Digital Brand Care: 3 Ways Digital Projects Go Off Brand

Tips to help your best-laid digital plans succeed for your brand

One essential element of digital brand care is thoughtfully and consistently connecting digital initiatives to brand. Well-intentioned efforts can get disconnected from audience needs, meaningful metrics or core distinctives of the brand may sidetrack even the best-laid digital plans.

1) Handle ‘cool’ with care.

(insert viral video that breaks the internet here)
The digital world often rewards the cool and viral with tons of traffic, eyeballs and buzz. Trying to make your own Ice Bucket Challenge or Witty Sock Puppet videos can cause a digital project to go off-brand and the reasons are completely understandable. I mean, who doesn’t like cool? We like it as much as anyone else, and certainly, cool can work well. But chasing the wrong kind of cool — whether it’s the casual tone you use, the super-slick feature on a landing page that may divert the visitor from something more valuable or countless other ways we can fall prey to prioritizing form over function. Cool can leave behind a positive impression of the brand but cannot be at the cost of audience, usability or brand identity.

Tip #1 >
Carefully define your cool element and how it contributes to your goals. Then, informally test your design and features with key stakeholder groups and staff. Solicit feedback – ‘does this sound or feel like us?’ Then, go for it – make cool your own!
 

2) Forgetting your fanbase.

Capturing new audiences is a good motivation for your new digital initiative. Just remember your current audiences, their needs and how they view the brand. Leave a trail for them to follow; connect them to the new user experience (UX) with the language you use or visual cues (‘Hi there, are you looking for the Find a Resource page?’).

Tip #2 >
Rank and define your key audiences. When possible, ask what matters most to these users on the site or app experience. Feed this data back into your digital project plan.
 

With any digital initiative, even small disconnects on brand can sneak in and undercut your efforts.

3) Good measurement, double up on analysis. Repeat.

At CiV Digital, we focus much of our efforts on data driven marketing. A critical part of digital brand care is in-depth measurement followed by careful analysis. Repeat. When approaching a digital initiative whether a redesign or a new project, we recommend conducting a quick audit. First, we want to review how your analytics are currently working and optimize the collection of information — e.g., setting up goals and targets, tracking events, etc. Second, we will want to consider what the data says. On the front end of a digital initiative, it’s easy to look at popular content and usage. These are important but we want to dig deeper and lack at patterns – e.g., how have usage patterns changed over time? Is there an implicit demand for certain kinds of content we can extrapolate from the analytics data? We can then pursue a content strategy based on data and trends beyond top-level popularity towards a long-term organic growth strategy.

Tip #3 >
Audit analytics and deep dive into aggregate data and trends. Dig below the surface to identify unmet demand for content or information. Factor what you’ve gathered into your content strategy.
 

Wrapping it up

Once a digital project is underway, small disconnects can creep in often unwittingly and subtly undercut your efforts. We’ve described 3 common ways a digital project can get off brand and a few tips to help keep you on track. Doing digital brand care well is challenging and unique to each organization; we hope these tips will help you on your next digital project.

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