Are branding experts becoming dinosaurs? Will their jobs soon be things of the past and listed with blacksmiths, candlestick makers, or travel agents?
The age of SEO seemed to have bullied the branding expert from the head of the marketing table. In fact, it pushed them right out of a lot of agencies. Coders and SEO nerds took their place and became the most important voices in an agency or company.
Decisions became less brand-driven and more data-driven. The SEOs thought a brand’s voice may be important, but SEO keywording is more important. “Say whatever you want, but just use these keywords at least 4 times.”
However, in recent years, branding has made a big comeback. And here is why.
More Digital Touchpoints Than Ever
Most startups are built with a skeleton of a brand in place. All they can afford to do is say, “These are our colors and fonts. This is our logo.” When it came to bigger questions such as, “Who are we and what do we believe” the answer would often be, “We’ll figure that out later.
However, as these companies scaled, their brands looked, acted, and sounded different in different places. This was a problem, as consumers can pick up on a foggy or disjointed brand and perceive it as instability.
With so many potential touchpoints in today’s marketplace (both online and off), brand consistency has never been more important. Your consumer has to get a good sense of your brand, whether they’re seeing you on Snapchat or a transit ad.
More Data to Build Brands
When branding was in its 1960-1999 heydays, your buyer personas were largely based on very educated guesses. Now, however, the data you can use to build your personas is insanely detailed and accurate. The guesswork is gone.
Website analytics and social data can tell you exactly what your client wants from you, and see the results in real time as their needs and wants start to shift. You can also learn the types of messages that resonate with your target audience.
That big data combined with a skilled brand expert writing the messaging can be absolutely unstoppable.
Google Likes Brands
There is also very convincing data that points to Google favoring established brands. They appear to be more lenient and less likely to punish a brand for infections or missteps here or there, compared to smaller and lesser-known companies.
This means that, aside from all of the intangible benefits of a strong brand, you can also use these numbers to make a strong case to even the most data-driven SEO professional.
It Helps Your Digital PR
An established and streamlined brands also help you off-page SEO, as your company is now more attractive to other domains who may be considering your content.
They may not know much about you right away, but if they Google your company, a strong brand will show them that:
- You have a clear and concise message
- You have an organized, yet diverse digital footprint
- Your brand story is proven and reputable
- You have a strong domain authority
This makes for a far easier pitch process when you’re looking for guest post opportunities or approaching an influencer.
These factors all combine to make the role of branding as important as ever. The key difference is now today’s branding guru’s value is easier to prove, and they have even more tools at their disposal.