Online has always taken a back seat to offline in brand building. Yet online offers the best options for building a meaningful brand, options that didn't exist only a few years ago. Companies without a solid digital brand strategy are literally being left behind as leaders build new digital brands.
Reflecting on the current state of online advertising, the majority of online marketers are doing a terrible job of building their digital brands. Advertisers are fighting tooth and nail to produce the world's worst advertising, actually destroying their existing offline brands in the digital realm.
For the most part, if one looks at ads that run during top TV programs or that appear in top magazines, one will find quality in the advertising (even if the ads are a bit dry and boring). But if one looks at a top web site and views a few dozen ads, it will be very difficult to find quality advertising. In effect, the bulk of the ads online do more harm than good to the brands they are trying to build.
In one industry after another, aggressive Internet upstarts are putting established brands at risk, creating very strong brand recognition and enjoying explosive visitor growth. The reason may have less to do with the established brands themselves than with their managers.
Marketers know what a brand is in the physical world: the sum, in the consumer's mind, of the personality, presence, and performance of a given product or service. These "3 Ps" are also essential on the World Wide Web. In addition, digital brand builders must manage the consumer's on-line experience of the product, from first encounter through purchase to delivery and beyond. Digital brand builders should care about the consumer's on-line experiences for the simple reason that all of themgood, bad, or indifferentinfluence consumer perceptions of a product's brand. To put it differently, on the Web, the experience is the brand.
[...] Taken together, this means that brands seriously impact shareholder value, which ultimately makes branding a CEO responsibility. A good brand name should: be copyright protected be easy to pronounce be easy to remember be easy to recognize attract attention suggest product benefits suggest the company or product image BRAND MANAGEMENT THE TOTAL APPROACH Brand management starts with understanding what 'brand' really means. This starts with the leaders of the company who define the brand and control its management. It also reaches all the way down the company and especially to the people who interface with customers or who create the products which customers use. [...]
[...] When marketers accept the idea that brand building can be accomplished on line, some spending on TV, radio, billboards, and other non-addressable media may migrate to the Internet. Getting Closer To The Consumer We believe marketers will soon start to use the Internet as a kind of testbed for campaigns planned for print, TV, or radio. One leading-edge marketer, London International, the maker of Durex condoms, is already trying out advertising concepts on its Web site before transferring them to other media where their effectiveness is harder to track. [...]
[...] First, the Internet model will set new standards for building relationships in the physical world, challenging many current practices and expectations. Second, a new concept, value exchange, will emerge as a core marketing capability. Finally, the move toward organizational structures and processes designed around consumers' experiences with specific products or services will accelerate further. New Standards In Relationship Management The Internet will set new standards for total relationship management in both breadth and depth. "Breadth" means that a relationship will increasingly last for the entire ownership experience, including the time before and after the purchase of the product or service. [...]
[...] These three elements—the promise, the design, and the economic model—together form the inseparable components of a successful Internet business, or what might be called a digital brand. In the field of marketing, brands originated in the nineteenth century with the advent of packaged goods. According to Unilever records, Pears Soap was the world's first registered commercial brand. Industrialization moved the production of household items, such as soap, from local communities to centralized factories. When shipping their items, the factories would brand their logotype insignia on the shipping barrels. [...]
[...] Digital brands such as Quokka Sports are building their entire businesses around immersive technologies. Such companies as GeoCities (which helps consumers express themselves by building and displaying their own Web pages) offer the promise of self- expression and recognition. Ralston Purina Dog Chow's site allows consumers to create home pages that display pictures of and stories about their pets. Clubs or communities offer the promise of belonging, as well as concrete advantages. Women, for example, can exchange stories and tips with one another at the iVillage.com site. [...]
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