Your brand image is super important. In a crowded market, it’s one of the key things that helps you stand out to your audience.
But when you're growing rapidly and struggling to keep up with customer demands, brand management might not be the first item on your to-do list. Most business owners will rather focus on activities that bring immediate ROI—like closing a new customer—over long-term branding efforts.
But consistent and effective brand management is vital to the success of your business. That’s why we've compiled a simple guide to help you get started. We’ll also show you how Dash (that’s us) can help you manage and keep track of all your important brand assets.
What is online brand management?
Online brand management, also called digital brand management or online reputation management, is everything you do to create and maintain a positive perception of your brand.
It starts with your company’s consistent visual identity like brand colours, designs and logos. And it extends to direct customer interactions like how you communicate with your target audience and your response time to customer complaints.
It's really important you don’t ignore your brand’s visual aspects. In fact, your visuals inform more than 50% of your audience's first impression about your brand.
Imagine landing on a website, and the images are all pixelated, or the website uses images taken off Google without permission—it's not a good look.
Great brand management is as much about presenting your visual assets consistently as it is about communicating with your target market professionally.
But that’s not all brand management will help you with. Let’s get into some reasons why it should be at the top of your priority list.
Why is online brand management important?
Investing in brand management will:
- Eliminate branding inconsistencies: Nearly 70% of respondents in a Lucidpress survey said that brand consistency grew their revenue by at least 10% 😱. Say you make $50K annually; consistent branding can give you an extra $5,000. That’s because a consistent brand image builds up your business’ reputation, helping you win new customers easily. When people already have a positive perception of your brand, convincing them to buy from you or refer people in their network to your business becomes much easier.
- Increase your brand trust: 50% of consumers will pay more for brands they trust. Digital brand management builds trust by helping you deliver a consistent customer experience, no matter where or how they interact with your brand.
Say a potential customer starts a conversation with your business on Instagram before moving over to your website— there shouldn’t be any difference in the quality of the interaction if all your digital channels follow your brand guidelines.
- Help keep your content fresh: An essential part of brand management is clearing old assets from your visual content library. Logo mockups, product images that didn’t make it through the review stage, packaging sketches—you name it. If you've been in business for a while, you probably have a bunch of outdated product videos and images sitting somewhere in your library—don't worry, we're not judging 😉.
In this context, think of brand management as spring cleaning. You can delete assets you no longer need to make room for the new ones.
You’ll be able to use Dash—our digital asset management tool—to help you manage, clear out and send your brand assets out into the world. Scroll down this article to find out how.
Best practices for online brand management
You can see how important brand management is to your business. Here are some steps you can take to help maintain a good online brand presence for years to come.
1. Make sure you’ve got clear brand positioning
Brand positioning is about creating a unique and relevant place for your brand in the market. It'll help you showcase your unique offering and help you stand out from competitors.
To create strong brand positioning, you need to dig into how your brand is different from its competitors. What are your values and why should your audience buy from you? Here's how:
- Research your target audience to understand their preferences, demographics and behaviours. This data will help you position your brand to match their expectations.
- Develop a Unique Value Proposition (UVP). A simple way to do this is to translate your business features into benefits that directly address your target audience's pain points or desires.
- Choose a brand archetype. Brand archetype or personality is the human attribute(s) your brand possesses. Ask yourself, “What kind of person would my brand be if it were human?” Then tailor your branding to align with your desired personality.
💡Read our full article for in-depth branding strategy tips for small businesses.
2. Use a digital asset management system (DAM)
A digital asset management solution (also known as DAM) is a tool that helps you find, organise and share all your visual content. That’s things like logos, product images, graphics, videos—the list goes on. This is the perfect place to store all the assets you need for effective brand management. In our DAM tool, Dash, you can:
- Ensure brand consistency by keeping all of your approved brand assets in one place. When you’ve got a single source of truth for all your content, it’ll be easier for your team to get your assets out into the wild.
- Use version control to notify your team of content updates, set expiration dates for brand assets and archive outdated images and videos.
- Create public portals for your resellers, freelancers and agencies to access approved and updated brand assets (like product images and logos)—so they’ll never accidentally use last year’s season’s product shots. 🤦♀️
- Crop and resize images for each of your brand’s online channels—ideal if you’ve got a product launch and need to quickly get content ready for social media, product pages, email campaigns and your ad channels.
But that’s not all. Our brand asset management article explains how Dash helps you maintain a strong brand identity and supports your marketing strategies.
