The rapid spread of the Internet has led to a significant increase in consumer power. Most products and services are much easier to compare and purchase on the Internet. Recommendations and criticisms from other consumers and services are easy to obtain and are decisive for potential purchase decisions. Most products and services can also be easily substituted by others on the Web. If a website does not load fast enough on a smartphone, for example, this could be the main reason to switch to another Google offer.
Thanks to the Internet, consumers are increasingly well networked with one another, e.g. through social media or commentary functions, and a constant uncomplicated exchange of information is guaranteed. It is also very easy for consumers to actively seek dialog with companies and to express their opinions in forums and blogs in a way that is visible to others. The ever-increasing use of mobile Internet access makes it possible to make price comparisons even directly in stores and to obtain information about products and services spontaneously — and the trend is rising.
A trustworthy, easily found presence on the Web that offers consumers real added value and customer-oriented, high-quality advice are therefore becoming increasingly important for companies. Companies also have to face the challenge of communicating with consumers at eye level and being an active part of the networked community. Interaction possibilities for consumers and values such as trust and sympathy will be the decisive success factors in the future.
In order to counteract the quickly accessible substitution offers on the web, it can be helpful to actively pursue branding, define important unique selling points and strategically invest in the formation of values such as trust and sympathy.
About brand analysis and brand characteristics
Before starting the actual branding process, one should first define which characteristics actually make up the brand. Are there clear unique selling points that clearly set the brand apart from the competition?
The basis of a successful brand is always a good product or a good service. If the potential has not yet been exhausted, it is usually better to invest time and money here first.
Is a friendly corporate culture in place and do all those involved really work with passion? Are the services and products reliable and the service high quality? Is the customer really the focus of the company’s activities? Does the company have a lot of innovative power and is it continuously developing further? Are there exciting, authentic stories around the company that are worth telling?
Marketing should not only be the task of a single department, but should, if possible, encompass the entire corporate culture, up to the management and the board of directors.
Which values does the company actually represent and to what extent can these give the brand its own character? To what extent can the company be clearly differentiated from the competition? Is the company particularly environmentally friendly or does it have an above-average social attitude?
But honesty and authenticity are extremely important here. Can the brand build trust? Do the business practices have to be transparent and are the employees satisfied? Does the company really understand its customers’ living environment and can convince with credible/customer-oriented consulting services?
Answering these questions will help establish your brand characteristics and overall image that you would like to be presented to the world. The distribution of power due to the increasing spread of the Internet in favor of consumers requires strongly customer-oriented online marketing strategies.
More and more companies and offers are pushing into the Internet and are causing an additional increase in competition. Companies must accept this loss of control and adapt to the technical framework conditions in their brand communication and politics. Proven strategies from classic marketing, such as branding, can also be transferred to the online world and can represent sustainable successful strategies to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.