What is Brand Presence?
"80% of success is just showing up." - Woody Allen
Brand presence refers to how easy it is for online buyers to find and buy your brand in the digital world. In many industries, it's the single most important factor to sales success.
Why Does Brand Presence Matter in the Digital Era?
"What's the best place to hide bank robbery money? On the second page of Google, nobody will look there!"
In the digital era, attention spans are weaker, and with few exceptions, the majority of category buyers are casual buyers. They often settle for readily available brands (aka, 'present'), rather than meticulously comparing brands before making a purchase decision.
Unless a prospective buyer is deeply familiar with a category and the brands within it, their purchase journey will begin on the internet. The internet, being a source of endless information for buyers to make educated purchase decisions, can be overwhelming. Brands with a strong presence are easily found, increasing the likelihood of purchase. On the flip side, brands with a weak presence won't even be considered.
Buyers are consistently exposed to a brand with a strong presence throughout the buying journey. Whichever way the buyer wanders on the internet, the brand shows up - whether it's Google search, YouTube search, buyer's social media feed, or some other digital channels. While being present is the most important factor, the brand also needs to be relevant when it does show up. A brand with a strong presence will support buyers with relevant blog posts, videos, and various other resources that lead the buyer to make a purchase decision they feel confident in, and most importantly, encode the brand in the buyer's memory so that the brand becomes not only easily found, but also thought of in future buying situations. Think of it as establishing mental real estate. When such brand presence is built, a brand being bought often by many people is inevitable.
How is Brand Presence Built?
Building digital brand presence comes down to creating content the market has a demand for and then distributing it across the right channels at the right times. These digital channels can now distinguish between presence building hacks and tricks (such as stuffing the website with SEO keywords) and honest brand presence building efforts, such as the content people are reading, enjoying and sharing. Digital channels punish the former with less visibility and reward the latter with more visibility. Leading indicators of strong brand presence include: brand appearing early in Google search queries, social media algorithms making the brand show up on more people's feeds, etc. Digital channels can be owned (your website, blog, videos, etc.) or they can be paid (PPC, etc.)
1) Owned - costs no capital, but it's very time consuming and unpredictable. Digital channels are optimized to make this an uphill battle, in order to incentivize brands to pay, which is in advertisers' best interest. The potential to how much brand presence it can create is limited. Brands that have succeeded in building their presence through owned channels are considered health online brands - as their presence could have only been a result of excellence in terms of content and consumption. Strong performance on an owned channel creates a growth loop that contributes to brand presence on other channels, resembling a snowball effect. An example of this is organic search (a brand is highly searched for on YouTube, which leads to the brand appearing earlier on the Google search results pages).
2) Paid - delivers fast results, it's very scalable but requires a lot of capital to sustain. Brands that want to build a presence will have to invest in paid sooner or later, due to the ceiling of owned channels. Oftentimes, brand presence on certain channels can be nothing but a spending battle (i.e. Brand A spends money to appear first on Google today, Brand B spends 3x as much money to take Brand A's spot tomorrow). However, if brand presence is almost entirely paid, it's on shaky ground, as its position is not grounded in good brand health, and might not stand the test of time.
If your brand wants to grow its presence, consider the following:
- What is the frequency for adding/refreshing content?
- Which channels will you commit to having a stronger presence than the competition?
- What's the optimal digital marketing mix?
When it's all said and done, brand presence is a function of being in the right channels with great content, more frequently than the competition - and hopefully more cost-effectively!
How is Brand Presence Measured?
Traditionally, whenever marketers decided to measure their brand presence, they would have to go through the following process: List all the channels their brand is active on, source siloed data from each channel individually, and then analyze each channel individually, with the help of brand analysts and technology that accompanies each. They would repeat the same process for their competitors and ultimately provide a final estimate on their brand presence relative to the category. This approach is both ineffective and inefficient. Ineffective due to the contrast of data available vs the extent of data brand analysts can gather, and inefficient, because of the time and energy it takes to execute this process.
This problem is solved with BrandOps. BrandOps is a SaaS platform that uses AI and cloud computing to aggregate countless brand presence data points and metrics across channels in real-time, making the tracking process efficient and scalable. This aggregate view allows brand analysts to understand their brand presence at a glance. Our proprietary AI scores the compiled brand presence metrics according to established brand presence standards on a category basis, giving the overall brand presence a final score. We call this model 'Share of Presence'. Not all digital channels are equally important to your strategy. BrandOps enables you to zoom in on specific channels to understand the nuances. This insight allows you to optimize messaging and cadence on a channel by channel basis.
Most businesses have moved to the internet, with some even delivering their services strictly on the internet. Many brands will drown in this noise unless a commitment to long-term online brand building is made. Brands won't have sufficient presence to survive, let alone thrive. Regardless of your preferences for channels, metrics or tactics, you should ensure that establishing a strong brand presence is a top marketing priority.
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BrandOps is a unified brand tracking and measurement platform that provides marketing leaders with a continuous view of marketing performance and pinpoints areas that need improvement.