Digital media has proven to be very effective for direct response strategies. It has brought great benefits to eCommerce and lead generation business models, thanks to its efficiency and accountability. But there is also a limitless opportunity to use digital media to create and nurture relationships between your brand and your customers. We used to think about branding in terms of reach and its impact on sales, but through digital media, there is now an extraordinary chance to engage and connect with your audience throughout the entire purchase process.
A comprehensive framework
Digital media involves two-way communication, and branding initiatives should benefit from this new means of interacting with an audience. The branding process is, of course, triggered by your effort to expose your brand, product, or service to a specific audience. As with traditional media, repeated stimuli produce greater awareness, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Brands can continue to build awareness and attract the audience into their brand’s territory (for example, a website, YouTube channel, or Facebook page), where they have more control over people’s experience. Once you’ve brought your target audience to your brand territory, you should engage and provide value to that audience; don’t just let people endlessly navigate through your site without purpose. The perceived value that comes from those engagements should create a bond and motivate people to come back, enabling you to retain their attention longer. A successful brand experience, one which creates valuable engagements and bonds, should also produce measurable influence on your target audience—influencing their perception, intent, or behavior—so that the next time they face a buying decision they’ll choose you over your competitors.
Actually, the main objective of any branding campaign is neither to expose your brand, nor is it to attract or engage an audience; the ultimate goal is to influence that audience so your brand is in their consideration set. Once you have a framework in place, it will be far easier to strategically achieve that goal.
The KPI Dashboard
In developing such a framework, there are a few important questions that each organization needs to answer, such as: What does success look like for your business? How can you tell that you are doing a good job engaging with visitors? How can you tell whether you’re creating a strong bond with your audience? And, in the end, is the branding strategy improving sales figures? The exercise of defining success will inevitably make you focus on the things that matter most and, therefore, will also help you create more successful strategies.
With a framework in place, the next step is to define tactics to optimize your efforts and—probably the most important thing—to select the metrics (KPIs) that will tell you how you are doing in each stage. We created a dashboard to summarize the KPIs that should be monitored for each of the stages. The KPIs are categorized in two layers. The first layer is focused on the metrics that are useful for optimization efforts, these metrics should be used by people operating your campaigns on a day-to-day basis. The second is focused on more strategic metrics, which can tell you how well you are succeeding at each stage; digital managers should use these metrics to measure the real impact of their branding strategies.