How Important is Your Brand If Promoting Online?
I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently on what makes a good brand. I’m not just talking about coming up with a catchy name off the cuff. More so about coming up with a single name that can work both online and offline and across all media types within those outlets. Coming up with a business name is easy. Coming up with one that is memorable, available to register domain wise (.co.uk/.com) and also having the ability to acquire social handles such as fb.com/brand/ or @brand on Twitter is extremely challenging. Virtually impossible almost unless you’re prepared to open your wallet but with enough thought, time, effort and money it really is possible to achieve brand perfection.
It seems more and more companies are rebranding for one reason or another. My web host recently went through a successful rebranding phase for a variety of reasons, some which I thought were necessary, some perhaps not. But you can’t deny the result, in their case anyway has worked.
Making the decision to rebrand if you’ve got an existing business and existing customers is significantly more difficult than starting a new brand in my opinion. At least with a new brand, you’ve nothing to lose, if you get it wrong you get it wrong. You just move on. With an existing business, get it wrong and you could start to lose all of the trust, authority and credibility your business has built up over the years. This is why any rebrand needs extremely careful consideration.
The Domain Name
Choosing the right domain name can be a challenge in itself. You really need to have it the same as your business brand as opposed to using something generic such as widgets.co.uk if you sold widgets. This is useless for brand recognition even if there are benefits on the marketing front. You also need to be able to secure all extensions of the domain name. The last thing you want is to come up with a great domain name that’s available in .co.uk but someone else is using the .com. Even if someone is not using the .com, you really need to acquire it to stop someone else using it in future. You don’t want to waste time building a brand on the .co.uk only for someone to come in and piggyback off your success on a different extension. Given the importance of social media you should also make sure that the chosen brand is available on Twitter/Facebook. Getting these brands if they’re taken but dormant is possible but it can be a long-winded process so if you have the choice, choose something where you can register them straight off the bat and save yourself the headache.
Corporate Identity / Branding
Your brand in essence is more than just your company name or domain name. It’s your entire corporate image. You need to choose a style that suits your business but also shows that you’re a professional outfit and worthy of your potential customers business. A good logo and a professionally designed website can go a long way to enforcing your brand identity so I consider these factors to be equally important to the company name itself. It’s useless spending time and money building your brand if you’re leaking customers all over the place because your brand identity is weak or your website doesn’t instill the trust it should.
Online marketing is one of those things that are becoming tougher and tougher as time goes by. Primarily due to competition in any given sector but also due to the difficulties in social and search engine promotion. It’s a tough job to get recognised and many people fall at the first hurdle by not having a brand/domain name that is even capable of being promoted.
Search engines in particular are becoming more of a challenge which creates a chicken and the egg scenario. Search engines such as Google favour brands and big brands at that. Yet how do you become a big brand if you can’t get the customer base to begin with? This obviously presents problems for even the most experienced web marketer.
To become a brand, you need people talking about your company, searching for your company and ultimately using your company for the product or service at hand. If you can crack that then you’ll find your online marketing task a whole bunch easier.