Using the Internet to Complement Bricks & Mortar Worlds.
If your website is going to be an extension of your bricks-and-mortar business, it is considered to be complementary to your offline brand, your physical outlets and other activity that you do.
Using the Internet as a complementary medium, you can:
- Put up your existing name and branding (such as logos and colours).
- Use it as a vehicle to share the latest news and information with customers and stakeholders. By adding a blog or forum, you can invite customers and stakeholders to enter conversations with you.
- Offer an online product catalogue (and even the ability to purchase through the company website). It can streamline your sales process, broaden your reach into a global market and offer distribution efficiencies that were not available to businesses before the inception of the Internet.
But it isn’t going to be an online brand.
Using the Internet To Create Businesses In Their Own Right.
If your website is to be a business in its own right, you need to start from a blank piece of paper.
This means new name, fresh and relevant branding, engaging content and finding new ways of tapping into your market.
The reason for all this is simple.
How people use the Internet, and how they learn to trust brands, what they expect from online brands, is different from the bricks-and-mortar world.
So if you’re looking to build an Internet brand, you must:
- Find a name that’s quirky, short and memorable – and easy to spell and say.
- Avoid generics (because history proves that the biggest brands online are not generics, they use proper (not common) nouns. Amazon.com is the biggest bookstore – not books.com, Google is the biggest search engine, not searchengine.com.)
- Make your name unique so that it stands out. Don’t use names that are similar to competitors, create something that stands apart from them so there is clear differentiation in the mind of your customer.
- Make sure it doesn’t offend when it’s translated into another language (the Internet is global) and do check how it looks to avoid this type of unfortunate (and default) branding.
- Personalise your brand. It can be your name if it suits what you do and it has the added advantage of putting a human face to your website.
- Focus on interactivity – it’s the key difference between the online and offline environments. Present your brand in such a way that people can build a relationship through interactivity. This means including fast access to information, good site search producing relevant results, easy and intuitive navigation, and the ability to enter conversations with the people behind the website.