In the internet space, branding means creating a great user experience. Internet branding moves beyond logo, tagline, key messages and graphic identity into the customer's real-time interaction with the brand, for the entirety of the online experience.
As web viewers are overwhelmed by too much information, increasingly chaotic schedules, and millions of marketing messages, competition for their notice has become a short-attention span theatre, where the victors are fast sites with "sticky" content and applications, intuitive navigation, and a user-friendly interface. These sites offer real value to those perpetually short on time.
The great irony of the dot-com advertising explosion is that TV, print, and radio offer phenomenal value in driving web traffic the first time. However, the spike in traffic will be short-lived if content and functionality are not compelling enough to encourage repeat visits, and unless the user experience provides the information the user needs when he needs it. If the user experience fails that simple test, the offending site has probably lost another customer forever.
Why is corporate internet branding so important?
The simple fact is that your brand is what sets you apart from everyone else and distinguishes your product or service from your competitors. When done properly, corporate Internet branding can help create high demand for a product, or even create a situation where a corporate name may become synonymous with a product type.
Your product or service is not being branded, the internet experience is.
In internet branding the fact your logo looks nice, your product is 'greener' than competitors, and your turnover is in excess of 30 billion are largely irrelevant. The way to increase sales by internet branding is creating a user experience that compels someone to buy from you by creating an experience that differentiates you from your competitors.
Four main factors in achieving this are:-
brand identity must be clear.
branding helps the Internet business to stand out from the crowd. Those companies that are most successful have a clear and concise brand identity. They may provide what appears to be a commodity service but the strength of their branding means that they have become the defining operator in the sector. Examples here include amazon.com which is setting standards in book retailing although it may not have been the pioneer and sells essentially the same items as other internet-based retailers.
Other brands have been developed much quicker on-line than they may have evolved in the off-line world. Companies that have focused on a clear branding strategy have defined the category in which they operate and they may even "own" that category. It becomes very difficult for a competitor to attain the same level of awareness.
Innovation has to be continually demonstrated.
innovation is a continuous process and that products and services should be constantly updated to survive in the hyper-competitive market-place. On-line this is all the more apparent as the nature of the medium can make it very easy to copy a good idea. Therefore, a major opportunity can become diluted very quickly.
In addition, the medium and its associated delivery channels are evolving rapidly and so on-line communications needs to be dynamic not just to keep up-to-date but also to take advantage of any opportunities offered.
Differentiation is absolutely vital.
It is important to offer something different. This may be obvious but differentiation has to be dynamic and sustained in an environment when an innovation can be quickly copied and on a global scale. Retailers may be selling from the same catalogue so incentives must be given to encourage the consumer to visit. This could include adding value through additional content but it is clear that price and product range are not differentiating elements of a company's overall offer. customer service and delivery are going to become areas where e-commerce will thrive or struggle. On-line communications are essentially individual messages quite different from the broadcast media of the past. Thus the extent to which communication are personalised and made relevant to the individual are crucial. Personalisation helps a marketer to offer unrivalled customer service and, moreover, it makes the service easier to use.
The consumer is in control
The consumer tends to be looking for something in particular and so mass marketing techniques are not appropriate. Consequently, they may only click when they have finished their task or on a later occasion. Consumers will choose if and when they wish to visit a marketer's website, so why do we feel the need to annoy them with pop up advertising, out of date content, broken links etc.
internet branding is not about annoying the user; it's about creating a rich user experience that ultimately results in sales.
If you are looking for a way to separate your business from your competitors, and create a strong brand, we can help. At 1stGMC, you will find an experienced team who have worked with both SME and PLC companies to deliver a real internet brand.
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