Around 7 years ago I had a personal Executive Coach to help me work through some of my professional challenges. In one of our first conversations he asked me a simple question. What is your personal brand? It sounded a bit too simple but I struggled to find a suitable response. Sensing the long silence and my struggle in trying to find a suitable answer, my Coach generously added another simple question. How would you describe Brand Anand?
This was my unique introduction to the world of marketing. Today if people would ask you what is your digital brand? Some of us could rattle out that we are on Linked In, Twitter and Facebook. Not good enough. What is your followership on Twitter, what connections on Linked In, are you a blogger, how many read your blogs, what kind of topics do you write on, who comments, what do they write & how many comment, etc. Many of these contribute to determining your digital brand.
From the question of firstly recognizing what is my brand to the question what is my digital brand, the one thing in common is branding. The method of growing your brand has changed significantly. Digital plays a big role today’s world.
We are all surrounded by brands in terms of products, services and people. Yes, people are also brands unto themselves. We are all consumers of different brands every living moment of our lives. In a 24 hours day, what activity consumes most of our time? For working professionals like myself, I am online (on internet) for around 10–12 hours a day. All the other time, I have this gadget called mobile, which keeps me glued on to it (off & on) till I go to bed. The same may be true for many of you. Now when the consumer is online, where should your brand be? The obvious answer is your brand should be where the consumer is. Therefore it should be online too.
Here is where the title question becomes pertinent, how digital is your brand? Before you find a suitable answer to this question, you may wish to explore should my brand be digital in the first place? If your target customer is someone who is all the time online, similar to people like me then you bet your brand needs to be online, if it has get noticed by people like me. So far it appears very logical. The more complex question is in the how? How can my brand be digital?
Most companies and people do not have a digital marketing strategy. Their websites are not SEO optimized, their value proposition is not clearly articulated using key words, their website images are not unique (may have been picked up from a free library), they do not reflect on page 1 of Google or Bing when searched, etc. The area of digital marketing, which helps establish your digital brand is a science in itself. It requires a concerted effort for a marketer to think through What, Why and how one would like to position one’s brand in the online space.
You can build your own digital brand and so can your company brands be digital. It however requires you to not assume you understand digital but learn how a digital brand is built? There are numerous online digital marketing certification courses available which equip you with a deeper and sound understanding of how to go digital, defining your digital strategy, building a digital brand and improving your reach across your target customer base. Make use of the opportunity to learn the science and deploy an effective digital marketing strategy to build your brand.
A student once proudly told me in an interview at a B-School that he was a big brand digitally and had 2000+ Linked In connections and many of them where senior industry leaders. I got curious and asked him — How many of these leaders follow you on Twitter?
It is important for each of us to think, what is our brand and what is our digital brand? May be helpful to try to learn what it means vs. assume we know what it means. Do give it some thought.