What is Digital-First Branding and Why Does it Matter in 2022?

Let’s clear the air: digital-first means more than just posting content in electronic form and sharing a few social media posts. It also goes far beyond strategies like pay-online-pickup-in-store.

When customers use their phones or laptops to engage with you, they expect much more than a platform-based, transaction-driven experience.

With customers approaching your business from all sides, you can be sure they’re seeking a digital experience that considers the complete customer journey and all touch points.

And until you embrace a digital-first branding strategy for your company, you risk losing a lot of customers and money.

digital-first branding

What is Digital First Branding, and Why Does it Matter?


Digital-first branding, as the name implies, is a way in which digital implications take precedence in the design and journey of your brand. This branding strategy guarantees that your customers’ experience, look, messaging, and interactions with your brand are consistent across a range of digital touch points.

Digital-first branding, unlike its traditional counterpart, recognizes that brands are figuratively (and physically) in the hands of consumers – often via mobile devices. As a result, digital platforms such as mobile, online, and wearables should be prioritized above more traditional marketing methods. What good is a brilliantly crafted television ad if your company flops online these days?

Furthermore, today’s digital platforms allow firms to engage with users in previously unimaginable ways. A digital-first branding strategy recognizes that the user experience has evolved into an extension of a company’s personality.

The digital-first strategy is far from a modification to the traditional branding model, it is a complete disruption. Rather than driving customers down a sales funnel, marketers should focus on creating long-term relationships with them through digital channels that reach them directly. When done well, this allows brands to establish a valuable presence in their customers’ lives, resulting in high levels of loyalty and increased revenue.

Why Should You Adopt a Digital First Branding Strategy?

You Can Create Targeted Campaigns

A great reason to favor digital-first marketing is that it prioritizes targeted marketing on a level traditional marketing does not.

Some firms used to send out hardcopy newsletters to their clients and prospects before digital became the dominant route for communication between brands and their consumers. However, regardless of whether they were delivered to a 90-year-old grandmother or a 19-year-old college student, all of the newsletters were the same.

In today’s world, a business can segment its email list and create 100 different versions of the same marketing email to tailor content, offers, language, photos, and more based on demographics, the buyer’s journey stage, their purchasing history, and other factors.

Because today’s consumers expect brands to customize marketing messages, targeted emails are significantly more effective. When you approach your marketing and branding from a digital standpoint, you can shift your focus to targeted messages.

Enhanced Customer Experience

Consumers want brands to be responsive on digital platforms, which is another reason why a digital-first approach to branding is critical. In fact, 71% of consumers (age 16 – 24) feel that a quick response from your service team can drastically improve the customer experience. Furthermore, if clients use social media platforms like Facebook to reach out to you for satisfaction or a problem resolution and you don’t answer immediately, half of them will never do business with you again.

However, social media and other digital channels provide more than just a way to conduct essential customer service activities, they also provide a way to connect with your audience on a more personal and dynamic level.

Traditional brand interactions were one-way and static: a prospect would read your ad in the newspaper but wouldn’t be able to communicate with you through that channel. Brand engagements now take place in real-time, allowing for two-way discussion and meaningful exchanges between brands and their audiences.

It’s critical to have a digital-first approach that focuses on crystallizing your brand and taking advantage of digital opportunities to improve the consumer experience in order to offer a consistent image that’s in line with your goals.

Increased Flexibility

Another advantage of using a digital-first strategy for branding is that it allows you to be more adaptable, which is critical in a world where technology and consumer behavior are rapidly changing.

Take, for example, the impact of mobile search on digital marketing. Not long ago, digital marketers didn’t have to care about how their websites looked on mobile devices because no one used them for searching.

Now nearly 60% of web searches are conducted on smartphones and tablets, and brands have been forced to change the way they create and develop their online presence. If you don’t have a responsive website, your visitors will leave as soon as they arrive on a mobile device, and your faulty website will have a negative impact on your brand identity. When you approach your brand’s online presence from a digital-first mindset, you become more adaptive, agile, and ready to evolve when new technologies and trends develop.

New Target Knows Digital-First Branding 

New Target recognizes that today’s consumers seamlessly switch between digital devices like smartphones and tablets. We also understand that the richest brand experiences are found on these devices’ digital channels. So, we’ve adopted a digital-first branding approach for our clients that better matches the lives and expectations of 21st-century consumers. Contact us today!

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

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