Branding 101 for Digital Brands

In this post I shall talk about brands as I understand them and as they are applicable to digital brands. Please note that this list is still in beta and will evolve with time. Your feedback would be really appreciated.

This is required because we need to stop looking at startups as just startups but serious businesses where branding plays a vital role. Often, the way you look at the business makes a lot of difference to way you work.

Coming to the point, I think there are three principles. Utility, Emotional Connect and Relationship that goes beyond just one product.

A: Utility
  • Customers never talk about a brand they are going to use. They talk about the action they will perform. What problem does the brand solves?
    • I need to book and air ticket. I will use Cleartrip.
    • I need to upload slides and show them to friends. Let me use Slideshare.
  • The brands that can make themselves synonymous to utility invariable become the leaders.
    • Can you Google the data on number of Internet users in India?
    • Can you Slideshare your presentation please?
  • The utility could be functional, mechanical, emotional, psychological or any of those –al things.
    • Using Twitter helps me stay in touch with friends on the go.
    • I use FB because the elite Internet users in India are on FB.

B: Emotional Connect
  • A customer will use a brand that he can associate himself with.
    • I like Apple products because they stand for innovation, user interface and simplicity.
    • Google stands for open culture. I am an open source evangelist and hence I will use and promote Google initiatives.
  • If possible, the association with the brand should elevate the status of the user.
    • Google could have invited everyone when they launched Gmail. Limited invite was a way to get traction. All limited launches are like that.
    • Alltop gave away batches like “featured on alltop”. People displayed these batches because it was a way to show off that you belonged to the best of the category (as rated by alltop).

C: Relationship extending beyond single product
  • The relationship should start with one product and when the company launches more products, I should be aspiring to buy them too. This is very important for creating sustainable businesses that go beyond one time relationship.
    • My relationship with Apple started with an Ipod. I have already bought a MacBook and have pre-ordered the iPhone.
    • I started using Google as a search engine. Then I started using groups. Then it was Gmail. And then calendar. The list continues.
Which one of the three things are valid about your brand? If it does only one, how can it do other things?

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