Do you believe that the online presences for your company and brands (traditional web, or social media) are making the best use of your brand equity to drive loyalty among core customer/audience segments?
What's the single biggest gap between your site experience and your brand messages?
Most websites are really simply advertisements. The value of their contribution to sales is to be measured by—in relationship to competitors’ advertisements. So a website has no branding value, except in relationship to competitors’ websites.
Some websites are actually tools, usually a service tool to facilitate some aim toward sales. Again, their branding value is in relation to competitors’ tools.
Relatively few websites are communities with tools. The community itself frequently has value due to its networking effect among the members. Here, the website itself has value, and this value can add or subtract from the brand.
Some websites have promotional capabilities (e.g. SEO, email, good domain name), and this promotional capability (not necessarily the website itself) has value, and thereby affects the brand.
This last factor—promotion capabilities--always affect brand, because competitors may have better promotional capabilities and search engines allow for brands to be advertised by competitors (e.g. competitors using brand names’ words in Google adwords).
Traditional branding usually refers to “mindshare” or “as a value the buyer is willing to pay more for simply because of the name”. My opinion is that branding has diminished in value because search for information is much easier nowadays. In the past, branding was a stronger influencer on assurance of a certain quality, due buyers’ inability to search for competitive information as easily.
So, in my opinion, branding is a lesser important factor with websites. Commercial websites investments should be thought about more in terms of capabilities and possibly networking effect. My opinion is that branding as a “promise” has lost perhaps 10 to 15% of its pricing value due to the web, and that discussions about branding and the web are frequently missing the new marketing growth areas with the web, which have more to do with web capabilities and promotions.
Branding still has value and power, but I think the language of the web should be more about capabilities and promotions, as very few people actually consume HTML.
Labels: web and branding