Branding is a fairly complex marketing concept that not many people really understand. When coupled with the complexity of the internet, such a topic can leave marketers utterly dumbfounded, left behind by the way of the times. Yet to be successful in marketing to customers online, mixing the two together is absolutely crucial. Thankfully, when working in tandem, branding and the internet form some pretty simple concepts that anyone can comprehend.
To understand branding is to understand some key traits of the contemporary human psyche. It simply requires that marketers identify the things that their customers hold dear – freedom, the American West, security, etc. – and make their products or services mesh with those values.
So when Coca-Cola wants to sell a can of soda, they no longer say that they taste better, that they have less calories than Pepsi, or say anything at all, really. Talk is cheap – it is action that sells. So Coke shows you what summer is all about: people holding hands on the beach, laughing with each other, and doing any number of other things that have very little to do with soda.
But people buy it because a connection is made between summer and Coke, and since people do like summer, they associate it with Coke and buy the product. This style of marketing can be seen everywhere – young adults associating cars not with quality or price, but with fun and “zoom,” or teenagers not associating jeans with durability but with attitude or rock and roll.
Taking this into consideration, much of modern marketing is about finding people that match up with these interests and targeting advertisements at them that focus on these abstractions. In order to sell 18-24 year olds Coke, you first have to find an avenue through which you can blast them with messages about summer. It takes a lot of time and careful study to identify where to best go after such people, but it can be done.
This is where the internet comes in, because the web takes care of much of this hard part of things. Because of the limitless nature of the internet, there is plenty of room for a niche website for absolutely everything. So if you identify a target audience and go after them through a blog that feeds off of their interests, the only remaining step is to introduce your product or service that plays to their values.
And that is how branding translates into the digital world.
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