Branding is Branding, Offline or Online

My post about branding on Monday got me thinking more about branding.  Many of our clients get very concerned about what they should do for online branding. I don’t think online branding and offline branding should be treated as different types of branding. Here’s why…

You may think you don’t have an online brand.

Even if you don’t have a business website or an online branding strategy, you probably already have an online brand.  With publishing online being open to anyone these days, your customers are probably already talking about you online.  You might be surprised what you find with a google search or two.

You are no longer sole keeper of your brand.

Because it is so easy for people to communicate and write online, your customers can say whatever they want to whoever they want about your company and products.  Especially for expensive business products and services, people are likely to turn to co-workers and associates for opinions during purchasing decisions.

Offline branding impacts online branding (and vice versa).

Whatever you do offline affects your online brand (and vice versa), so managing online and offline should be part of one branding strategy.  Keep both in mind while putting together branding and marketing strategies.  All offline branding campaigns should include website addresses (preferably unique landing pages for tracking purposes).  Use online branding to

Your brand is constantly evolving.

With online and offline branding feed off each other, your brand is now in a continuous evolution.   Understanding how your brand is evolving should be part of your tactical, daily plans, so you can be a part of the evolution process.

The speed of change is increasing.

It used to be that you would have days to strategize PR to combat negative branding offline.  Now, you need to respond quickly online, even if it just to say that you’re listening to concerns and will address them soon.  Lack of response = negative branding.

The best way to approach online and offline branding is in one overall branding and marketing strategy because they are so intertwined.  Viewing them together will present opportunities for positive branding influence and keep you out of trouble.

What are your experiences with branding? Please share in the comments below.

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