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Branding on the Web is like Mining for Fools Gold
by: Lee Traupel
I am sick and tired of marketing geeks touting the beauty of
branding, brand building and just spouting branding in any context,
especially when the term is used with "internet" or "web" or "digital!"
You can't have a conversation today for more than five minutes without
some marketing type throwing in a line about brand building!

Branding doesn't work with the net's warp speed - look at
some of the leading online brand builders, including a certain big
three TV network here in the states and a book seller in Seattle
trying to do classic brand extension, from books to barbecues.

We tell our B2B clients to build a revenue-producing online brand by
developing a campaign that sells the value of their goods or
services! Forget the esoteric, very expensive brand building
campaigns that have no measurable impact! Here are my ten "cliff
notes" to building an effective B2B Brand Online, B2C coming next

1)Do a careful Competitive Web Analysis of your competitors – you
can't build a unique brand without knowing the lay of the digital
and realworld land! The beauty of the web is that it is a 247/365
resource for analysis and you can find out quite a lot from your
competitor's web sites. We've created a comprehensive matrix
of 75-200 items to assess when preparing a competitive analysis
report for a client.

2)Identify your target audience early on as everything flows from
this. You can't conceptualize your creative, graphical imagery,
content or what type of online media you want to deploy until you
know the size and characteristics of your target audience.

3)Think revenue producing branding – this translates to marketing
campaigns that deliver sales (the goal of all good marketing
campaigns) by customer acquisition. Meaning, develop messages that
speak to your audience. B2B customers typically want referenceable
data that addresses their needs. "Our xyz services help you
leverage your IT resources by…." Think providing tactical
information to enhance their decision-making!

4)If your early to market or just plain old early stage then you may
want to develop some branding with other complementary partners who
have established names (brands) in your market segment. This can
include joint announcements, co-branded pages; direct marketing or
opt-in e-mail pieces, etc. Here's an example of a co-branded page
we did for an existing client, PolyServe, Inc.

5)Make sure you PR agency and Interactive or Traditional Agency are
all in concert when it comes to building a branding campaign. Your
various messages and processes should be mutually reinforcing.

6)Select an Interactive or Traditional Agency that understands your
unique B2B needs. Consumer branding is much different than B2B
Customer Acquisition Branding. By "understand" I mean ask
them about the types of campaigns they've set up for previous
clients, what types of media they've used, do they know how to
develop creative that speaks to a potential B2B client – I love
the "do the Dew" campaign, but this isn't the type of
branding you would want to deploy for an IT Manager who is
contemplating a purchase of your software.

7)How do you measure effective branding on the web? I am not sure if
I have any answer or if I have unlimited answers – this is such a
difficult marketing characteristic to measure. But, again,
be "customer-centric" – ask people who purchase your software or
services what they think. Why did you purchase (or why not if you
can), did our marketing address your needs, was it meaningful and

8)Think digital shelf life when branding on the web – you have to
build messages and content that will only last for a finite amount of
time. You have to continually refresh your branding and positioning
by developing new content for a web site, opt-in e-mail or banner
advertising campaign.

9)Incorporate your offline branding (creative, content, graphics,
etc.) into your online branding when/where you can. So your customer
has a sense of continuity when they review all of your marketing and
communications processes. This also sends a signal to them that you
have carefully thought through your overall campaign.

10)Last but not least – build net speed into your overall
campaign. I've said it before in many articles, but always essential
to underscore; better to be quick to market with something that may
need slight calibration later on that to delay a facet of a campaign
of the entire campaign to get everything perfect! Revenue is the
engine that makes a B2B Branding campaign work and you can't
drive sales unless you are putting your branding message out there in
front of your potential customers!

Lee Traupel has 20 plus years of business development and marketing
experience. He is the founder/CEO of a Northern California based,
privately held, profitable Interactive Marketing Agency and Software
Company, Intelective Communications, Inc.
and can be reached via e-mail at Intelective
Communications also has a EU sales and support office located outside
of Brussels, Belgium.


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