When you walk around town, you run into hundreds of unfamiliar faces.

Probably you find the one or the other attractive and some simply unpleasant, however, most of them would not strike you as noticeable.

What’s already well known in the offline world, the online market is just slowly taking note of the challenge for brands, products and services on the Internet that are often passed by unnoticed. Why this should bother you is simple: online users purchase only from those who have a solid image which is without exception a strong and compelling brand identity.

Companies that do not know how to present their brand uniformly online will be punished by ignorance and competitive displacement. The corporate online presence is more than a digital business card it is rapidly becoming the key point of sale in our modern networked society.

Offer and price are often not enough as products and services have become interchangeable in most industries and Internet users are being flooded with offers that over or underbid each other in price and performance. Differentiation, independence, and uniqueness are often not applicable, although there are compelling arguments why a differentiated positioning in the Internet is worth pure money:

  1. The Internet has an enormous range: you can reach in the online world, using relatively inexpensive methods, a great number and variety of selected target groups. Just as limitless as the medium is, are the number of competitors and offers, so without a well-defined differentiation you will simply be overlooked.
  2. A product looks like any other: especially on the Internet, customers look very briefly at the product or service. If the customer does not realize within a few seconds, where your product stands out positively from the others, they will likely be, with the next click, on the site of a competing vendor.
  3. A brand cannot be there for everyone: your company, your products and services need a distinctive profile to appeal to its target groups in the vast information overload that is the Internet. A clear target audience profile can help you enormously to reach your goal.
  4. Use the power of word of mouth on the net: ideally, your target audiences are looking specifically for your products/services, rating them in social media forums help build up and sustain a positive reputation for you. Free of charge and tremendously confidence-building.

Brands create focus, give a product or service an individual profile that provides buyers with a feeling of emotional added value. Building-up a brand online can happen quickly, as everything related to the Internet benefits from its biggest advantage, which is undoubtedly speed. Do still consider carefully the peculiarities of this vaunted millennium phenomenon "brand” to avoid the risk of failure.

Keep in mind that the basic rules of marketing have not been overridden by the Internet and that qualified brand building is based on carefully and strategically planned activities:

Positioning - The values of the brand must be firmly defined and, in the ideal case, be formulated.

Strategy - The positioning must be adapted in an appropriate strategy, depending on:

  • the product,
  • the brand,
  • the competition,
  • the market, and
  • the target group.

Implementation - Any modality-specific measures (verbal, visual, acoustic, etc.) must bear the fingerprint of the brand. Important for the trademark is "flexibility", as it is in general not enough to simply repeat a word over and over again:

  • Work with synonyms and semantically similar words.
  • Make sure that your offered signals "flexibility" - for example by its use or by the product-related services.
  • The visual, auditory online design of your brand must also convey these values.

It requires creative and brand-conforming expert know-how to convey worlds of meaning through modality specific impressions.

Control - Particularly relevant is the on-going successful control of your communication activities due to a targeted approach based on stringent positioning as well as less wastage and an efficient budget stake. So where else can spending be measured easier and more success-oriented than on the Internet?

Performance marketing

Despite or perhaps because of its fast pace and dynamics the Internet should not waive some of its established structures. The decline of target groups, the lack of customer segmentation, the interchangeability of products or services and ever increasing competitive pressures are not just phenomena of the Internet, but are issues the offline advertising world has been struggling with for years. Thus, for both worlds the following admonition applies: “Differentiate yourself or somebody else will be doing it for you”.

By Daniela La Marca