Opinion: Building brands in the era of ‘clicks and views’

Building brands in digital age

Outlining the relevance of being present where your consumer is, Kashyap Vadapalli from Pepperfry describes the tenets of building brands in the digital day and age, sharing ways to stand out in the clutter.

Let me start by reiterating a fact that we are aware of all too well – technology has altered our lives significantly! We live in an era where technology and the Internet are interlinked with almost everything we do, be it purchase, recreation, or knowledge-building. Consumer behavior overall has become more streamlined, today, courtesy, the Internet. Therefore, at a time like this, if your brand does not have a digital presence, you are losing out on much more than potential customers. You are missing the opportunity to have real-time interactions, cost-effective solutions, more meaningful connections, and perhaps a direct sales target.

Brand building through the Internet or digital tools has transformed the marketing landscape. Even brands that were once inclined towards traditional mediums of marketing are now leveraging digital marketing mediums to connect with their consumers. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Global Marketing Trends report, more than 70% of brands across the world agreed that they valued digital solutions that deepened their connection with consumers.   

The pertinent question is ‘why?’ are brands actively gravitating towards the adoption of digital marketing to connect with their consumers? But before we deep-dive into that, let’s quickly understand what digital marketing is. All brand communication efforts that are channeled through electronic devices or the Internet, fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. It comprises tools ranging from social media marketing, SEO, SEM, conversation optimization, lead enrichment to email marketing, and so on.

Digital marketing has myriad formats and tools, both explored and unexplored, that can help brands engage with customers in the most seamless manner. Now that we have an understanding, let’s solve the puzzle around why brands are altering their marketing strategies to make it digital-first or digital-focused. Is this really the need of the hour?

Cut Through The Clutter

Every brand is trying to communicate with its audience through platforms that have a plethora of varied content. Each of them is communicating and competing with several others. In this maddening clutter of information, how does a brand really stand out? The answer is unwittingly simple – be authentic and talk to your consumers on a platform (digital) that they’re operating in.

Play in the field where you have the right to and make sure your communication, brand ethos, and offerings synergize. This is because consumers, today, are highly evolved and can instantly call out brands that are simply riding the wave. They prefer to lean towards and stand behind brands that are true to their core; and to establish this authenticity, digital mediums play a significant role.

‘Digital’ Is The New Word-of-mouth

As marketers, we have all learned and experienced the importance of word of mouth for a brand. In today’s era, digital word of mouth is the most-sought after – with the information available at consumers’ fingertips, they refer to customer ratings, influencer recommendations, reviews from key opinion leaders, client testimonials, all before making a purchase decision.

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Better Reach

By leveraging the Internet and technology, brands can bridge geographical boundaries and engage with their consumers, irrespective of their location. Today, the Internet houses over 7.7 billion users across the globe, of which a significant percentage of individuals rely heavily on digital means to research a brand or product before purchasing. Especially, in India, since the outbreak of the pandemic, consumers from metros and non-metros are increasingly dependent on the Internet to make an informed decision and even close their purchase journey.

Therefore, as a brand, it is your responsibility to be present where your consumer is.

Measure With Ease

In a world where buying cycles are shortening, information exchange is taking place in real-time, and trends are ever-evolving, you cannot wait for months to evaluate your brand’s marketing efforts. And with digital marketing, every time a user visits a website, clicks, or engages with any channel, they leave behind a digital footprint that helps brands understand the avenue or format which worked for them.

The data collected through each engagement can further enable brands to alter their content and avenues instantaneously to make it more effective.

No matter the scale of your business, adopting digital marketing practices is a route that will yield unparalleled outcomes.

The results of digital marketing for brands are like living by the words of the American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, “If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”

This article is authored by Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO & Business Head, Pepperfry