It’s a wonder whenever I come across a client who doesn’t understand the power of the internet and going viral. Although, it appears like one is most likely going to achieve fame from a scandal than from doing the right thing but there are many ways you can achieve your business or personal brand goals without getting your hands dirty. Listed below are four fundamental reasons you should invest in your online presence (you can call them the 4ndamentals lol):
- Visibility (establish brand awareness, reach more people beyond your physical location, bigger growth potential,
- Credibility (improves trust, gives competitive advantage, makes conversion easier,
- Marketing (advertising and sales, the bloodline of any business)
- Authority (establishing your brand or self as an authority figure)
Any business without an online presence in this 21st century is like a dinosaur waiting for extinction.Victory Enofe (circa 2018)
Studies show that businesses with an online presence do better due to the increased number of people shopping online and using smart devices.
The newer generations (millennials and generation z) are more inclined to technology and do almost everything online. Especially if you provide goods or services, you’ll want to put your business out there.
The power of recognizing a brand cannot be overestimated.
The results from the quiz above will show you the importance of visibility for your brand. Now ask yourself this question:
If my business logo was up there will anyone recognize it?
People tend to buy what they know or are used to. If you keep seeing an image you’ll feel connected to it after a while and try it. And once you start using a particular brand of something you’ll hardly want to try another unless you’re given a reason to (this is where consistency and improvement comes to play).
Brand visibility is the reason super markets arrange popular brands at eye level on their shelves and other brands at the top or bottom. These are strategic decisions. The more you see a product the more likely you are to pick it. And the easier it is to reach a product the easier it is for people to buy.
The same thing applies to physical stores. When you visit the mall, the most expensive shops are situated closer to the entrance on the ground floor. The shops that are on higher floors and harder to reach are usually cheaper. The power of visibility at play again.
Another typical example is the positioning of billboards along roads and highways.
If you’ve observed you would have noticed that the billboards are always facing incoming traffic and the busier the route the more costly the billboard will be. Of course there are other factors that influence pricing like size, season, demand, competition etc.
It is the same reason the side of some buildings are used for placing adverts (strategically located for visibility). Despite how popular Coca-Cola is they never stop creating advert campaigns, as a matter of fact, they’ve maintained spots at Times Square since 1920. (Source(interestingengineering.com)
Coca Cola runs ads on the internet, TV, billboards, newspaper etc. they sponsor major sports events such as the Olympic and the World Cup just to have everywhere covered. They don’t stop there, they also give branded refrigerators to their distributors and retailers so you can see the brand more, they go as far as making signage for restaurants, bars and eat outs just so their brand can be more visible.
These things cost a lot of money, but they understand the value of visibility, the cost is worth it.
There’s power in having a visible brand. Big brands are conscious of this. You should too if you want to be big.
In this 21st century, credibility in business is very important and in order for businesses to improve trust they’ve learned to communicate more with their customers directly. This is why big brands have social media presence even though they have popular websites. The power of social networks cannot be exaggerated.
Did you know that Facebook had over 2.6 billion active users in the first quarter of 2020 alone (this means 2.6 billion people logged into their Facebook accounts within 30 days).
There are other social networks like Instagram (owned by Facebook), Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit etc.
The role of social media is to establish a relationship with the customer, encourage interaction and make communication between a company/brand and the customer seamless. This can also be achieved on a website but social media is more effective for this purpose because there’s potential to reach more people on social media and engage with their fans on those platforms.
One can start a conversation and it’ll go viral in a short time. With the use of hashtags trends are set in motion and maximum engagement is achieved.
Your website is more of an online representation of your business. It is your brochure, gallery, showroom, or store depending on the purpose of your site. The company puts up information for their customers which may or may not stir up a conversation because there is usually no room for that. But they use social media for better engagement with their customers and fans and stir up conversations or trends as the case may be.
It’s important for businesses to create websites to build trust.
Brands/Businesses communicate the latest info, product launches, and press release, and so on through their websites. This way there is a trusted source of information from the business to their customers.
Brands/ Businesses usually struggle with maintaining their credibility on social media where they have less control over their account (unverified accounts) because sometimes they have not established themselves in the market fully, so fraudulent people may try to take advantage of that. A typical way this happens is by creating fake Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts. Most fraudsters barely go as far as cloning your website but those with resources could. Which is why it’s important to use a security certificate to increase your website security and get the trust badge from search engines and browsers.
This is why it is essential to use professionals when creating your online presence (website, social media etc.) there’s need for uniformity of your brand and coherence across all platforms. This also makes it easier for your customers, followers or fans to find you.
If you type my handle @iamvic3 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook it’ll lead you to one account (mine).
Uniformity/ consistency increases trust.
