It may be a little different. The emphasis may not be the same as in a brick and mortar emporium. The perspective may be slightly skewed from “normal”. But branding does count.
And although search engine optimization is not very much affected by branding, most certainly branding can help drive traffic and induce linking in the era of Web2.0 social media. Perhaps those two benefits will persuade Internet marketers to examine their approach and design of web sites.
Add to that four more areas where branding helps marketing communication efforts. Those are:
A declaration of your uniqueness
That’s important in several ways. Traditionally, this uniqueness is measured by awareness of the brand. The more unique and the more media funding, mostly advertising, the higher the awareness. On the Internet uniqueness is also an important factor in building links with other marketers, usually bloggers, who are determined to reward uniqueness. And when this novelty is coupled with utility, dependability and economy, you have the right formula for generating referrals and viral activity on the web. (See my blogs about the )
A promise of benefits from your brand
Your brand, when all is said and done, is a promise to your constituents. If that promise is a benefit, and is creditable, and if the offer is affordable, sales are likely. This is true on-line and with brick and mortar businesses.
An indication of relevance to your target markets
The branding of an Internet offering must state the unique value proposition to consumers quickly, clearly and strongly. Quick is the key because people just won’t stick around if they don’t immediately see a benefit. You must get and hold them within five-six seconds or they’re off to the next promising site. But to make that quick connection, the brand must be clear, not confusing. That means through integrated image, headline and layout, a simple, relevant and compelling message must be delivered.
An invitation to develop a relationship
Although not confined to the Internet, relationship building has become all-important to Internet marketing since the advent of Web2.0 social marketing sites. Through blogging and RSS feeds, many sites stand out as “sticky” sites where ever-changing content worth reading and experiencing compels people to return again and again.
So the question is not “is branding necessary on the web?” The question is “how do you do it effectively?” Over the next month I’ll address that question with principals and examples so you, too, might begin to benefit from branding of the Internet.