February 21, 2008

Digital brand strategy? What’s that?

Digital brand strategy… or, what exactly is it that we do around here? (The sarcastic remarks about drinking coffee and Rock Band aside.)

Most often people assume, “oh, you guys design web sites.” Well… kind of. But not really. But sometimes.

See? It’s confusing. Let’s try and clarify. It starts with brand.

“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.” – Marty Neumeier *


“The brand is the platform, the brand is flexible, the brand is a place of exchange, and it is not fixed…” – Creative Review interview with Wolff Olins **

So… what is digital brand and digital brand strategy?

Digital brand is the emotional experience a person has with a brand through a digital medium.
Digital brand strategy
is the idea and execution that a person can build a relationship with a company (product, service, organization, etc.) using digital media.

While “digital brand” might sound like a tech-y sounding term, it isn’t about technology. Far from it. It’s the interaction, the reaction, and the emotion people feel when they engage with a web site, a mobile device, a kiosk, whatever. And yes, they do experience a full range of emotions: joy, sadness, frustration, celebration, anger, happiness… engagement or disinterest. The media is simply the vehicle; technology helps power this vehicle, but does not determine how the vehicle should look or function. The brand determines all of that.

When we think about digital brand strategy, it’s not thinking, “let’s build a web site.” You need a way to build a relationship with people. You need a way to create a dialogue with people. It’s creating opportunities – the platform – for brands to have conversations through digital media. These conversations build brands.

Do we design web sites? No. We create opportunities for people to build relationships.

Hope that helps clarify things.

More reading on brands…
* The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier (book and SlideShare)
** Article on Creative Review with branding agency Wolff Olins


  1. Digital brand is so important these days, good thoughts. And it must integrate with the offline activities, messages and communications too … yes it’s the experience, and the experience is supported or driven by the medium, but at it’s essence it still must be about visual and verbal brand. Good post, thanks.

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February 14, 2008

I choo-choo-choose you.

February 26, 2008

Comps? No… concepts.