NCET helps you explore business and technology
By Thaison Kawal
Brand-building in the digital age feels daunting. How do you learn about your audiences? What are “channels” and how do you use them? How do you make your website and social media efforts matter?
The Abbi Agency in Reno just finished development of a cohesive brand for Butte County in California, and our process likely holds promise for other organizations building their own brands:
1. Start with research: Whether you’re launching a new brand or re-branding, research is the first critical step. Get the research wrong, and your entire brand can strike the wrong note. You’ll struggle to connect with your intended audience. Get it right, and your marketing efforts are immediately set up for success. Don’t rely entirely on formal research. When The Abbi Agency began work on “Explore Butte County,” we got away from our desks to explore hiking trails, visit coffee shops and interact with locals. We came away with good understanding.
2. Create with people, for people – Your website or social media presence is far more than merely your “digital business card.” It’s about the authentic experience that your customers, your employees and your community have with your organization. In our recent campaign, for instance, The Abbi Agency decided to tell stories about Butte County that reflected real-life experiences. We used Butte County locals and travelers, not polished models, to capture these experiences in the photos and videos on the Explore Butte County website and social media.
3. Guide people with cohesive experiences – Once you have assembled your research, give careful thought to how different groups of people might stumble across your organization online. Plot out pathways to support them in their fact-finding.
As we worked with Butte County, we established our social channels, knowing which aspects of the county would appeal to which audiences on which channel. We built a segmented, responsive website with itineraries that would help different types of users plan a trip.
And only when that work was done did we finish the job that too often is done first. We established an overarching brand identity — logo, tagline and typeface — that’s now the public face of the destination.
Not every organization is marketing a visitor destination, but every business can learn from what we did in Butte County. By putting people, authenticity and experiences first, your business can better connect with desired customers. From there, if you continue to build trust and deliver on your promises, you may find yourself welcoming new customers to your business every day.
Learn more about building a digital brand at NCET’s Tech Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m September 13 at The Abbi Agency, 1385 Haskell Street. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. Register for the event and get more info at NCETwed.org.
Thaison Kawal is the creative director at The Abbi Agency, where he oversees brand development and designs visual elements for websites, marketing materials and other creative assets.