You can’t have @businessname on Twitter and @businessacronym on Instagram. It makes it hard for your followers to recognize your brand identity across various platforms and when there is no recognition then trust is far, therefore your brand credibility becomes questionable. It’s all brand psychology.
Getting a verified account is sort of a necessity, it’s good for big brands and known public figures.
Marketing and advertising
This is arguably one of the most important part of running a business. What’s a business without sales? It debts and unpaid bills and wages, this leads to businesses failing sometimes before they even start.
The goal of every business is to make money and most importantly, profit.
The way and manner your brand is represented online and offline is part of marketing. In your advertisement, presentations, and the manner in which your staff portray/ represent your brand have an effect on marketing your brand.
The goal of marketing is to drive sales.
Marketing is one of the most dreaded tasks for entrepreneurs. I’ve heard people say that they hate marketing, they don’t want to work as marketers and they don’t like marketers. I find this statement ironic because we are all subconsciously marketing something.
Now, I’ll illustrate for effect. You go on a date with someone you like for the first time, you dress to impress, spray your favorite perfume and put on your best behavior because you want that person to like you too right? Well, that’s marketing. You’re selling yourself to that person.
Another illustration. You know that you’re meeting with the CEO of a big corporation and you’ve been told that he/she likes people that dress smart. What do you do? Dress smart of course. Some of us will even go the extra mile to find out what his/her favorite clothing brand is and what his/her favorite author or sport is so you can have a more interesting conversation. That’s marketing.
These same principles should be applied to your business. Now replace your date or big corporate CEO with your customers. They are the ones you’re trying to impress. Find out:
• What do they like?
• Their habits/behaviors
• Their favorite social network
• What time they are online
• Who they are i.e. demography (male or female, between ages this to that, and so on)
• What are they interested in?
• Where they are (location)
• What are the problems typical to them?
After researching these information, Offer a solution.
Basically breaking down the above information to determine who your potential customers are.
Next create a sales funnel, and follow every step till you get your first customer.
Marketing is the heart of the business because that’s where the money is made. Amazon spent $18.88 billion in marketing in 2019.
Once your brand has established its credibility it’s on its way to becoming an authority in that industry. This can only be achieved with consistency, excellence and constantly giving (knowledge sharing). This opens more doors than simply advertising. Often times, brands are associated with personalities; for instance Tesla and SpaceX are associated with Elon Musk, Amazon is associated with Jeff Bezos, Microsoft is still associated with Bill Gates despite the fact that he took a less active role since 2008 and Microsoft is being run by someone else today (Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO), KFC is associated with Col. Sander even after all these years, Facebook is associated with Mark Zuckerberg. You get my point, right?
Brands tend to take on the personality of their figure heads and this in turn tend to affect the dynamics of how the media and their audience perceives them. Nine (9) years after Steve Jobs’ passing people still associate Apple with Jobs.
The brand typically embodies the strongest persona in the helm of affairs of the company.
These men I’ve mentioned are authority figures in their respective fields and whatever they put their name on tends to succeed.
People will listen to you once you’re an Authority figure, Elon Musk was appointed as a member of two presidential councils by the Trump administration which he resigned after Trump backed out of the Paris accord (According to The Verge) that’s not the point though.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was a Managing Director at the World Bank and currently sits on the board of some global corporations such as Twitter and Standard Chartered Bank, GAVI to mention but a few.
She is seen as an authority figure in finance and economics hence has served as Minister of Finance to two administrations and also served as Minister for Foreign affairs in Nigeria.
These two examples are people who built their careers in the private sector and also served their nations and advised governments around the world. These type of people do not need to pay the press for promotion, they are Authority Figures, the press seeks them out like a heat-seeking-missile shot at a jet in the movies.
Become an authority figure in your own field by providing information, share knowledge, be actively involved in causes you believe in, be vocal and provide value.
The WHO takes Bill Gates seriously, not because he is a medical professional but because he has done more for Global Health than most people and he can provide support and value. Hence, be valuable.
People often wonder why DSTV advertise their own packages on DSTV. Simple answer, visibility.
Most times the packages advertised are upgrades to the one you’re subscribed to. They show you what you’re missing on other packages. Sometimes people upgrade their subscriptions simply because of these strategic adverts.
Marketing and advertising is usually done for the sake of visibility. Once a brand has established its presence in the mind and eyes of their target market, they are only an offer away from converting that visitor to a customer. And once they have become a household name, they retain some kind of authority in that industry or region, this means they can set a standard, set prices, positively and negatively affect the perceived value of the brand they represent. This is why companies use celebrities and also dissociate from infamous celebrities when they are involved in scandals that may hurt their brand.
It is commonly said that in show-biz all publicity is good publicity, well, not in the business world. Some scandals can tarnish the image of companies forever and lead to their downfall.
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