3. Create brand guidelines
Once you've figured out your brand position and you’ve collected all your brand assets, the next step is to create brand guidelines.
Brand guidelines are what internal and external collaborators need to maintain consistent and cohesive branding across all channels. As a growing ecommerce business, you're working with multiple full-time employees, freelancers and agencies. You can’t manually review every piece of copy and creative they send out on behalf of your company—that will take up so much time 😬. Having clear brand guidelines is how you keep everyone on the same page.
Standard brand guidelines provide instructions for logo usage and placement, typography, colour palette combinations, and other design elements. Your brand guidelines should also explain the reasoning behind every branding decision. Say you chose green and sky blue as your brand colours because of your commitment to climate protection; you should mention this in your branding documentation.
After creating your brand guidelines, you'll need to keep the document somewhere handy—so anyone working with you can find the vital branding information quickly.
If you already manage your visual assets in Dash, you can link it with Corebookº to digitally present your brand guidelines. Any updates made in Dash will automatically sync with your online brand book—so your team always has access to your latest branding information. Take one of our customers, the ecommerce beauty brand Kinetics, who use Dash and Corebook to build a one-stop shop for all their assets and brand identity.
4. Have consistent visuals across all your brand’s channels
As we mentioned, 70% of brands in a Lucidpress survey said that brand consistency helped them grow their revenue. So making sure you’ve got consistent branding and visuals across your channels is really important. That’s everything from your different logo variations and colour schemes to your fonts and the type of images that you use.
Take one of our customers, Forthglade, as an example. They’re an ecommerce business that sells grain-free dog food. In recent years they’ve experienced loads of growth and are now stocked in some major UK supermarkets. Aside from having a great product, this growth has been partly down to their ability to maintain strong brand visuals.
From the quirky illustrations on their product packaging to their crisp, high-quality images—you’ll instantly recognise them no matter what channel you’re on.
And the way they keep a consistent visual identity is with Dash. 💡
Keeping all this gorgeous imagery in one central location means the team always has access to the most up-to-date brand assets. And, as the brand’s graphic designer, David, told us, it helps the team create new content for their campaigns.
“There’s a lot more collaboration between the departments with what each is creating. The ecommerce team, for instance, can see assets that have been uploaded by the sales team in case they want to use them in their campaigns. Seeing what others are creating sparks ideas.”
Here’s what Forthglade's Dash looks like.
5. Keep your brand voice consistent
Just like your visuals, you should ensure your brand’s voice is consistent across all your communication channels, too. If your brand archetype is the ‘feisty underdog’, for instance, make sure that’s reflected on your website, through to your emails and social copy.
For inspiration, look at how Liquid Death’s disruptive brand personality consistently shines through on its social, product and email copy.
6. Keep product information up to date
Providing accurate and current product information helps manage customer expectations. When customers have the most up-to-date information, they can make informed decisions about whether the product meets their needs.
It also prevents brand misrepresentation, as your team members have access to accurate, updated information at all times. For example, your marketing team won't create an ad for a feature or benefit your product no longer has.
You can keep updated product information in your DAM software. For example, fwip uses Dash Portals to ensure all their retailers can access the marketing assets they need to sell ice cream machines. Here’s a peek at one of their portals.
They also use Dash to keep product information (like allergen and ingredient information) up to date. This is really important for brand reputation and because customers need to be well aware of the ingredients in a product before purchasing it.
7. Use social listening to track customer feedback
Track what your customers say about your brand to know how satisfied they are with your brand presentation. Social listening tools like Mention and online review sites like Trustpilot help you monitor customer conversations about your brand.
No brand is perfect, and receiving a few negative reviews is nothing to panic about.. When this happens, communicate with your customers respectfully. Don't ignore or gaslight them—acknowledge your mistake and commit to fixing it.
Take food delivery brand, Eden Life, which offered customers compensatory meals plus full refunds for late deliveries.
How to keep on top of your online brand management
Brand management isn't something you do once and call it a day. Build brand management best practices into your routine business operations. Here are some tips on keeping on top of it all when things get busy:
- Schedule some time every month to review assets and make sure new starters and external partners have access to your brand guidelines. Don't wait until something goes wrong before taking care of your online presence.
- Invest in a DAM system, like Dash, to help you do the heavy lifting. You’ll be able to keep tabs on all of your visual content. That includes seasonable product images that you can only use for a fixed period of time and different variations of your logos and brand assets that only certain resellers are allowed access to.
To try it for yourself, you can get started with Dash for free with a 14-day trial.