Offline and online branding have an important agreement: success is related to the long haul. Building a brand, that's what branding in all simplicity, requires patience and consistency. Whether you place a full-page advertisement in a glossy or invest in an AdWords campaign, they both influence the way the market experiences your brand. That is, after all, another agreement. What about the difference between offline and online branding?
How long has it been since you sent a business letter or paper invoice? Or such a legendary 'letter with a bobble', meant as a gift for your loyal customers or as a promotion for a new product? Long, I suspect, because today the frameworks within which marketing takes place, for the most part, correspond to the edges of the screen of the laptop or smartphone. Do you no longer need stationery and business cards?
Anyway. The internet economy runs parallel to the network economy and giving away a ticket or sending a physical invitation to your corporate event retains their strength. Just like many other tangible ones promotional means support your online performance. Think of a printed brochure or catalog or office accessories with your brand image, if you are in business services. And what about working clothes with your logo and company name if you are active in the construction or installation world, for example? Every bit helps with branding.
From creative advertisers to cross-media prodigies
Many an advertising agency will recall the good old days in which they generated impressive turnovers with spectacular print advertisements, TV commercials and life-size billboards and won prestigious professional prizes. That time is gone forever, although larger brands still use offline media such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Smart advertisers turned themselves into cross-media prodigies; others specialized completely in online marketing and communication.
Okay then, the differences between offline and online
My estimation is that offline and online branding will always complement each other, but that they both ask for their own specialists, which is related to - indeed - crucial differences. To get one straight away: in traditional, offline branding, the emphasis was mainly on creativity. There was a hint of artistry around advertisers. Bee online campaigns the focus is on analysis, data applications and technology. Creativity certainly plays a role, but not the main role. Other significant differences are:
- Offline branding has a high threshold, if only for media costs, where online marketing is pre-eminently accessible. Only mandatory numbers such as the business card, printed matter and the business account are included as standard.
- Offline branding is passive; the message is offered unilaterally. Online branding is interactive; the messenger and receiver seek each other out and enter into dialogue
- The return (ROI) of offline branding is difficult to quantify, while with online branding everything is visible and measurable
- Offline branding is aimed at the masses (shooting with hail); online branding is ideal for target group differentiation and targeting
Dept: "Digital is the only place where you can do your branding"
Offline and online - more than the sum of its parts
Larger organizations in particular will meet both offline and online brand awareness continue to work, with the various efforts reinforcing each other. Logical that they do this, because if you brew a world-famous beer, you have larger budgets to spend, which removes all the barriers. After all, you are assured of a large reach through traditional media. Via online channels, including social media, you can share brand values with very specific target groups and offer special, interactive content that adds a dimension to the brand experience.
If you are a single-person or SME, you will be using the low threshold and effectiveness of online branding. But then too can physical promotional means make the difference. Because of the low threshold of online marketing and branding it is busy on the net and it is not easy to keep distinguishing yourself. Here, too, the following applies: the use of offline resources can strengthen your online performance and if you make smart choices, that always delivers more than the sum of its parts. That printed, hand-signed invitation or that illustrious "letter with bobble" can, if developed and created with the necessary creativity and perfectly timed, perform miracles.