Online branding consists of how you go about differentiating your company and your product from your competitors in the marketplace. The online part implies that you will use the World Wide Web as a key component in your branding strategy, regardless of whether your company’s primary business is online or whether your online presence is merely another dimension of your branding strategy. The goal of branding, simply put, is not to build customer awareness but to build customer loyalty.
The first thing you need to do in order to build your brand is identify your customers. What is the most likely demographic for you to draw your customers from? Once you know that, you will need to figure out your message. How will you make your online content both relevant and engaging?
It does no good to engage your customers without being relevant. No doubt everyone has seen commercials that succeeded as entertainment, yet five minutes after watching them, you couldn’t remember the product or the company. Being engaging is useless if you’re not relevant. In order to be relevant, you must know who your customers are likely to be, know your unique business style, personality, and the culture and tone of your company, and use this knowledge as the basis for building a connection between your company and your customer. In this way, you can provide your customers with an experience that rewards the time they spend on your site—and rewards you through the effect your content will have in terms of building customer awareness of, and eventually loyalty to, your brand.
Site visitors will want to know how you are going to add value to their professional and / or personal lives. In addition to the content your site provides to the visitor, you will most likely want to affiliate with other companies. You’ve seen it before—a website with a bunch of other company’s logos across the top or the bottom, often with a message admonishing you to be sure to check out these affiliated companies.
These click-throughs can be immensely useful in cementing your brand in people’s minds. By affiliating your company with other services, you create a customer bonding opportunity. The key to this, however, is relevance. If, for example, your company makes taillights for motorcycles, it would be perfectly sensible to link to the site of a company selling motorcycle safety products. It would be an utter non sequitur to link to a site that sells wedding favors, regardless of the company’s popularity. Your goal in forging these alliances is to enhance your brand; whatever you provide in terms of links must complement your brand’s strengths.
Bearing in mind that the key attributes of successful online content are that it is engaging and relevant; bear this in mind when you choose to affiliate with other companies via click-through links to their websites. Remember, your website should not just be engaging, but relevant through and through. This applies to all the content of your website, including affiliated companies you supply click-through links toward.