Analog brands in a digital world: The real reason why export companies fail to engage prospects online.

In the second of two articles Sean Duffy, CEO and founder of Duffy Agency, talks about the importance of online engagement, brand identity and strategy. (You can read part 1 here)

Sean Duffy

When was the last time you updated your brand identity and strategy? Chances are you should take another look. That’s because conventional brand models, upon which most brands are based, were created for a different reality: They simply don’t take the new marketing landscape — defined by the internet — into account. Brands online today are exposed in a way that would have been unimaginable just five years ago. Aspects of brand identity such as purpose, narrative, personality and behavior need to be far more nuanced and interactive. What passed as an adequate brand focus then can look like a blur to prospects online today. And, no one will engage with a blur.

What’s more, prospects are assessing brands in greater numbers and at far greater speeds and through far more touch points than ever before. Brand communication needs to be tailored to the digital environment to be more immediate and address the behavior of online prospects and customers. Whether launching a new brand or trying to boost the online performance of an established brand, chances are you will need to reexamine the brand’s basics to attract, hook, and engage more people online.

Drawing on work with dozens of online brands, we have an outlined a process that can be used to increase online engagement at its source — by updating your brand to appeal to a wired buyer. You can download it here for free. This will help your brand engage its online audience in a manner that will not only increase sales, but also drive loyalty and advocacy after the sale.

We have observed that the strongest brands in their categories tend to be the ones with solid organic engagement. That is, brands that people want to engage with even when they are not prompted to do so. This signals that the brand is striking a chord with consumers on a much deeper level and, therefore, is less dependent on tactics to attract engagement (or customers). To really move an online program to the next level, you should ensure that the brand’s strategic foundation has been optimized for online use. Once that is done, use short-term tactics to fuel that engagement and provide the occasional boost.

Whether launching a new brand or trying to boost the online performance of an established brand, chances are you will need to reexamine the brand’s basics to attract, hook, and engage more people online. That starts with reexamining how your category, value proposition, and position are communicated, and how these elements are supported by your brand profile. This isn’t so much about changing the brand as it is about updating the way you profile and communicate your brand online.

If your brand strategy hasn’t been revised yet for today’s digital environment, then this guide will help. This guide began its life as part of an introduction to strategic online marketing for graduate students and entrepreneurs. Duffy Agency has since expanded it to provide business owners and brand managers with a conceptual framework and step-by-step advice to focus their brand offers online. As you might imagine, this will also focus these brands offline.


Visit: Essentially, people just showing up, which increases web traffic.

Consider: Visitors hang around and consume content. This increases time on page, which is good for SEO.

Acknowledge: These are likes, rating, favoriting, essentially, pushing a button. They’re low engagement activities, but do provide a public receipt that content was consumed.

Contribute: Taking the time to reply, leave a comment, or chat online.

Follow: People subscribe to your channel or RSS feed, which provides a passive channel of contact to these subscribers.

Information: This is submitting personal data, like filling out a survey, which provides marketing intel.

Permission: People submit an email or a phone number, which enables further one-on-one contact.

Create: People add things they’ve created or curated, like posts or pictures that enrich a brand’s content.

Amplify: People share content with their proprietary audience and, in the process, promote brand awareness.

Advocate: This means actively endorsing your brand to their proprietary audience, which, in addition to promoting awareness, also fuels understanding, interest, and trust in the brand.

Convert: Perform the highest order ask on the asset — typically downloading, trying and/or buying something, or linking somewhere.

Read more:

Full engagement guide:

Topics: Sales & Marketing
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