The natural follow up question to that is what is your brand today? If you answered your logo then there might be a long journey ahead. Whilst it’s true that the logo is and unique identifier for your brand it stands for so much more and never before has the currency of a brand been so fluctuating as today. All you need is someone posting on your wall or a twitter post with something negative for an avalanche of bad will coming your way.

I really don’t like writing that everything is going digital and stating to clients that you have to go digital because that is nothing new and digital tools are more a necessity and part of the infrastructure than anything new. More to the point – ‘digital’ has no self-preservation but it is rather matter of what you can achieve with it. So why am I writing this in a post on growing a brand in a digital world? Well apart from the obvious that it has digital in the question; the digital transformations of today have brought with them a lot more opportunities for a brand.

Some companies that I have come across are suffering from a very interesting brand recognition problem that can be summarized in the phrase “oh it’s them – who are they?”. This is what you hear when you drop some brand names and the person you’re talking to immediately recognize it but have no clue what the company represent. This might be a fact even if the individual is actually a client or user, indirectly, of that specific company.

So if this company wants to grow their digital brand presence what should they do? Well first it might not be a problem that certain people don’t know what the company does and what the brand represent, but it is more of a problem if the company in question doesn’t know if it is, in fact, important. Ok, I know that got messy but try to follow because in order to grow a brand, we need to know, or know more about the recipients and the client first. The brand is in the eye of the beholder to paraphrase an old saying.

When we have gained knowledge about the target group, we can learn about their current knowledge, map it to what we want them to know and what they want to know and hopefully those last points are not mutually exclusive. With this knowledge gap mapping in hand, we can then see what and where we need to take action in order to fill the gaps. Is it extended presence on certain social media services or tighter integration between digital and physical? Do we need a new marketing campaign in traditional media to educate the world in what we do? Or just branching out the current offering in more digital channels with an all channel experience?

Whatever is discovered and mapped out can then be brought to life with the digital infrastructure and tools mentioned in the beginning of this post. All diversifying and brand initiatives can then further be anchored in the facts about our users and clients. I have seen far too many companies say “we need to be on [insert social media here]” and when I ask them “why”, they have not much more to say than “because of reasons”.

All of the above makes it self-evident that you should use the best information you have about customers (and potential customers) so that you can design targeted and relevant brand campaign messages and choose the most appropriate channel.  This is all in order to stay relevant and avoid that the communication is being tagged as spam.

The analytics and insights tools and data can further more be used to evaluate the success of marketing campaigns and branding. Data on everything from purchases to retention can help in validating and be part of a continuous improvement process. This also ties back to working across silos since data is needed from different parts of the company.

So to sum it up, in order to grow your brand in a digital world, you must first figure out for whom and then where you should grow. The tools for analytics and insight are there.  You just have to know which ones to use.

Read more on the possibilities of growing your brand with social business here.