Name recognition is the one goal that every brand strives to achieve. Brands like Coke, John Deere, Marriott, Google, and Apple are recognized instantly around the world just by their logo. Brand recognition is one of many factors that impact consumer decisions for product consumption. Consumers may use a brand like Google or Apple every day without even thinking about the brand because they know what the brand will deliver in the form of value, trust, and functionality. Building a website is just one part of building your brand, and that is the focus of this article.
Consumers may selectively purchase one brand over another due to features, and benefits through deliberate engagement, or through passive activity. Deliberate engagement may include purchasing air travel that provides rewards in the form of points which can be applied to a future unrelated purchase. Passive brand engagement can be the selective use of one search engine over another. Brands have figured out to deliver their solution to consumers through mobile apps which allow users to interact with the brand without leaving home.
We can buy practically anything from Amazon because the website it brand agnostic. Using some mysterious algorithm, Amazon not only remembers your last purchase but also knows about other websites that you visited recently. The next time you visit Amazon, you will be rewarded with a stunning visual array of like-minded products to browse and completely new categories that you haven’t clicked through. Amazon provides a simple purchase process and shipping with just a few clicks on a smartphone. Consumers that are brand loyal, say to Macy’s or Nordstrom’s can also interact with a branded mobile app and place an order without dealing with the hassle of a trip to the mall. This is deliberate brand engagement and is a brilliant way for brands to provide a positive experience at the touch of a button.
It is rare for a brand to achieve overnight recognition, and it usually takes a combination of time, outstanding customer service and ongoing marketing efforts in multiple channels. Recognition is also developed from engaging with your customers, suppliers, and vendors. It comes with a delicate balance of understanding, compassion, the desire to be flexible, and a sense of humor.
Referrals Don’t Build Websites
There are a few brands that have been around for 30+ years, and they are experts in their respective field, but their website doesn’t tell their story. To be competitive for three decades with an ineffective website can only mean that they have built the brand through relationships and referrals, but not through effective lead generation. The lack of storytelling is more likely to impact privately held companies than corporations because shareholders would not continue to invest in a company with a poor marketing strategy.
If you have a single brick and mortar store, then your website must be optimized for local search. You need to understand your region, your competitors, and how your value proposition sets you apart. You need to state this clearly on your website because you need organic traffic to land on your page. Make sure that your store location, hours, and phone number are easy to find. If you have more than one location, make sure that each site is optimized for the area so that people can find you online. Imagine that you are in the landscaping business, but your website is not generating the right type of traffic and is not generating new business. Type a keyword or phrase search such as, ‘landscaping near me.’ The Search Engine Page Results (SERP) will show paid the paid advertising of your competitors at the top of the search results. The paid search results will likely be followed by maps, reviews and ‘how-to’ advice. It is unfair to click on a competitors ad (because you don’t plan to buy from them), so scroll down to review articles on Yelp, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack. You will find some common terms used by your competitors, and you will probably discover some things they do as well as your company, but your website doesn’t mention those services.
Search Engine Page Results Only Deliver High-Quality Web Pages
The internet has become a virtual foundation for every company. To be competitive online requires more than just brick and mortar space, and it’s true even for small, entrepreneurial companies. As the internet evolves, so do the requirements for website quality as search engines evaluate them. Search engines use algorithms to fetch, analyze and return web page results to users in seconds. When search engines change their algorithms, they don’t always publish the reason, and they certainly don’t publish the details. However, if a company begins to lose traffic, and the quality of leads declines, it may be due to a new algorithm. Understanding the value of your content, and how it is evaluated by search engines is critical in appearing in top-level organic search results. We do know that these algorithms can sniff out a poorly designed website or has poorly written content or delivers a bad user experience. Those websites will not appear on the first page of search engine results.
If the quality of a brand’s online content does not provide value to users, then the search engine will not provide top-level Search Engine Page Results (SERP) for your website. When a user types a keyword or phrase into a browser, the SERP will return pages in the form of paid search, followed by organic search. The top 3-5 ads are usually displayed first, followed by a ‘How – To’ Guide, and then organic results which are based on the value those pages provide. This is why the content on your website is so important. You must invest in communicating your brand, and value proposition in a way that naturally includes keywords and phrases that people use to locate a specific product, service, location, or solution. If a search engine can’t readily identify that information, it would probably be difficult for the average consumer to determine what you do as well.
Iconic Brands Don’t Sell. They Create Relationships.
Branding is more than a logo, is bigger than a tagline, is more relevant than your website colors and layout. Branding requires an identity that people can relate to and feel is trustworthy, and consumers feel good about it because of your impact on their community and world.
The Budweiser Clydesdale’s are an iconic American brand and recognized throughout the world. The horses star in commercials that represent team building, spirit, relationship, loyalty, and affection. Budweiser has perfected storytelling and has identified a clever way to speak to people’s emotion, without selling. Each tab of the Budweiser website reveals a unique piece of their connected brand story. If you want to use keywords effectively, check out how this brand does it in just a few words, yet delivers a rich story.
Build it Right and They Will Come
Your website is a reflection of your company and values. If you build a website with the intention of gaining traffic instead of qualified leads, then that is what you will get. If you build the website with the intent of targeting a specific audience that can identify with your product, service, or solution and you also provide valuable website content, then you are more likely to create relationships instead of traffic.
Incorporate Social Media to Build Your Brand
Developing the website is just part of the process for brand building. You also need to understand where your customers spend their time on social media sites. If you have a small business and can’t dedicate someone to monitor your social media 24/7, then facebook and twitter may not be the right place for your business right now. However, there are other great social media sites where you can build your brand and create engaged followers. Websites like Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin are all plausible sites where you don’t typically deal with trolls or their negative chatter. You can also follow businesses in your community that are important to your customers but are not direct competitors. Social media is about relationships, not selling. If you use it to sell constantly, then you’ll turn off your audience, and it will be tough to regain their loyalty. The more you engage with real people, the better your chances to increase brand awareness in a positive way. The goal of brand building is to create not only lifetime customers but also to create relationships.
If you need help building your brand, contact us.
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