Brand equity isn’t dead; perception still matters in the digital age

Branding

We live in a fast paced world, where brands compete against one another to push out new content, engage with their customers at a higher rate, and increase brand awareness. A constant exchange of information between brands and audiences is happening every minute of every hour of every day.

The most important thing to remember is that, just like in the real world, every interaction we have with our customers becomes an experience, and that experience can change their opinion of our brand, for better or worse.

Yes, in this article we’re going to be talking about perception. When purchasing a product or service in-store each individual customer is going to experience something different. Online, consumers have the power to change, enhance or even destroy a brand’s reputation in a single tweet or Facebook post.

On average, digital consumers spend 2 hours and 13 minutes a day on social media, and so it follows that brands are putting more effort into increasing their brand presence online. As we noted in our article on Why social media is still the heart of digital marketing, “Social media is gaining popularity as a search engine for products and services. Over the past few months we’ve seen top platforms like Instagram and Snapchat launch new features which allow brands to tag products in posts and link to e-commerce sites directly.” The demand for better brand positioning online increases day by day, and it’s something we all need to be aware of.

Digital vs. Traditional Media Consumption, GWI (2017, Q1)

If social media is the heart of marketing, brand positioning is the heart of a solid brand strategy. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about traditional or digital media consumption, brand positioning should always be your first consideration when devising a strategy for consumer experience delivery.

Ask yourself, are you on top of your digital brand positioning? More importantly, have you done enough to sure that your message is aligned with your brand strategy?

How can you make the most of digital brand positioning?

Let’s be frank, nobody really cares about brands anymore. People only care about that which impacts their lives directly; whether that is a person, a rumour, or occasionally even a brand.

Brands are in the midst of a credibility crisis; it’s a sign of the times. The less creative we are, the harder it is to make an impact on our audience. Investing in creativity results in better brand recall and, consequently, increased profitability. The digital world is our oyster, there is no excuse for a lack of creativity, and there’s no excuse for failing to base your brand positioning strategy on data-driven insights. You can’t always control how an individual perceives your brand, but you can influence perception through engaging brand experiences both online and offline.

That said, the process of establishing brand reputation is not linear. First you have to ask yourself what it is your organisation stands for? What’s your core purpose, what are your commercial objectives? How does your organisation provide value?

Understanding your brand is the key to establishing a good relationship with the consumer and generating brand value.

Brand equity

Above is a visualisation of the Customer Based Brand Equity Model. Following this model we can segment the process of building a strong brand presence into four steps:

  1. Establishing brand identity
  2. Establishing meaning and value
  3. Eliciting a positive response
  4. Forging a positive relationship with the customer

Brand Equity forms the foundation on which we build brand reputation. It helps us to reinforce a more positive perception of our brand and demonstrate brand value through assets that are both tangible and intangible. The ability to measure brand equity reveals to us a myriad of potential business outcomes, and gives us a better idea of how our brand is performing online. For a more in depth introduction to the brand equity model, check out our Rebel Thinking article on How to create a brand analytics model’.

Measuring brand equity across social media can help you to better understand how well your brand is performing online. It’s a yardstick with which brands can assess the progress of their brand-building efforts, and a guide for initiatives involving marketing research.

With your brand’s reputation in the hands of an audience with access to social media, TripAdvisor and dark social platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, building and maintaining better brand positioning online is more important than ever.

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