Online transactions and relevant content
The point of branding is to get consumers to interact with products or services.
The point of having electronic presence must consequently be to get consumers to transact with the brand online.
The natural point of departure is to begin thinking about online purchases.
Although online grocery purchasing has been operational and feasible for a number of years it has not taken off. Shopping has a strong tactile component. Shoppers want to touch, look, smell, smell and even taste if possible, and online transactions are generally the shopper’s ‘Plan B’ if the product is not available in a nearby store.
The rise of Amazon and the Kindle app is interesting. Buying books is quite possible, as long as you have a credit card, and have downloaded the Kindle app to your phone. Unfortunately music and films are not yet available, but this may change as Netflix has announced that it intends to enter South Africa in the very near future. If this is the case, current barriers will be swept aside.
Online transactions can work in the realms of service, but there may still be a demand for face-to-face experiences.
The brand is adopted for relevance to the lifestyle or satisfaction of the need. The strong point of the internet is the ability to provide information that enhances the lifestyle or that concerns the need.
Before setting out on a content generating exercise, the brand manager should develop a comprehensive picture of the lifestyle and where the need fits in.
Using the basic example of a car, the needs will be travelling from point A to B, but may also include safe motoring, minor repairs, insurance, extending the life of the car, cutting the cost of motoring, safety for children and explanations of why the car is a good purchase (for post-purchase peer justification which is also a very significant need).
he lifestyle elements could incorporate customisation, hobby motoring, offroad driving, travel, in-car entertainment, racing and getting together with friends and things that can be done together with friends.
Taking as look at the vast amount of variety that is available within those two categories, it is obvious that identification of the elements can add depth to online presence.
The obvious point to begin is with the brand’s own sources, knowledge that is freely available within the organisation. This is time consuming but necessary.
The next point to visit is linking to other sites and online presences. The important point to note here is that the economy of the web is underpinned by traffic.
The more unique visitors and the more page views, the better for the website. This means that most websites, with a few exceptions, will be happy to accept a link to your site. The exceptions are specialised sites which try to limit their unique visitors to those who are most relevant, and sites which charge for content.
If you want a ready source of new content, contact the website editor or administrator. He or she will, with very few exceptions, accept links from your page with some level of gratitude. The corollary to this, is don’t even think about copying content onto your site unless you are prepared to pay.
You can link to non-copyrighted video and free software downloads, but be wary of placing the actual files on your site as this can be a strain on your own bandwidth.
It is also worth noting that brands are used in conjunction with other brands. So for instance, a car site may benefit from links to an insurance site on the one hand, and a customisation site or travel site on the other. However, be very wary of relevance. Irrelevant links rub off on the brand. Don’t link to too many irrelevant sites, or your own site may lose focus and become irrelevant.
The fact of the matter is that there is a vast amount of content out there that can be harnessed to almost any brand. It takes a bit of effort, but there is no excuse for a static site.