Your brand online or offline is one of the most important building blocks of the whole business and marketing strategy. The brand is the reflection of the image that your products and services create after adding the promises that the company makes about that their products.
The brand is an inseparable component of your business which makes you stand apart from your competitors. Online this is very important especially at the intitial stages of establishing an online presence of your company as people online search for products and services on search engines and other platforms on the basis of keywords that are product oriented or services oriented and thus land on your site where they get information about your company.
If the logo, brand name , tag line , color combination are catchy and leave a lasting impression on the visitor then the foundation of a brand is set as all this will have a recall value.
For example: Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Nike, Reebok, etc do not convey anything about their services from their brand name but we relate to the services offered by these brands the moment we come across their logo anywhere. In a way your brand name becomes synonymous to your product.
“There are so many parity products out there that the only way to
differentiate yourself from the others is to create an aura, an image,
around your brand. Consumers need a road map; they need to find
a way to get from their need to a product purchase that’s simple,
easy, not full of a lot of noise, and most brands get lost somewhere
between the shelf and the consumer mindset.”
—Karen Benezra, editor of Brandweek
Branding creates an image, an identity, carves a niche for your company presence in that industry and makes you stand apart from the rest . Branding has the potential of generating these benefits for a company, product, cpmmodity, group or a person.
Creating an online brand image for your company is no easy task. It requires a lot of planning and people propagating the online presence need to create a certain mindset to put forward the brand image on every platform the company has an online presence on, the search engines, the social media, the domain name, the website, the forums they interact on etc. so that, though there maybe innumerable companies online offering the same products and services as yours , your company stands out from the rest. Just like Coca-cola and Pepsi both are colas but have their own identity.
The 3 main components of establishing an online brand are :
Advertising + Marketing + Public Relations = An Online Brand
Advertising is the first step that every company needs to take in order to present an individual identity and inform its users about its existence in that industry.
Marketing is the strategic decisions taken to reach out to the users i.e whether to start a PPC campaign or to start with the SEO campaign is a marketing decision . Although advertising and marketing may be the same in some aspects, there is a charateristic difference between advertising and marketing. The main goal of both is to enhance consumer awareness of a product or service and to form loyal target customers and increase sales.
The options of creating an online presence are many and what will be the optimum fit for your business type shall solely depend on the nature of your business, the online advertising budget, the willingness and the knowledge of your marketing team.
There are various platforms available on the internet , for presence and promotion on the web. Some of them are as follows:
• Search Engines
• Email Campaigns
• Advertising Networks And Affiliates
• Web Directories And Portals
• Press Releases
• Social Media Sites
All these options when use should have a brand image and brand personality set by using the same logo, tagline, color combination and should deliver the same message for the product as only then with the constant presence and promotion of the product online an online brand will be established.
The main tool for online PR is the social media presence of the company. The PR helps you manage your digital assets ( your brand image is one of them) created by advertising and marketing. That is possible only if you have a voice on the media where your target audience is available and keeping in mind the current trend it is the social media sites mainly Facebook and Twitter. The beauty of these social media sites is that they can be used as a marketing and advertising platform as well as for PR.
Social media used for public relations is a very powerful medium as it has an exponential reach and helps in establishing a WOM which gives a positive boost to branding.
As Dharmesh Shah CEO of HubSpot had mentioned in one of his conferences that “Brand is what people say about you after you’ve left the room.” Hence branding and WOM mouth also go hand in hand.
The role of PR is very subtle but very important as what is said about you is more valuable than what you say about your self but what others say about you mainly depends on the quality of your product or service, the way you advertise and market it and the way you discuss it on social media.
The PR activities have a very wide reach on the web and if it is positive it will boost the organic search engine presence too hence if advertising, marketing and PR are simultaneously managed and implemented then each activity will supplement the other in return and in the process help you develop a brand which will have a long lasting impression on the online users or visitors. A good SEO campaign in return will focus on building a brand presence for the company with every off page effort it makes to boost the rankings.
I have said it many times but will mention it again that:
SEO is what you say about your company, the social media voice is what other say about your company and when both these versions ar in sync a brand and credibility is established which has a lasting impression on the minds of the users.
Founder of WebPro Technologies a Web solutions company based in India which focuses on building quality web presence for businesses. Bharati Ahuja is a SEO Trainer and speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant.