If you’re not online or on social media talking to your customers, your competitors almost certainly are. It wasn’t that long ago that quality plus advertising budget equaled brand loyalty, but as I’ve previously discussed that equation has drastically changed.

A Breakout Brand must go where its consumers go to truly connect with them. Given how the Internet has changed the way we interact with consumers, that also means putting your brand on display, for better and for worse. Both good and bad stories are going viral faster than ever, and nearly every news site out there has a “What’s Trending” section. Even mainstay programs like The Today Show have an Orange Room dedicated to following trending stories.

As such, it’s imperative that brands take the time to properly prepare to engage in the digital realm. I worked with our Vice President of Digital Development Abdul Muhammad to create a quick overview that covers the basics. If you want to know more details or get started, we’d love to hear from you

1. Define your goals and objectives from all major stakeholders and make sure they are in alignment. For example, the marketing department is going to have separate goals from the CEO and sales staff. Also, take the time to determine how many resources you will be able to dedicate to your online efforts.

2. Explore existing consumer relationships, current market infrastructure and sales funnel, so you’re familiar with the big picture before you dive in yourself.

3. Review and analyze your brand’s current online footprint. Look at whom you aspire to be, research what your direct competitors are doing and discuss your industry’s best practices with your team. Take this opportunity to identify influencers in your field and find out where your target audience resides online. To do this, you may need help – this is where rbb’s digital and social audit would come in handy.

4. Review analytics associated with all digital properties, including brand website traffic, social media community size and engagement, adoption of mobile applications, email analytics, newsletter readership, etc. Once the data is collected it can be used to drive strategy.

5. Determine the monitoring tools you will use to help benchmark results. All digital and social media efforts must be tied back to measureable results that you establish for yourself.

6. Review and get in sync with all current marketing plans. The best communications plans are integrated, mixing tactics that take place on- and offline.

7. Have a clear understanding of the products/services that make the largest financial impact, which will help drive your online strategy. For example, if you know what can cause the biggest financial impact (like capturing emails or driving to a specific page on a client’s website), then you can shape your strategy around that. Once your strategy is clear, you can build out additional tactics with the synchronized ROI goal in mind.

Are you ready to take the plunge and be a true Breakout Brand?