We’ve already covered the immeasurable importance of developing a strong brand for your company. When your brand is based on representing who you are as a company rather than aesthetics it can help you to connect with your customers. However, it is just as important to use that branding well.
Often companies are good at branding physical materials such as event stands, mugs, and pens, but this can slip when it comes to branding how they present themselves online. Consistent branding can be forgotten when it comes to social media, emails, and websites. This article will delve into the importance of maintaining your brand online and how to do it.
The importance of multichannel marketing and online branding
Multichannel marketing involves distributing your marketing efforts across several different platforms. This not only allows your customers to interact with you wherever is most convenient for them, but it also increases your chances of getting on their radar initially.
Typically, customers need to see a company around 15 times to be able to recall it easily, and 71% of people are more likely to buy from a brand that they recognise. Naturally, it is easier for people to recognise and recall a brand when everything they are producing is consistent.
The main premise of multichannel marketing is to be seen as often as possible, but often we find that medical device companies focus a lot of their branding efforts on events or literature that is given directly to HCPs. They then may not dedicate as much time and attention into branding their online resources. Realistically, medical device events only take up a couple of days in a year for companies, but your appearance online is 24/7, so why does it not matter as much? If anything, it should matter more.
The digital world also offers more touch points for customers, and therefore more chance to be seen. Customers may come across you on social media, through your website, through emails or maybe even through a podcast. There is so much opportunity to be seen.
Remember though, it is not just about being seen, it is about being recognised and consistency is the key for doing this. Your brand needs to look the same everywhere your customer might find you.
As an example, a customer may come across you on social media and be impressed by you, but take it no further. You then have the opportunity to attract them at an event, if they recognise your stand branding because it’s the same as it is online they may recall that they were impressed and come over to interact with you. If your branding is not consistent, there’s a chance they may not recall you and you may merge in with the other stands on the day. As you can begin to see, all of these touch points need to work together to guide the customer on their journey.
So, how do you do it? What do companies need to do to ensure that their online presentation is consistent and effective?
Brand guidelines are absolutely essential to ensure that you present your brand consistently. If there are discrepancies in the way that you present your brand it may be harder for your customers to recognise you.
Furthermore, if you have found the perfect way to externally present your internal branding, why wouldn’t you want to ensure you did it exactly that way every time?
Brand guidelines should be referred to anytime the company is being represented and should include:
Logo – There should be set rules for using your logo for maximum impact. If your logo comes in different formats (which it should, to ensure that it is optimised for every background), there needs to be advice on when and where each format should be used.
Fonts – Typically a brand can be represented through a primary and secondary font.
Tone of voice – This is where the key traits of your brand are personified, tone of voice needs to make this immediately perceptible.
Colour palette – Typically brands will choose one dominant colour and 3-4 complementary colours for consistency, but not monotony.
Imagery – There should be guidelines in place on what imagery to use, for example, if using stock imagery, ensure that it is representative of who your customers are.
Copy – Guidance for copy should look at the words you use and how you use them. For example, do you need to write in a formal tone, or can you afford to be more casual? Are you going to use contractions? Everything needs to be in the tone of voice of the brand.
Once the guidelines have been defined, they should be distributed throughout the company, so that everyone understands the brand and how it is to be conveyed. Guidelines can also be sent externally when working with agencies or other partners.
It sounds simple but ensuring that all your assets are organised will help you to continuously present your brand in the most effective way. By creating a written set of brand guidelines, you can have a final set of assets. This means any new member of the team or agency can jump straight into your brand without an issue. By keeping all your logos, product images and other assets in one place, you can be sure that everyone is always using the same (and the correct) materials.
Tools like Canva can have your branding already uploaded to make things easier when creating social media posts and other materials. This can be really handy to improve efficiency.
Use branding in the most effective places
Branding is only effective if it ends up in front of the right people. When it comes to externally expressing your brand, it is important to prioritise when and where you chose to do it. Whilst it is important to get out there and be seen as much as possible, budget constraints and other limitations may prevent it. Instead, it is better to use your branding where it will have the most impact.
For instance, if you are working on a tight budget, being active on social media is likely to have better return on investment than getting jackets printed for employees with the company logo on them, especially when reps aren’t able to get into see HCPs. To be effective at branding and to be seen multiple times doesn’t mean you need to brand everything or go down every channel. Companies need to pick multiple channels that are effective to their audience.
The most important step to distributing your branding in the right places is to know your customers well, which means knowing where they are, so you can get in front of them. Do the market research to find out where they are most engaged and be there. For instance, there is no point posting on Instagram if your customers are most active on Twitter.
Create a content calendar
Creating a content calendar not only helps you to keep track of what you’re posting and where, it also presents a good opportunity to effectively present your branding through the content that you push out. Planning in advance not only gives you time to ensure that everything is branded and presented to the highest standard, it also allows you to plan ongoing campaigns that will have the most impact.
For example, medical device companies can incorporate awareness days and holidays into their digital campaigns, if they align with their brand. You can plan these out far in advance when putting together your content calendar. We have spoken about this topic before in our article on integrating seasonal trends into your digital marketing.
You can allow space in your content calendar for ad hoc posting, so that you can be reactive. For instance, you can leave space to report on current news that is relevant to your company. Remember though, anything you post needs to be relevant information for your customers, otherwise you may lose their interest.
Bring your brand alive in the virtual world
Although it is okay to test new ideas when it comes to your branding, everything you produce must be similar, otherwise you risk your customers being unable to recognise you.
Your aim should be to provide a seamless experience wherever your customer comes across you, whether it's through a brochure, an exhibition stand, or an online destination. Everything should be reminiscent of your company and its values. This is how you really bring your brand to life, even online, and make it almost like a person with traits and characteristics that your customer can spot and relate to.
About Podymos Podymos is a dedicated medical device marketing agency. We are passionate about sharing relevant knowledge to expand our clients’ capabilities. If you would like to find out more about what we do, you can visit our services page, or get in contact with us.
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