It is a tough world out there for franchise owners. The online branding game is a highly competitive one in the modern digital age, with convenience technologies and legions of dedicated marketing firms establishing themselves as industry staples and being responsible for generating an endless sea of content. Engaging audiences and getting your brand or product identify out there is very difficult, and it is easy to see why when one imagines the real-world implications of the over-crowded online market. Picture yourself driving down a street. As you crest a hill, you are greeted by a wall of signage; literally millions of individual signs are vying for your attention with compelling colour-combinations, call-to-action slogans, and fancy fonts. Now imagine how difficult it would be to pick out a single sign amongst those millions. Not only does the online world’s overcrowding make it difficult to focus on singular products or advertisements, it actually has a numbing effect for the viewer, who becomes accustomed to tuning out the flood of irrelevant stimulus. What does this mean for the franchise owner? Should the owner simply submit to the struggle and ignore the value of online branding? The obvious and sometimes uncomfortable answer is no.
Online branding and brand recognition are two crucial components for successful business ownership. Product branding is one of the most important things you must do as a franchise owner. It represents the literal shaping of your identity in the eyes of the public. The brand profile that you construct will have serious implications for the types of relationships you will be able to build with your customers in the future. If you want to engage the general public and influence conversions, you will need to make your mark in their minds, and the only way to do this is with an effective branding strategy.
A company lacking in online branding will have serious trouble generating new business. In a competitive capitalist culture, the market is continually in the process of expansion of evolution, and this means that your branding must follow suit. If not, your product and services will be perceived as irrelevant, even if you are a former industry-leader, and your customer base will begin to dwindle. Though some franchise owners are reluctant to invest the capital necessary for proper branding in the digital age, the reality is that a modest investment in branding will save a major expense in customer drop-off, especially as franchisees begin to spend money out of pocket in desperate attempts to retain their customer base.
Top-Five Online Product and Service-Branding Tips
The following tips will help any franchise owner stay relevant and competitive in the contemporary digital age.
- Establish your identity with a stand-out logo. A well-crafted logo makes all the difference. Logo’s seriously contribute to a brand’s perceived professionalism, and will often act as the customer’s “first impression” of your company since logo imagery is much more highly visible than text. Your logo will appear on your website, business cards, letterheads, and e-mail signatures, so significant attention should be paid to this process.
- Invest in your website. Most consumers are transitioning away from paper classified and Yellow Pages business listings, and choosing to research products and services online instead. Your website must be concise, high-performing, helpful, and easy to navigate, or you will lose many customers. Your website should also be compatible with mobile viewing.
- E-mail signature. This one-time investment will pay dividends when it comes to establishing brand recognition and raising brand awareness. Simply attach your logo to the end of your e-mail along with relevant contact information and either your slogan or a professional sign off, and you can transform all e-mail correspondence into free advertising.
- Pay attention to social media. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram is a boon for business owners looking to build their brand. This free service allows franchise owners to promote anything they like in a fast and responsive format that can be updated from any mobile device and exposed to a huge audience instantly. Better still, most socila media mediums offer paid promotional services that can give your brand an extra boost.
5. Streamline an inter-connected online presence. Make it easy for users to navigate through all of your online content by promoting it internally. One of the best examples of this is found with the inclusion of “social buttons” on your website, which allow your users to jump to your social media pages with a single click. This practice is also done through blogging your brand, where product reviews or promotional posts can link back to the website or relevant social media pages, or through forum posts, whether directly through promotional threads, or indirectly through inclusion in forum signatures.
About the Author : Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi
A serial entrepreneur with extensive background in franchising and interests in multiple online business channels, Jamshaid (Jam) Hashmi has played an instrumental role in the franchise development and success of an international franchise company. His most recent entrepreneurial interests include launching ClickTecs, a Digital Marketing company specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media Marketing as well as Website and Mobile Application development. In 2007 he co-founded Search Result, an online marketing company that supplies services to Internet Marketing Consultants. A sought after public speaker, Jam has been the featured keynote at many franchise conferences and international summits. He regularly trains ‘C’ Level Executives and supports both new and seasoned business owners on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization, Mobile Marketing, Brand Reputation Management and Conversion & Measurement through web analytics. When he’s not scaling the heights of the Internet world, Jam ‘unwinds’ on extreme thrill-seeking adventures from the jungles of the Amazon to the highest summits. His passions include working with NGOs on humanitarian missions to areas around the world affected by disasters and poverty.Back