New Research Topic: How Can You Build A Successful Brand Online?

This quarter I'll be writing a report on the rise of the digital brand -- focused on how interactive tools have changed the ways in which we convey the meaning of our brand to our customers, and how smart marketers can react to (and even take advantage of) those changes. I'm at the early stages of my research, and I'd love the community's help in shaping the direction of this report.

 

In particular, I have a few questions:

  1. Can (or should) interactive take over from traditional channels like TV, print, and in-store to become the lead channel for a brand? Meaning, can companies use interactive tools and experiences as the most important part of how they create brand awareness or build brand meaning?
  2. What are the most important interactive tools to building and maintaining a brand? Do you think your own website is your best opportunity to create a brand impact -- or is it a Facebook page, an MSN home page takeover, a CRM email initiative, a campaign microsite, a pre-roll video buy, an iPhone app, a paid search program, or something else?
  3. Which companies have done the best job of digital branding? Who do you think has most successfully and creatively used interactive tools to make online the centerpiece of their brand relationship with consumers?

 

If you have thoughts you'd like to share, please leave them in the comments below, or email me: nelliott at forresterdotcom. I really look forward to your thoughts -- and to pursuing what we discuss here in my upcoming research.

Comments

Hi Nate, I was doing a

Hi Nate,

I was doing a research for digital training I'll be delivering to OMD on the similar topic and here are some of my thoughts:

1.Can (or should) interactive take over from traditional channels like TV....

Given the fact that for FMCG brands on line display accounts for 1% of media budgets (ij UK) and 4% in US I guess not so soon...

VOLUME over VALUE
1) An excellent analysis of the BCG "No shortcuts. The road to smarter marketing, Boston Consulting Group, September 2010" made a very good point that as long as the corporate KPI rewards volume over value advertisers will keep overinvesting in TV, because with the TV they know how many GRPs it takes to make impact- VOLUME even if it's at a diminishing returns. while internet has not yet proved to drive sales volume. In all econometric modeles that I've seen on line response curve did not flatten out which basically means we haven't invested enough to even know were is the threshold for online investement. Check out this analysis "An ROI analysis of the FMCG Sector. Brand Science for Microsoft Advertising, 2010"

A DIRECT RESPONSE MEDIUM
2) On line has been treated as a purely direct response channel relying on Click Through Rates for too long...even right now in Display Advertising Study”Collective/ Advertiser Perception but with the growing popularity of rich media and measuring Dwell and post impressions effects ( brand search queries and site visitation) brand marketers will finally start to see that on line works even if they don't click which will give more importance to on line as a branding channel.
You most certainly know these white papers-its good to know that studies like this exist as they give just so many arguments for brand managers

-When CPG brands get digital, comScore, January 2011
-How Online Advertising Works: Whither the Click in Europe A U.K. & European Perspective on the Latent Impact of Display Advertising, comScore, February 2010.
-How Online Advertising Works: Whither the Click, U.S, comScore November 2008.

2.What are the most important interactive tools to building and maintaining a brand?

I would say:

1) Display advertising
display is changing, allowes creatives to implement so many branding features brands need. rich media formats account globally for 60% of impressions and growing (source: Mediamind). Rich media formats outperfom all other ad formats by far on almost all brand metrics
some research on that:

The Brand Value of Rich Media and Video Ads By DoubleClick, a division of Google and Dynamic Logic, July 2009.
Dwell on Branding: proof that online ad engagement drives better brand results, Microsoft Advertising Europe with Eyeblaster and comScore, 2010.

New ad units appear ( the latest IAB Rising Stars contest) with the aim to bring some branding dollars online and will probably succeed the most important criteria for selecting new formats were
Branding - How well does the ad format provide a canvas for brand creativity?
User Experience - How does the ad format positively impact user experience?

IAB Portrait
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid607703002?bctid=80361073...
IAB Slider
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=704yQ2aC5wA
IAB Billboard
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid607703002?bctid=80368394...
IAB Filmstrip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMFuQKtBVO8&feature=player_embedded
IAB Pushdown
http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid607703002?bctid=80361071...
IAB Sidekick
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QCieQoYUGc

2) Mobile and tablets advertising - mobile internet usage is growing faster than all predictions- btw could you help me in getting a latest Forrester predictions on that?
Mobile advertising creates great opportunities for branding purposes+ adds local relevancy (couponing etc)

3.Which companies have done the best job of digital branding? Who do you think has most successfully and creatively used interactive tools to make online the centerpiece of their brand relationship with consumers?

I will be happy to read about best case studies...

Coke
Nike
Burger King ( the only blue chip brand I know that builds its brand only through on line channel- but they're so samll in Poland where I come from that it's the most wise thing to do)