At Kingfluencers, we understand that influencer marketing is part of a much bigger field. We encourage brands to think beyond influence to digital brand equity. In this blog series, we’ll cover how brands can establish, strengthen, and grow long-term brand equity through digital influence programs. First, we’ll explain what we mean by that and what lies beyond traditional influence.
What is Digital Brand Equity?
Digital brand equity is the value of brand recognition and brand perception in the digital space. Digital brand equity is a core pillar to competitive advantage. It has a positive influence on people’s purchasing decisions and is a key determinant of the brand’s overall success.
→ Defining factors for a brand’s digital equity include:
What is Digital Influence?
Digital influence is the online equivalent of brand equity. It refers to a brand’s ability to affect and strengthen people’s perceptions, opinions, preferences, and decisions related to your brand versus competing ones. Digital influence is the ability of a brand to take ownership of the influence they have to impact perceptions and – most importantly– decisions.
Like digital brand equity, digital influence is a key determinant of the brand’s overall success. Digital influence strategies enhance your brand’s ability to take that control and ownership to shape perceptions. It is a means to an end. You can build digital brand equity through a variety of digital branding and influencer strategies.
By impacting decisions, you can drive revenue by encouraging people to:
- Purchase your brand over competitors by building competitive advantage and elevating brand preference
- Increase expenditures through upgrades and additional purchases
- Remain loyal customers over time to increase customer loyalty, generate more revenue, and improve profitability
- Recommend your brand to their friends by sparking intrinsic advocacy and strengthening your brand community
- Work for your brand, enabling you to recruit and retain the best employees and strengthen your employer branding
Digital Influence = Huge Component of Overall Brand Equity
For many brands, the majority of customer interactions take place online. That means your digital influence is nearly synonymous with brand equity. Simply put, what people think of you online is what people think of you. Those brands who master their digital brand equity as first movers will gain an immense advantage and outperform their competitors moving forward.
Beyond Social Media
An influencer posts a positive review of your brand on Instagram. A content creator features your product in an entertaining TikTok.
Influencer campaigns are excellent tactics for increasing awareness and connecting with your audience.
But that’s just it… they’re tactics – individual components of what must be a larger strategy in order to really make a long-lasting impact. So, what separates effective brands from those throwing campaigns at the wall and hoping something sticks?
How Can Brands Build a Foundation of Digital Influence?
A brand’s equity depends on your visibility, how you’re perceived, and your ability to connect in consistent ways to your audiences in today’s complex digital ecosystem.
Consumers rank trust as a top buying consideration. 81% need to trust a brand to consider buying from it. Nielsen reported that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, and 70% trust online reviews from strangers. A strong digital presence and positive online reputation can help strengthen brand equity, in turn influencing purchasing decisions.
Proper digital influence strategies and tactics draw their inherent power from word of mouth (WoM) marketing principles. Building digital influence involves magnifying and elevating the impact of WoM through digital amplification. Digital influence enables brands to turn a 1:1 process into 1:many while maintaining credibility. Shifting from one to many amplifies a brand’s influence, which drives exponential gains, making digital influence extremely powerful.
Digital influence programs must focus on strengthening the brand’s digital presence and thereby positively influencing brand awareness and perception.
The Amplification Effect
Individual marketing initiatives, such as SEO, can give your brand a boost. But the most powerful strategies work collaboratively to amplify one another.
With numerous people-centric tactics focused on advocacy, WoM, and authentic storytelling, you can achieve an amplification effect. More people will discuss your brand, activate audiences and communities, building more intrinsic advocacy and WoM from consumers and partners. Like the famous “Flywheel” model, customers become advocates and promoters who feed growth as they move through the phases of attract, engage, and delight.
Key Components of Building Digital Brand Equity
A strong foundation must run deep and wide.
Doing these following things well and for enough time will improve your brand reputation and drive increased online visibility. You’ll be able to increase knowledge of your brand, and impact perceptions of your brand versus others.
- Use your existing brand equity
Make use of the equity you already have. Build upon your brand’s reputation and standing in the market. Get ahead of the narrative and consistently convey your brand’s unique selling propositions.
- Be consistent
Have consistent, coherent messages across all digital channels. Those messages should also be in line with consumers’ offline experiences. Consistency is key. 41% of consumers say branding (messaging) consistency defines brand loyalty.
- Run people-centric campaigns
The participation of numerous voices, along with a consistent story, helps create positive digital brand equity and therefore digital influence. Work with multiple advocates and storytellers who can promote your brand authentically, including employees and senior leadership. Capture and make use of user-generated content.
- Harness the power of advocacy & word of mouth
Advocacy is a key ingredient. Consider personal branding and working with corporate ambassadors. With an integrated approach, you can take control of the narrative surrounding your brand and boost competitive advantage and growth.
An effective digital influence program will include multiple tracks such as social media, influencer marketing, brand and corporate ambassadors, personal branding, content creation, including UGC, and performance marketing. While these tracks can each deliver results independently, a program is stronger when they’re all in alignment. More to come in part 2!