  • Generate links back to your website, helping SEO.
  • Develop relationships with your targets.
  • Increase thought leadership through blogging.

4. What are the best social media outlets to reach our audience?

You know that “social media” is a big, big term. Time for your business to do some homework. What social media outlets should you use? First, you can simply see what social media networks have the biggest reach.

  1. Facebook–900,000,000 users
  2. Twitter–310,000,000 users
  3. Pinterest–250,000,000 users
  4. LinkedIn–225,000,000 users
  5. Google+ -120,000,000 users
  6. Tumblr–110,000,000 users
  7. Instagram–100,000,000 users

(These are “The Most Popular Social Networking Sites April 2015” as derived from the eBizMBARank which is a continually updated average of each website’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.)

But sheer numbers may not be enough. Knowing your target audience, you can research the best social media for reaching them. Here are some data snapshots according to the Pew Research Center to show you how you can refine your aim:

  • LinkedIn reaches more users in the 30-64 age group, and 50% of college graduates.
  • 43% of women online use Pinterest.
  • 53% of young adults ages 18-29 now use Instagram.

Knowing hard facts about social media can help you advertise and post much more effectively.

Building your brand starts with asking questions and doing your research. If you can explain your “why” and identify your “who,” the “how” and “what” of social media, marketing will quickly follow. With this information in mind, your business can share your “why” with your target audience in the right places. Learn more about our branding services  if you’re rethinking your business’ branding.