What Is Digital-First Branding?

Our world is becoming an increasingly digital one. No surprise in that statement. And while one could reminisce about simpler times before “always-on” connectivity, those days – and the tried and true ways in which organizations once branded themselves during them – are quickly disappearing.

Equally unsurprising is the fact that companies have taken notice to the ever-growing shift to digital and are making adjustments to not only respond to this new reality, but to capitalize on the many opportunities it presents. In fact, according to a recent report by the research firm Altimeter, nearly 90% of the organizations they surveyed were currently undergoing digital transformation efforts – everything from e-commerce enhancements to greater focus on social integration.

So from a branding perspective, all is good, right? Crisis averted. Business as usual. Well, not exactly – and here’s why: Digital transformation doesn’t just mean increasing your digital investments or presence. It means acting, thinking and branding “digital first.”

But what exactly is digital-first branding?

Just like its name suggests, digital-first branding is a method in which digital implications take primacy in your brand’s creation and journey. This particular branding approach ensures that the experience, the look, the messaging, and the interactions customers have with your brand are consistent across a variety of digital touchpoints.

Unlike its traditional counterpart, digital-first branding acknowledges that brands are figuratively (and literally) in the hands of consumers – often via mobile devices. Therefore, digital platforms like mobile, web and wearables should take strategic precedence over more traditional marketing vehicles. After all, what good is a perfectly executed television commercial these days if your brand fails online?

Furthermore, today’s digital platforms enable brands to interact with users in ways that were once unimaginable. A digital-first branding approach embraces the fact that user experience is now an extension of a brand’s personality.

Far from a tweak to the traditional branding model, the digital-first approach is an absolute disruption. Rather than pushing consumers down a linear purchase funnel, marketers can direct their focus towards building ongoing relationships via digital channels that reach them directly. When done well, this enables brands to create a valued presence in the lives of their customers, leading to immense loyalty and profitability.

At Rhythm, we understand that modern consumers move effortlessly between digital devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables). We also believe that the richest brand experiences come from the digital channels on these devices. For these reasons and others, we’ve embraced a digital-first branding approach that better addresses the lifestyles and expectations of 21st century consumers.

There’s no denying that media consumption habits have drastically changed. The good news is that today’s brands have the ability to reach and interact with their customers in more ways than ever before. And digital is making this unimaginable opportunity possible.

Isn’t it time your brand put it first?