The Importance of Online Branding for Businesses

Online branding is an important part of a business’ marketing efforts. The internet age has created whole new demographics that businesses need to take into account as they go about promoting the brands associated with their products or services. The following is a brief overview of the internet branding issue – how it affects businesses and the reasons why it is important for businesses to consider.

What is Online Branding?

Branding in general is the process of establishing a brand in the minds of the buying public. It was realized long ago that creating a strong and recognizable impression of a business in the consciousness of potential clientele pays off. Things like a catchy brand name, a logo, and a brief descriptive catch phrase are examples of important elements in a brand as such. The branding process is the subsequent familiarization of this recognizable brand information with consumers.

Online branding is the use of the internet to accomplish this. Businesses are going beyond the initial tasks of simply creating websites that offer products or services for sale and which are found by search engines, and working to promote their brands in other, often more creative, ways. In addition to inventive and effective website design, branding can take place using social media that links back to sites, creative search engine optimization, by way of video on video sites, use of blogs, use of newsletters with opt in pages, by posting on forums, and many other ways.

Why is Internet Branding Important?

This entire process is important, as suggested above, because the internet has become such a powerful social and informational force. It represents the amalgam of a large percentage of consumer attention throughout a typical advertising day.

It has been correctly pointed out that while in the past the branding process, for instance through newspaper, radio, and television advertising, used to be a somewhat separate process from the actual purchasing of an item, on the internet these often occur together. Someone may buy by clicking on an adding an item to a shopping cart at the same time as they become familiar with a brand. This means that the whole approach needs to be somewhat more interactive than it has been traditionally, leading to some of the techniques mentioned above, particularly to the use of social media.

Now that you have idea what internet branding is all about and why it is important, let’s look a bit closer at why it is important for a business to implement:

Builds Identity

Branding in general builds a business or brand identity. This is its basic function. It often associates a brand with recognizable, intriguing, or pleasant images and in so doing makes customers feel both a familiarity and an affinity with it.

In the internet age, people expect a brand or company to have some kind of internet identity. People spend a lot of time online, and if the brand becomes part of their online experience, they will become familiar with it faster. They will also tend to associate it with interactivity, which is what the internet is all about. Use of the internet thus gives a brand an interactive, friendly, and accessible sense of web enhanced identity.

Increases Traffic to a Website

There is also the simple fact that branding increases traffic to website where users may potentially make purchases on the spot or later on. The more there is familiarity promoted on the variety of levels offered by the internet, the more likely it is that someone will visit a website. This may seem somewhat obvious, but if the branding process is limited to simple things like SEO this doesn’t build online identity the way other more creative and interactive branding techniques do. Thus it is very important that a business makes use of all or many of the branding avenues offered by the web.

Builds Trust in Reputation

Internet branding builds the sense that a company has a good reputation and that it is trustworthy. The internet is associated with accessibility and the availability of brand information. It is also associated with friendly interaction. These types of traits build trust in a brand.

For example, having a company blog can have a great double positive impact. You build a relationship with customers/prospects while at the same time branding yourself as an open communicator, and ranking in well in the search engines. For example, Fisher Investments blog does a great job of talking to their prospects while at the same time educating them and establishing themselves as experts.

Distinguishes Business from Competitors

Internet branding, like more traditional types of branding, distinguishes a product from its competitors. If people have a strong, engaging, and clear impression of a certain brand as being recognizably distinct from other brands offering the same types of products or services, they are more likely to see it as an option when seeking to purchase something. If the brand is not distinguished well and seems very similar to competitors, this can lead to a haphazard situation in which a consumer doesn’t care much which brand they buy. This does not offer much control of the buying psychology of consumers, and this is what businesses want to have. The internet offers businesses a big opportunity to make a brand seem well defined, original, and unique.

Follows the Interactive/Social Media Trend

The social media revolution, through combined entertainment/socialization sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and so forth, has changed marketing significantly. The trend called social selling is all about establishing friendly, unpressurized, social sorts of relationships with customers and using this to enhance sales. Internet branding works with the trend as well. As businesses use social media sites to present their brands in a friendly and social context, the sense of the accessibility and interactivity of brand increases.

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