Web Branding Matters

By: Scott Lindsay

There is a new concept in branding: online branding. If you want to know exactly what that means, you only have to take the traditional definitions of branding and adapt them to the Web. Then you'll get a simple definition: online branding makes your visitors believe that you are the only answer to their problems.

Every business has a brand; so don't go around saying "I don't need a brand". You have a business, the business has a name, and you've created a website, so... welcome: you are in the world of the online brands. It's nice here: brands evolve, brands decline... it's a tough world, but if you can manage to create a powerful trademark you are in for a great treat.

Why Is Online Branding Important?

An online brand is the experience a consumer has with you and your products. You have to make your clients feel good about their choice.

Online branding is not about placing your company logo on the upper left corner of a web page. Your slogan could sound all mighty for you, but slogans are made to be spoken: it's hard to do that online without annoying your visitors. Writing your slogan in bold letters may work, or it may not. So how do you succeed if two of the most important branding elements are doomed? They are not. They just don't work online as fast as other tools.

Brands should trigger emotional feelings that will determine consumers to buy. A good slogan could work, but it is not enough to have a slogan if the contents of your websites are not supporting its message. So what is your message? What should your potential clients really know about your brand? Is it reliable? All brands assert the same. Is it the best on the market? When it comes to an online brand people just need to know the real advantages and benefits.

At Burger King you "feel the fire", Coca-Cola… you "love it!" Philips is about "sense and simplicity" and Panasonic gives you "ideas for life"... All these global brands have something in common: they back-up their slogans with powerful online and offline branding efforts. If you look at their websites you'll notice they are all incredibly designed, user friendly and rich in valuable information. For example customers landing on a Philips page understand right away what the "sense and simplicity" motto defines. So when you build up your online brand make your values stand out.

Creating an Online Brand

Online branding is a science because the Web is evolving faster than brands. It is hard to build up an online brand, but not impossible. What do your customers first think of when they see the name of your company online? If your answer is "nothing" you are on the wrong path. When you build a brand online you have to force it and reinforce it. Force your customers to grasp it and once they do, remind them of their choice: newsletters, articles, press releases, emails, free giveaways and so on.

You cannot create an online brand if you disregard a few important aspects such as understanding your market and the reflection of business values through your brand. Success comes in little steps - branding is still a time-consuming and costly process. Yet online, there are some free opportunities. However, unless you are a branding expert yourself, you need professionals to take care of your branding campaigns.

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