I am assuming you have read and understood the first the first post in the series: A2Z of Online Branding: Begin with Ambition, Aim & Audience. Click on the link if you need a refresher.
Online world is perceived as a cheap and easy alternative for brand building and thus everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon. The truth is far from reality. Entering the online world and establishing one’s self comes with its own set of challenges. This series is an attempt to help business owners to understand the nuances of Online Branding and help them succeed.
The traditional definition of Business Logic is: the part of the program that encodes the real-world, business rules that determine how data can be created, stored, and changed. In the Online Branding parlance, it means examining what is the scope of your business and what drives profits. It is important to find out whether taking your brand online makes sense for your business.
Once you have gauged your ambition, established your aim and identified your audience, it is now time to look at the next step in Online Branding. I know you are feeling impatient and want to jump directly to the tools and understand the tricks of the online world. However, it is pertinent to first understand whether Online Branding fits your Business Logic and if yes, then to what extent?
Why is should you bother whether Online Branding fits your Business Logic?
- It will help you understand your audience
- You will be able to choose the right platform for branding
- Money will be allocated wisely leading to higher return on investment
Well, simply put, once you have decided your product or service, put down business goals and identified your Target Audience, it is important that you know where your audience is present, how do they behave in the online world. Depending on that you will be able to determine where to put your money for maximum returns.
One may argue, today everyone is tuned to the online world and of course everyone is present on social media. Remember that each audience set is different and their purchase behaviour depends on the product they are buying.
7 ways to examine if Online Branding fits your BUSINESS LOGIC
- Are you catering to B2B or B2C?
Is the product or service that you are offering catering to the laypersons i.e. is it a B2C (Business to Consumer) offering or is it a B2B (Business to Business) offering?
- Need analysis of your offering.
What is the need that your product or service is fulfilling? Is it a high-involvement product that needs reassurance before purchase e.g. flat, car, hospital room, career counselling, jewellery etc.
- Information sought by Audience.
Where does the audience look for information related to your product? Do they look for videos? Articles? Social media posts or do they just rely on a search engine to throw up the best results?
- What platform do they prefer?
What kind of platform does your audience prefer interacting on? Will they see an advertisement on social media and buy? Or will they enter a search online and then visit your website or download an app to buy?
- Audience Behaviour Online.
How does your audience behave in the online world? What kind of products or services are they comfortable in purchasing online?
- Audience Reassurance:
What kind of reassurance are they looking for while researching your product? A service guarantee? Stamp of approval from an authority? Testimonials from existing buyers? Endorsement from prominent news media? Recommendation from a user?
- Will they buy online?
Do they prefer reading about the product or service online and then go to a physical location and check out the product?
Here is a printable infographic that will help you examine your Business Logic & the extent to which Online Branding can help:
Too many questions? Well let’s look at some examples that will help simplify the process.
Understand that for high-involvement critical products, customers will need to physically visit the space even if they have read about it online. Most people, even today, prefer offline interactions
E.g. A customer will book a hotel online, however, booking a hospital room online may not be preferable for them. In case of planned surgeries, for a hospital room, they will prefer booking at the hospital after seeing a room, meeting the doctor and feeling reassured of the medical care and attention.
Similarly, a customer may look for selling a car online however, to buy a car, they will read about it online, interact on forums and then do a showroom visit to book the car.
If one needs to buy a diamond, one will explore different options online and offline, do a price comparison and then visit the store.
One may may buy vegetables online however, will they book a flat based on an advertisement that they see online?
If your organisation is providing solar heaters to large factories and builders then it comes under the B2B category. In such a case, the client will look for your company through a search query and visit your website. They will look for endorsements, service guarantee and quality assurance. However, they will purchase only when they meet and interact with you or your representatives offline.
Is your offering person dependent or product dependent?
Are you a consultant, fashion designer, dentist, doctor, beautician, trainer, counselor, yoga trainer or music teacher? If yes, then your business is PERSON DEPENDENT as an expert in your field of business. You will be seen as an expert if you are quoted by prominent news media or if you have a reputed blog that continuously speaks to the customer or a social media footprint that matches your expertise.
Therefore, your solution may lie in having a website with blog integration, regular Search Engine Optimization & using Social Media to amplify your blogs and direct people to your website. Over time, you may look at using tools like Facebook Live, Twitter Chats and Instagram Stories to widen audience reach. Subsequent blog posts in this series will explain this in greater detail.
If you own a factory, hospital, hotel, real estate company, jewellery store, clothing brand, furniture shop etc. then your business is PRODUCT DEPENDENT. The customer will look at service guarantee, product endorsement and positive online buzz about your offering.
Your solution may lie in creating a buzz through an influencer network that redirects traffic to your website. You may also look at an Online PR campaign using Wires or a PR agency to reach the world and create a buzz. Here social media is used as an advertising platform and it is recommended to invest monies in social media marketing, search engine optimization and search engine marketing. An audio-visual or explaner video will work wonders in this case. Do come back and check the blog for more on this.
Whether PERSON dependent or PRODUCT dependent, the platform needs to be chosen carefully and content needs to be the cornerstone of your online branding. Understanding your audience’s behaviour will help you choose the right platform for your business. Think about the issues highlighted above and hold on to the answers. In this series, I will be guiding you on how to choose the right platform for your audience.
You will read more about CHOICE of PLATFORM in the 3rd post in this series. #StayTuned!
How will this series work?
I will be writing 26 blogs that will serve as 26 steps for a business owner to follow to ensure business growth using the online medium. In other words, follow this series and understand how to crack the Online Branding Code!
Do leave your comments and let me know what you think of the series. Also, let me know if you have any specific problems in online branding that you want me to address. I will be happy to solve them in due course.
Disclaimer: This series is an original piece of writing. All copyrights remain with the author, any content re-purpose, copying or lifting is not allowed. The author is a National Award Winning Woman Business Leader in Digital Marketing and PR, she has written this series based out of her own personal experiences while handling large brands. Incase you need to discuss business, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blog posts in this series: