How Does Digitalization Affect Brands?

by Seval Dogan, Senior Marketing & Special Project Specialist at Business Wire (Germany).

What do companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Nike, and Starbucks have in common? They, among other things, represent well-recognized brands. Their significance lies in providing a ‘filter’ when it comes to the perception of an offer. For instance, when you visit or buy a pair of Nike shoes from a sport store or when you seek to work for Apple, all these actions are associated with certain positive expectations based on your experiences and interactions with the brands of these companies.

However, even such powerful brands are struggling to cope with the demands raised by the digital transformation, widely known as digitalization. Digitalization changes how people communicate and organize their daily lives and will be continuing to do so in the future. Our lives are becoming interconnected and networked though technologies such social media and Internet of Things. Today, consumers are using digital communication platforms and technologies as part of their daily lives and they are becoming better versed in finding out the information they need. Digitization has changed the consumer behavior and as a result, their demands and expectations towards companies have changed. It enables consumers, customers and the public to have more access to information via different online channels than ever before. In particular, search engines enable access to information globally and provide more transparency about products, services, opinions and customer experiences. At the same time, companies are using the internet, social media and related technologies to get access to the consumers.

So, what does all this mean for brands? What are effects of digitalization on brands? Will there still be brands in the future? In other words, what role do brands play in the digital age? What influence does the digital transformation have on brands? Is digitalization threatening or benefiting established brands? What role will Public Relations play for the brand?

A recently published white paper of Business Wire provides insights to such questions. It is based on an in-depth expert interview with Christine Riedmann-Streitz, the founder and managing director of MarkenFactory GmbH, a Frankfurt-based marketing consulting and coaching company. She is also the author of the book “Hybrid Brands - a vision of the future for strong brands” . The white paper focuses on key challenges and practical implications that the digital age carries for brands, and for the competitiveness of companies in general. It also provides suggestions on how to take advantage of digitalization, as well as how to avoid some pitfalls such as the ‘digital burn-out’. Furthermore, it discusses the future of brands in the context of urban and metropolitan areas. Issues pertaining to public relations, conversational commerce, social media, digital assistants, algorithms and marketing automation are also discussed. According to Christine Riedmann-Streitz, digitalization “brings plenty of progress, economic efficiency, comfort and quality of life”. Brands need not only to invoke these benefits, they also need to be more humane. Christine argues for what she calls a ‘Humane Customer Centricity’ approach to brand marketing and management. The paper also provides some interesting insights on the role that PR could play in helping brands to be more humane.

Learn more in our white paper, which you can download for free.

Seval Dogan

Since 2013, Seval Dogan works as a Senior Marketing & Special Project Specialist for Business Wire - A Berkshire Hathaway in Germany. In addition to marketing strategy and planning, Seval also executes digital and traditional marketing activities in the D-A-CH region. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages (English and German) from the United Kingdom as well as degrees in Marketing, Communications and Business from Germany.