Becoming a brand in the digital age

Becoming a brand in the digital age

Dr. Terry Carrell Reed. Photograph by O’Neill Grant.

BitDepth 1372 for September 19, 2022

For Golda Lee-Bruce, Communications Specialist at IADB, building an online brand begins with the story that is being told about it.

That story should, more effectively, follow the classic narrative arc; The status quo is in turmoil that forces change and creates a new reality.

Lee Bruce was speaking at Chambers’ DigiMark Conference at the end of June, a two-day event that introduced small and micro businesses into the digital environments they must adapt to succeed in the post-pandemic era.

The event itself was a somewhat of a mixed bag, throwing digital speculation and the ad agency’s importance into a mix of conversations that often sounded ahead of the real-world ambitions of the target audience.

But there were elements in these discussions that would bring value to typically small businesses outside of the TT Chamber of Commerce that Nova’s committee is working to access.

Set a goal.

One of the clear directives from almost every presenter was for companies to be crystal clear about what they want to achieve with their digital strategy.

Advertising agencies begin by requiring their clients to write down their goals using a standard document before considering a campaign.

Lee Bruce asked questions that digital companies should be ready to answer.

“Where do people go to find what they want to buy?” She asked.

“What will they find about you? What story does your online presence tell? Modern marketing is about the story you can tell about your product or service and that story should be present in all your communications.”

Start with yourself.

In a very small business, the identity is usually shaped by its leader. In large companies, business personality usually emerges from the decisions the company makes and the situations it takes.

“People don’t seem to understand that we’re walking on billboards for our brand,” said Dr. Terry Carrell-Reed, author of My Brand Compass.

“Be very clear about who you are and what you do and don’t apologize for it. What is your value proposition? The way you look at yourself should translate into what people perceive about you. Your personal brand journey is long, so get ready for a marathon.”

Decide what to say and where.

Kieron Rose, a consultant to entrepreneurs entering the digital space, urged companies to solidify their strategy by using a website under their control to manage information about the company and its product or service.

He stressed the importance of ensuring that websites are mobile responsive.

Subira Willock, Head of Creative Storytelling at Meta, encouraged marketers to use more videos as part of their strategy.

“Digital video consumption has quadrupled to four hours per day during the pandemic,” Willock said.

On YouTube alone, there are over 1 billion hours of video with over 250,000 hours added every day.

According to Professor Anil Kukaram who has spent seven years working with YouTube’s video processing team, 80 percent of Internet traffic is videos.
“Small businesses need to be clear about what they want to put out to the world and the problems they solve,” said Ingrid Riley of Silicon Caribe.

“Consumers want to align themselves with companies that share their values.”

Leah Marvell. Photograph by Anthony Scully.

Be careful who represents your brand.

“Influencer marketing is an evolution of brand ambassadors in the digital space,” said Baidawi Assing of Eat ah Food, a popular local YouTube cooking channel.

“I do not identify as an influencer nor do I engage in influencer marketing, although I acknowledge that I have influence in the field I work in. I would not encourage anyone to be an influencer. Be passionate about what you do.”

“There is a tendency to drift into popularity, rather than dealing with individuals who reach the right segment of people.”

“There is a difference between having community and being loved,” said Leah Marvell, a Barbadian model who works in the United States.

“You can tell the difference between someone who has a captive community audience and who interacts with it back and forth, has frequent visitors, rather than a collective interest.”

Focus on the future.

“I hope that Caribbean people don’t think we’re going back to pre-pandemic as if it was a really good thing,” Riley said.

“Having a spirit of experimentation and being open to learning new things creates new opportunities to grow the business and create new products and services. Entrepreneurs should see these changes as an opportunity. If you want to be successful, you have no other choice.”


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