EM360 Digital Blog

12 Jan 2016

What is Website Branding and Why is it Important?

As a Tech­ni­cal Writer, I helped com­pa­nies estab­lish and main­tain doc­u­men­ta­tion that adhered to the brand­ing guide­li­nes in place for that com­pa­ny.  Over time, cus­tomers become inured to a par­tic­u­lar look and feel for the doc­u­men­ta­tion they encoun­ter from dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies.  Often­times, it’s not even some­thing we acknowl­edge on a con­scious lev­el.  We just ‘know’ that doc­u­men­ta­tion asso­ci­at­ed with IBM looks….well it looks the way it looks. The design and com­po­si­tion of their doc­u­men­ta­tion is con­sis­tent.  The Logo always looks the same.  The place­ment of items on a page looks the same.  Even the tone of their doc­u­men­ta­tion is con­sis­tent.  All of the­se fac­tors con­tribute to a very real lev­el of famil­iar­iza­tion that cus­tomers feel when they have deal­ings with that com­pa­ny.

Break­ing it Down

Web­site Brand­ing, or just brand­ing in gen­er­al is basi­cal­ly the same. It’s all about estab­lish­ing and adher­ing to a speci­fic set of guide­li­nes that will help give your web­site a sig­na­ture look and feel.  I like to break terms down into their com­po­nent parts in order to bet­ter under­stand ter­mi­nol­o­gy, so let’s start with the term brand.  The pri­ma­ry def­i­n­i­tion of the word brand is “a type of pro­duct man­u­fac­tured by a par­tic­u­lar com­pa­ny under a par­tic­u­lar name,” (for exam­ple, “a new brand of deter­gent,” would be con­sid­ered typ­i­cal use of the term brand). Syn­onyms list­ed for the word brand include line, label, mar­que, type, kind, sort and vari­ety.  Okay I admit that it’s at least a bit annoy­ing to be so sim­plis­tic, but if you stop and think about it, it’s help­ful to break ter­mi­nol­o­gy down like this to help us bet­ter under­stand it. Espe­cial­ly when the­se days terms are com­ing at us so quick­ly that it’s hard to keep up. In fact, Wikipedia doesn’t even have a list­ing for the term Web­site Brand­ing.  They do, how­ev­er, define Inter­net Brand­ing as ‘a brand man­age­ment tech­nique that uses the World Wide Web as a medi­um for posi­tion­ing a brand in the mar­ket­place’.

Brand­ing in Today’s Land­scape

So we’ve estab­lished that a brand is the con­cept of a speci­fic pro­duct or ser­vice that con­sumers can iden­ti­fy (for exam­ple by the name, the logo, the slo­gan, or the design of the com­pa­ny who owns it. From there, it’s a lit­tle eas­ier to make the jump to the term ‘Brand­ing’.  Brand­ing is what takes place when a con­cept is mar­ket­ed in a way that makes it rec­og­niz­able by more and more peo­ple.  That con­cept and/or image becomes iden­ti­fied with a cer­tain ser­vice or pro­duct, thus help­ing to delin­eate it from oth­er com­pa­nies offer­ing a sim­i­lar pro­duct (or ser­vice).

Max­i­miz­ing your Brand­ing Strate­gies

If you’re work­ing on cre­at­ing the online brand­ing for your company’s web­site, keep in mind that search engine opti­miza­tion (SEO) is a big part of build­ing a suc­cess­ful brand. In gen­er­al, the ear­lier (or high­er ranked on the search results page), and more fre­quent­ly a site appears in the search results list, the more vis­i­tors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO can tar­get dif­fer­ent kinds of search­es, includ­ing image search­es, local search­es, video search­es, aca­d­e­mic search­es, news search­es and even indus­try-speci­fic ver­ti­cal search engi­nes. Coor­di­nat­ing domain names and brand names is an impor­tant part of find­ing and keep­ing clients. The smooth coor­di­na­tion of a domain name and its asso­ci­at­ed brand names helps cre­ate a read­i­ly iden­ti­fi­able idea or image of a speci­fic pro­duct or ser­vice.  All of which will make it eas­ier for vis­i­tors to dis­cov­er your new brand.

So remem­ber, in today’s mar­ket­place brand­ing is an impor­tant part of inter­net com­merce.  Brand­ing also help com­pa­nies build solid rep­u­ta­tions.  A solid rep­u­ta­tion can then trans­late into a solid base from which to expand, (beyond the orig­i­nal pro­duct and/or ser­vice), and thus add to the rev­enue gen­er­at­ed by the orig­i­nal brand.

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