Typically, the things we might associate with branding are the following: A logo is #1 for sure, then there are the types of products that brand puts out, what their storefronts look like, and lastly, what one might call their voice – the ideas and notions that make them up as a company.
For a company like Amazon, one might associate things like the Amazon ‘swoop’ that’s attached to all of their packages, the Kindle, and speedy delivery and (typically) excellent customer service. These components are all part of the Amazon brand, for sure.
But most people would also associate Amazon.com with all of these other elements. Ecommerce was, after all, how Amazon got started. Amazon’s website is a core part of the Amazon brand.
But it isn’t just Amazon that derives a lot of potential value from their web presence – it’s every business, really. Whether it’s a social media channel, or simply a blog, how a business represents itself on the web isn’t simply another means of providing customers with a way to interact with that business – it’s an extension of their brand.
So what does that mean for businesses?
It Needs to Look Professional
Gone are the days in which it was ‘okay’ to have a website that was developed in MS Paint by your cousin’s nephew. Now, businesses are practically being forced to invest money into their web presence and in new technologies in order to keep pace with their competitors.
And it’s important that every business has an online presence that they think will adequately reflect their own business goals, because things like websites, and social media channels are perhaps the first portals that people will be turning to in order to find out anything about a business. Then they might call them, and then a transaction might be made.
But chances are, it won’t happen the other way around. Now, more than ever, people are turning to the web to get basic information and reviews regarding businesses. To better inform themselves of the accreditation of that business before they reach out to that business – to learn about their brand.
And frankly, if that business has a crummy website, and puts absolutely no effort into their social media channels, that first impression won’t exactly be glowing.
It Should Reflect Your Unique Brand Voice
Beyond being professional, an online presence should also adequately reflect how a business wants to be perceived by its consumers. A business shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions like: “Who are my consumers? What do they love about my business?”
What that means is that on the web, a brand’s content should reflect how they want their consumers to perceive of them. If consumers are used to a quirky, fun place in-store, and then are suddenly introduced to a rough-and-tumble tone online – through social media, or blog posts – they’ll most likely be turned off.
That’s why it’s important to maintain consistency between offline personality and online personality. Customers like consistency.
Things like social media and websites are no longer optional, as they were just several years ago, even for small businesses with limited resources for marketing.
Still, there are plenty businesses can do to positively reflect their brand on the web without spending an excessive amount of money. For one, taking the time to build out a good-looking online presence through a platform like Virb or WordPress would be a great starting point, both of which are inexpensive. Another important step to take would be to ensure that cover photos and profile pictures on social media presences are updated and look god.
These things aren’t exactly expensive, they just might take time. But from a consumer’s perspective, the value in a lot of these components is incredible, and is undoubtedly worth the additional time commitment (and possible investment) that it might take to create an online presence that truly reflects that brand in a professional manner online.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester social media company based in NY specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.