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Corporate Internet Branding Fundamentals

Aug 17, 2007
The Internet is a ubiquitous Corporate communications and sales channel, however many companies are still not utilizing much of its power. That could be because of loyalties to comfortable old channels or that there aren't enough Internet marketing experts to take their brands into the digital realm.

Regardless of the hold-ups in leveraging internal or external Internet communications options, consumer and B2B channels are growing their share of the market. Resistance is futile and with this change in how consumers and B2B buyers are reached, is a change in the symbolism, voice, and style of promoting brands. That doesn't necessarily mean the Internet can't play a supporting role for your offline or TV advertising. For many campaigns, the Internet is just another conduit for sales videos and corporate brochures. Some are satisfied with this, however the Internet's own power to communicate and generate business shouldn't be underestimated.

The Internet, whether through public Web sites, search engines, Internet radio broadcasts, and e-mail are very targeted. It is shown to reach the right target at the right time with the right message. It doesn't matter whether you use a Web friendly, or search engine friendly approach to your online advertising and promotion. You need to be there anyway you can. It's too important to let it slide.

Internet branding is a term in increasing usage because branding can be adapted to be effective on the Internet. That's different from broadcasting your TV video ad or showing your marketing brochure on your Web site. With Internet branding, you're taking into consideration that viewers have searched around and seen many other products similar to yours. They may have reviewed many more product or service features than they would think about while watching television or casually reading a magazine.

Your customer's context then is different. The splashy video display generally isn't there and surprisingly, few people are interested in seeing it. They're pressured for time and want to find what they're looking for. If you understand their quest for knowledge, you can better shape your value proposition and even your sales pitch.

Active Internet Positioning

The Internet appears to be a passive marketing environment, but it's actually very active. To stay one step ahead of the elusive customer, you have to continually position your products and Web site to meet their needs ahead of time. An Internet marketing expert helps to tell you where people are going ahead of time. You may even position your brand better with this knowledge. You have returning customers whose loyalty you want to build and you have new prospects coming in searching and enquiring about different things. It's not easy to position a brand to meet all those needs. There are experts in the field who can help you understand Web visitors and help you build powerful Corporate Internet branding strategies.

It's easy to say you'll advertise to reach all the same prospects you did with your TV campaigns, but Internet audiences are different. And, advertising, such as search engine advertising can be expensive. You may not be able to afford to reach those same people. That means you may have to plan a way to reach particular segments of that audience with more specific features and benefits. Only after you bring them to your Web site and established credibility with respect to the product they're inquiring about, will you be able to present your corporate brand. Corporate branding is powerful today and corporate Internet branding even more so. You can introduce products more quickly and even reposition them more effectively. People see corporate brands all the time though and are not necessarily impressed that your corporate brand will make this particular product relevant to them. For instance, just because Nike makes golf equipment doesn't mean their "big mammoth driver" is the right one. The corporate logo won't be enough and forcing the brand on them isn't going to make them buy it.

Search Marketing

Instead, Internet branding strategies, particularly those that deliver targeted visitors to your Web site, ensure your establish credibility and relevance. Remember that Web visitors are in an intense state of consciousness. They're very often looking for something specific. If you want to get anywhere on the Web as a user, you have to have an idea of what you want, or you'll sit frustrated in front of your computer. Television and magazines are very different. The channels and pages in these mediums are limited and the prospect is captured. Not on the Internet. There are billions of web pages and hundreds of millions of Web sites.

With search engines, consumers can get help finding what they're looking for. High ranking sites get first crack at these motivated/directed consumers. Your corporate Internet marketing strategy should be heavily involved in search engine visibility. It is an opportunity to present your site many different ways to many different types of consumers. The potential reach is further enhanced because you have International reach and the cost of entry is so minimal.

Searchers are looking for quick solutions too. They're not looking for fancy graphics and complicated menus that fly out all over the place. They're looking for specific things about your products and services. Here, you have a low cost of adapting your brand imagery and communications to suit each group of visitors. Generally, it just takes another Web page designed and written for that group of consumers. You can fashion your homepage to let current customers get to what they're looking for as well.

After these searchers have found your products and services relevant to their search, your corporate brand will then have the power to make the sale and establish brand loyalty.

Intelligent corporate Internet branding adapts to the consumer. It de-massifies to serve each person as they arrive; yet it still delivers the corporate brand communication at the right time after the visitor is satisfied. Rather than a boastful in your face confrontation with the consumer, your corporate image becomes a helpful one and is relevant and timely. You get credit for being there when they needed you.
About the Author
From Corporate Internet Branding to extending brands on the Internet, BIG provides corporate clients with Corporate Branding audits, brand web design, and search engine optimization services.
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