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Opinion: How To Take A Digital-first Approach To Branding Your Business
Guy Utley
In a multi-screened society, customers are a simple click or tap away from seeing your brand. For this reason, it’s important to consider whether it is consistent across all media channels.

Many Yorkshire businesses have still not considered in detail how their brand may be applied in a digital landscape; these companies risk woefully being left behind. Others have merely touched upon outlining the basics of their digital brand, considering elements such as web safe fonts or colours; but there is still such a long way to go.

Digital branding should take into consideration how a brand’s content is consumed on all platforms, technologies and touch points, to which customers are exposed.

Digital-first branding is about striking the right balance between brand identity, personality guidance and rules on usability. I am not suggesting that a traditional branding process should be replaced.

Talented brand agencies do a very important job in identifying the right audiences, creating a core business identity, finding insights into market positioning and also the development of impactful messaging. But ensuring this is communicated effectively across all mediums, both online and offline is the next crucial step.



For any brand that has only scratched the surface of digital, a review of all current assets is required. Looking through all the current brand guidelines and examples of output to date, will determine which areas need digitisation. It’s critical to consider the whole digital eco-system. Having a purpose-built brand site is essential for displaying this and ensuring all stakeholders have an understanding of how your business would like your brand to be conveyed.

A brand site is an ever accessible, global direct access point to a wealth of your brand content including guidelines, graphic assets, photography, sales materials, typography, iconography or even digital code for developers to access. It is vital that everyone touching your brand has access to these components. This could be a development team working on a new app or and internal sales team working on presentation templates.

Audi is one of the latest big brands to undertake a digital-first approach. The business launched its new guidelines on their brand site which covers everything from basic appearance, through to user interface, and communication media. The guide states that they want the brand to breathe more freely and adopt a new perspective; a digital-first approach allows them to do this.

Audi’s new identity features a stripped-back redesign of the long-standing “four rings” logo that Audi maintained since its inception. The logo is now a flat graphic, set in either black or white, and used without the brand name underneath it.

There is nothing more soul destroying than an expertly crafted website with a new logo or icon set that does not perform well at different screen sizes or on multiple devices.

A logo with intricate detailing can quickly lose impact when reduced for use on a website or social media. But by removing elements such as strap-lines and other tiny details, a simplified digital friendly identity can be created.

As we move swiftly towards a more digital future, it’s so important to harness digital changes in order to remain competitive, build strong customer relationships and increase cross-selling opportunities.

Success in today’s market lies on how a brand controls their visual identity. The overall customer experience is what truly defines a brand. A study commissioned by Lithium Technologies found that 27% of 1,000 surveyed adults listed digital communication via a website, blog or social channels as their preferred method of communication with brands.

Designing a brand for digital first, before moving to print can lead to more creative thinking and will ultimately create a more exciting and consistent offering across the board. 

This article was written by Guy Utley, founder and co-director at Tall Agency

Opinion: How To Take A Digital-first Approach To Branding Your Business, 5th April 2019, 14:20 PM