It's a brand new world. Branding is the key to enduring success for your business. Learn about branding in this article.
Branding is all about getting a concept in the heads of the customer. It's all about how the brand reflect and how the brand engage people.
Why is Branding Important?
Branding is important for most, but not for all companies. For example, I own a lot of ringtone websites that aren't doing anything else than ranking high in the search engines and serving it's visitors with affiliate links and PPC ads. For those websites, I couldn't care less about branding.
However, I also own other websites, such as e-commerce sites and websites providing various online services, where I have spent a lot of branding effort. Branding costs money, sometimes, but you could "brand yourself" or your company and products without having to spend a great deal of money. For example, branding starts with thinking, and if you put some effort into it you could learn a lot about branding.
Benefits of Branding
The benefits of branding include:
- Creates (a spesific, desired) emotion
- Motivates the buyer
- Produces credibility
- A clear message about your brand
- Creates loyalty amongst customers
Or, as in the oversimplified version of branding:
Successful branding makes you more money.
Branding on the Internet
There's a big difference about how one should deal with branding in the "real world", and how to deal with branding on the Internet. You're always dealing with people, but in very different scenarios.
11 Immutable Laws Of Internet Branding
If you want to learn more about branding on the internet, there's one book that I would recommend above any other, and that's The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding by Al Ries and Laura Ries. The first part of the book (first 110 pages) are entitled The 22 Immutable Laws Of Branding, same as the title of the book. You might find the second part of this book of greater value: The 11 Immutable Laws Of Internet Branding.
The 11 Immutable Laws Of Internet Branding:
- The Law of Either/Or contends that the Internet can be a business or a medium, but not both. You have to determine whether your brand should be a business on the Internet, or wheter the Net is just another medium to promote your brand. Either/Or...
- The Law of Interactivity claims that without interactivity, your website and your brand will go nowhere. We'd say that for a lot of sites that might be true, but it's not always the case.
- The Law of the Common Name says that if you choose a common name for an Internet brand, then that's the "kiss of death" for your business. For instance, they claim that barnsandnoble.com and bn.com is better brands than books.com, which is also owned by Barns & Noble. Could be, but again, it might not always be true. However, this is good new for all you domainers out there. Creative names might be better than just using common words as brand names.
- The Law of the Proper Name says that since your name stands alone on the Internet, you'd better have a good one. But what's a good name to use online? Authors propose your brand name should be...
- Short (i.e. Mac not Macintosh);
- Simple (Not the same as short! Schwab is short, not simple, it's using six letters from the alphabet);
- Your brand name should suggest the category of your business;
- It should be alliterative (example they provide is Coca-Cola, Blockbuster, Volvo, Donald Duck);
- Speakable (need to sound like a proper name);
- Make the name shocking (examples they provide: Amazon.com and Yahoo! provokes an emptional response, while Furniture.com and Cooking.com does not);
- Personalized (You have to become as famous as your brand... For example: Bill Gates & Microsoft, Donald Trump & Trump.com)
- The Law of Singularity claims that you should avoid being second in your category, at all cost (Singulatiry could be defined as the quality of being one of a kind). In the real world there's always a place for a number two brand, but online, you have to be number one in your category to succeed. This law is somewhat a futuristic view. As an example they come up with loads of online furniture businesses, but there's many of them and no one is the "first" in this category, unlike in the books category where there is Amazon.com. There may be no clear-cut-furniture leader on the Web today, but tomorrow is another matter...
- The Law of Internet Advertising states that advertising off the Net will be a lot bigger than advertising on the Net. I have to disagree with this law though. For big brand names this might be very true. However, for your ringtone CPC website (or whichever website in your online empire) this is not true. Unless you own a well-known multi-million dollar company, forget about this law. We'd rather claim that targeted online advertising such as PPC and search engine optimization efforts will be the major advertising methods for online small business.
- The Law of Globalism says that the Internet will demolish all barriers, all boundaries, all borders. That's true. However, I also want to add that you may still target local markets and national markets. It's not everywhere in the world they understand what "Saanko tarjota sinulle drinkin" means. You have the opportunity to go global, but local could sometimes be just as profitable.
- The Law of Time says "Just do it. You have to be fast. You have to be first. You have to be focused". The authors have some great examples to support this law. For example, Yahoo! was the first search engine, eBay the first auction site, Amazon.com the first book site. Fast. First. Focused. Sounds like a good law to follow!
- The Law of Vanity claims that the biggest mistake of all is believing you can do anything (Vanity means feelings of pride, or even excessive pride, about your abilities or appearance). When you're the leader, the authors suggest that you...
- keep your brand focused
- increase your market share
- expand your market
- go global
- dominate the category
- The Law of Divergence holds that technologies diverge, they don't converge (Divergence is the difference between two or more things that are expected to be similar). For example, radio is still radio, although I have AM radio, FM radio, car radios, headset radios, clock radios, and so on. Radios didn't combine, it diverged. The same is true for telephones, television, computers, they did not converge either. Most ideas, brands, and companies on the Internet are based on convergence concepts, the authors claim, and thus, they're more likely to fail. "Divergence is consistent with the laws of nature, convergence is not" (I.e., in evolution theory species diverge, they do not combine two species to create a new... I have a variety of dogs and cats, but not dogcats and catdogs). So I guess then, the message of this law is to diverge what you already have instead of adding something new, and if you have to do something new, then don't converge it with what you already have. Sounds valid enough to us.
- The Law of Transformation claims that the Internet revolution will transform all aspects of our lives. Oh yes it will! The authors serve us some famous examples of how the Internet have already changed our world: Paper diectories are doomed; Classified Advertising will shift to the web; The postal service won't be delivering as much mail; Financial services of all types will shift to the web; Internet Retailing will become a prime game. They have many other examples as well. What can I say? The Internet (and derived concepts of the Web) will really transform our lives in the future. We've only seen the tip of the iceberg. That's why I am focusing of Web-only strategies when making money online. If you don't learn how to make money online, then who knows what happes? When selecting your career you must be focused on the future: The next five years... ten years... fourthy years. It's a brand new world, and you'd better realize it before it's to late.
The 11 Immutable Laws Of Internet Branding is a thought provoking piece of work. It's not a perfect book, and it's not based all on facts, but rather it consists of the personal views from the authors and what they think of online branding. However, you absolutely should read it if you are serious about making money online. Then again, if you're really serious about making millions online you should probably pick up dozens of other books as well—we've recommended many good ones throughout the pages of my website.
Alltogether, The 11 Immutable Laws Of Internet Branding provides great value to everyone that is serious about building their brand online. It makes you come up with questions that apply to your website(s), and then forces you to answer them.
Branding... Do I Absolutely Have To Do It?
There's a big difference about how Amazon.com should go about branding their name, and how you should brand your measly ringtone website that we've spent only one day to complete... and now we're ready to move on to the next project.
Even if you're working on really small Internet projects, there could be smart to think strategically about branding from the start. You never know if one of your mesly websites will become a far greater success than you've ever intended.
More important though, if you're working with just one or a few websites (larger online projects), then you simply must think strategically about branding.
Either way, it's important that you think of how to go about branding, even when you're working with smaller projects.
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