Branding on the Internet
Brand leadership is the foremost motivating factor for consumers. It establishes legitimacy and the perception of quality within a category. To take advantage of this opportunity, differentiate yourself from the competition by establishing a new segment to lead.
Internet branding practices also require choosing a catchy and concise domain name, developing visual appeal, integrating social media into a SEO strategy, and properly devloping search engine optimized interactive content. An initial focus on these activities will have you off to a good start when developing brand market share.
While rounding these bases however, but in place processes to regularly assess search engine rankings, analytics, content, structure and performance. Even if the other basics have been covered, fail at this and you could will weaken your value proposition and diminish the brand.
Putting in place business and promotion strategies to gain awareness around your Internet offering is key to its short and long term success, while presenting your brand in a dynamic, interactive and informative manner attracts repeat visits. The use of social media is on the forefront of conventional branding wisdom - publicity is the very best way to grow a brand. Youtube, Linked-in, Facebook, Blogs, Tweeter, and Forums allow you to create trust within a community by educating visitors about your products or services, while building organic link-backs to your site (see SEO).
Just as proper planning is required to maintain brand share when widening a product line, consideration is also required when engaging with the Internet as a medium. Brick and mortar success does not necessarily drive interest on the Web. Internet branding has become a science, adapt it wisely and develop the next segment leader.
Fundamental to Internet leadership is having a highly perfoming interactive web site. This, combined with other more traditional elements of branding, including a well designed logo and unique value proposition, will help ensure success on the Internet. A poorly performing, non-iteractive, web site on the otherhand, even with other traditional elements of branding fully covered, only diminishes your brand strength and weakens your product image.
The basic rules of logo design continue to be applicable on the Internet. Conventional branding wisdom tells us that horizontally shaped logos that apply a distinct typeface and color are the best logotype. It is said that the best ideas are simple ones, and that is certainly this is the convention here. Applying an unobscured logo to your site is not only easier to perceive and remember, but it also provides the greatest flexibility for marketing and advertising in the future. Your logo color can be used strategically to differentiate you against your competitors (using an opposite color) or align you with partners (using similar or complimentary colors).
Your site's search engine ranking, design, interactivity, structure, content and performance all speak to you visitor and tell them who you are; are you a well established and committed Internet leader; do you provide me with an interesting user experience wanting me to come back for more? In addition to careful branding, thoughtful design and performance, business and promotion strategies must fully exploit the core value proposition that the Internet affords – interactivity. The key to Internet businesses is to present the brand in a dynamic, interactive and informative manner. Examples of this include: auctions, best- price, suitability, what others are buying, ratings, blogs, newswires and more.
The use of social media is on the forefront of conventional branding wisdom - publicity is the very best way to grow a brand. While Internet advertising is still at its infancy, demonstrated by the continued use of conventional advertising channels by major Internet players, public relations opportunities are bountiful. Blogs and forums for instance, allow you to create trust within a community by educating visitors about your products or services. Digg and StumbleUpon allows users to discover and rate whitepapers or news articles about your products, while building organic back-links to your site at the same time (see SEO). YouTube facilitates the sharing of short videos about your service. Linked-in provides business networking that can be used for promotion purposes, Twitter provides micro-blogging at the mobile level, and Facebook creates a buzz amongst friends.
Brand success on the Outernet does not dictate interest on the Internet. In fact, history has shown that very few brands have been able to extend themselves across different medium. Proper business planning is required to not fractionalize a successful Outernet brand. The decision to maintain your existing name or to adapt an entirely new one is just as critical to branding success as widening or narrowning a product line; a brand is always strongest when it is tightly defined and narrow in scope.
Written by: Bruce Yeager, See References