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Is Physical Branding Still Important for Your Business?

When a business is forced to segment an advertising or branding budget between physical and digital media, it might feel tempting to divert a majority of the budget toward digital signage and ad space, but make no mistake; physical branding is — and always will be — an absolute cornerstone for a successful business.

The good news is that physical and digital branding don’t need to be mutually exclusive endeavors. You can use them effectively together to introduce your brand to the right consumers. 

No matter your company’s product or service, physical branding remains the standard for modern advertisement and brand exposure in the world.

The Rise of Digital Marketing

This year, digital marketing across distinctive mobile, social, email, website, and search engine channels is forecasted to account for roughly 46% of total global advertising expenses. Total investments in digital media will near $120 billion over the next five years

Why Digital Branding Is Essential

Digital branding is important for modern brands, especially brands hoping to establish or expand their reach through online means. With the capacity to reach customers across nearly any device, digital marketing has quickly become an important outlet for companies looking to engage with leads, and transform potential consumers into returning buyers.

One recent Digital 2019 study indicates that each day, we spend a staggering six hours and 42 minutes online in some capacity. An increase in online users — and online user time spent shopping, sourcing news, communicating, and enjoying entertainment — indicates a clear growth trend: concerning total reach and total spend, digital marketing could soon outpace traditional, physical branding.

Even businesses that mainly benefit from word-of-mouth advertising and foot traffic can benefit from basic digital marketing. Despite a surge in the popularity of digital marketing, and its proven efficiency, less than 64% of small businesses have an active website. Taking the time to populate a website, launch social media pages, and create popular online directories like Google My Business and Apple Maps can go a long way toward optimizing your online presence for increased exposure.

Adventurous business owners can also pursue automated or manual email marketing, paid search engine advertising, and content marketing as alternative avenues to scale traffic and build a passionate online consumer base.

Why Physical Branding Is Essential

The current surge in the popularity and vitality of digital marketing does little to negate a need for effective physical branding. Physical branding remains essential for a wide variety of businesses, even for e-commerce brands who complete a majority of their transactions online.

Current industry trends certainly support the continued vitality of physical branding. In 2019, American advertisers spent nearly $3.5 billion on out-of-home billboards. By 2023, that figure is estimated to reach $5.3 billion. One comprehensive case study on retail signage further revealed that brands like H&M, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Starbucks have launched deliberate sign strategies in successful attempts to draw eyeballs and evoke specific customer reactions.

Physical branding allows businesses of all sizes and applications to reach consumers throughout the day. That’s exactly why 27 million business cards are reportedly printed every day: businesses of all sizes and services are fighting to remain top-of-mind for consumers approaching buying decisions.

A wide variety of still-thriving physical branding applications mean a variety of opportunities for vendors to passively or actively influence customers. For example, physical branding across packaging helps build brand loyalty, and stamp the products you receive as unique and dignified. From specialty smartphone packaging to cereal box designs, physical branding broadcasts a consistent message in a way that digital marketing never could.

Physical branding also allows employees to craft a comfortable, productive workplace that remains liberating and personalized. Office managers can ensure that a well-aligned corporate mindset begins with appropriate branding. 

Avenues for in-office branding include backlit lobby signs that foster interest in waiting customers and custom office signs which help you claim your office space as your own, among other options. Affordable estimates through fast quotes make custom-created physical branding a no-brainer for nearly any workspace — inside or outside your place of business.

Combining Physical and Digital Branding

Comprehensive modern marketing calls for a combined branding approach, to reach your customers across both physical and digital divides. Communicating visually with consumers will help your brand expand its reach across all channels.

Advertisers who use both physical and digital branding together can accomplish marketing goals through several of the following applications:

  • Active and passive marketing campaigns, working together to pursue customers digitally through social media advertisements, while layering physical branding at popular locations;
  • Personalized marketing messages, catering to target recipients of industry-specific publications with individual digital branding of similar products or services;
  • Multi-channeled branding campaigns, where digital television, radio, or streaming ads might echo, continue, or reframe similar messaging from physical branding across billboards, promotional materials, or other mediums.

Together, physical and digital represent effective methods for inspiring customers to act. In helping to generate interest and commitment from consumers, physical branding remains ever-essential for nearly any business, especially a company reliant on visual branding and catching the right eyes at the right time.

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