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How to build a brand online

How to build a brand online

Heritage brands have met the challenges of the digital age by producing websites and online offerings. But in this new age of unparalleled opportunities, is it possible to build a brand solely online?

We put the question to the UTalkMarketing Editorial Board to gague their thoughts: Paul Mead, Managing Director of VCCP Search; Christy Stewart-Smith, Consultant to AMV BBDO; and Toby Roberts, Head of Strategy, OMD UK.

Paul: Google’s a great example and there are lots of others as well who have grown with no traditional marcomms. The brands that are meant for the digital space succeed in that digital space. So, for example, a men’s moisturiser wouldn’t work whereas a price comparison service would.

Christy: The only variables are product quality and time scale. The question is how long you want it to take you.

Toby: What is all comes back to is the product and how it reflects in the key values of the brand? What exactly does that mean? What are you trying to sell? These elements determine what channels you should use.

Paul: You don’t have to take your marketing to the streets anymore. You can easily set up a Facebook action group or blog. A lot of major companies are missing the point of reputation management. They’re not monitoring it. They don’t have a strategy in place for it.

Toby: It can be incredibly positive as well though. Look at the man behind the Moleskin brand who went and asked Facebook groups what they thought about the brand before he bought it.

Paul: One of the great things about the social web and digital space is that it can serve as a barometer of public opinion. It’s like listening into a conversation and hearing what they really think about your brand.

Christy: I don’t think people have really got that yet. They don’t really understand that if they employ someone to tap into these channels, that they really work and have an affect. If they did get it, they’d be a lot more active. It’s a really big growth area.

Paul: How you behave and act as a brand and being seen to be ‘good’ is incredibly important rather than just looking to engage. Primark has some great products at the right price and there is no shortage of fan groups in Facebook. It’s not something they have had a strategy for, but it drives a huge amount of traffic to their site and connects with more advocates.

Christy: All this scrutiny just keeps you truthful.

Toby: CSR used to be an ‘add-on’.  No one looked at how you made your money, what was important was that you spent a little of it sponsoring some community project. You can’t get away with that anymore. How you make your money is the most important thing now. Consumers have a lot more power and their voices are louder then they used to be because you can easily connect with people who share that same gripe or view.

Christy: The new value of brand value ought to be the percentage of your own employees who use your products or services.

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