Digital first: branding and personality

Brand is not a new concept – it’s always formed a central part in media creation and distribution. However, its role it plays and the forms it takes have changed drastically with the arrival of digital media. Today, branding is more important than ever.

Rich Keith, speaking at Bath Spa University in 2013, used the example of the Yogscast Youtube channel, which curates online content about video games. The channel has a strong branded personality which can be extended to different forms of media.

Disintermediation refers to the gradual elimination of the media barrier between the producer of content and its consumer. As digital media continues to gain popularity over legacy media, this process becomes more apparent.


A successful brand must achieve three goals:

  • tell a compelling story
  • understand its audience
  • create great content

With media diversifying more than ever, brands must be consistent across multiple forms, e.g. printed content, website, and app.

Many book publishers have been wary of moving away from the familiarity of print, resulting in digital initiatives which are not integrated with their print divisions. Magazine publishers have often taken a better approach, such as PC Gamer, which uses the same editorial team for its print and digital division.

There is also an increasing move towards “digital first” branding – brands are developed primarily for online use, with new content on the web before it’s in print. This is instead of merely transferring printed content to websites and mobile apps.


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