Reasons Why You Need a Website in 2016

 

1 : Increase Sales and Revenue

Any professionally run business will make up the cost of a website easily over the course of the first year. And after that, the low annual running costs mean increased profits in the future.

2 : Cheaper Advertising

A website is the most cost–effective form of advertising you could buy. Compare a small advert in the Yellow Pages or Thompson Local with a small website, or compare a large advert with a large website: the website will generally be cheaper.

And a website’s running costs are much lower — just an annual fee for the domain name and hosting. With a paper advert, you pay the same large amountevery year.

A paper advertisement can only give customers a brief overview of your services. Your website will contain all the detailed information your customers need, at a fraction of the long–term cost of a paper advertisement.

3 : Give a Professional Appearance

Most people now expect a business to have a website. Even if a customer doesn’t visit your website, seeing a web address on a business card or in an advertisement gives the impression that you are a solid organisation.

Perhaps you work from home. Perhaps you have just started a small business. With a good–looking, professional website, you can show that you are just asserious as a larger, established competitor.

4 : Your Competitors Will Have Websites

Very few products or services are bought on impulse (apart from chocolate biscuits, perhaps). Customers like to do a bit of research first. Today, a large proportion of sales begin with an internet search, and that proportion is only going to increase. A business without a website is out of the game.

Actually, there is one exception to this rule. For a business, having anamateurish website is often worse than having no website at all. Find out about the dangers of using a cowboy web designer.

5 : Save Time Dealing with Enquiries

How often do you find yourself saying the same thing to prospective customers — describing your services, your products, your prices? If the information that people need is on your website, they can check it out easily, any time it suits them.

How much time do you waste fielding enquiries from people who are nevergoing to buy your products? Give them an easier way of getting the informationthey want, and you won’t have to cope with enquiries that don’t lead anywhere.

Put the information on your website, weed out the tyre–kickers, and concentrate on the serious enquiries!

6 : More Customers, All the Time, Everywhere

The internet doesn’t open at 9 o’clock and close at 5:30. Your website will be attracting customers 24 hours a day, from all over the world.

 


DE-BRANDING AS RE-BRANDING AND INTERNAL EQUITY (OR BRAND MYOPIA)

Strange as it may sound, some of the most important work we do does not involve building or even refreshing brands, but simply finding brands to retire.  I hesitated to use the word “simply” because it’s rarely simple. What stands between brand retirement and simplicity is that old bogeyman, Internal Equity—that and the business cultures that create and sustain it.

Internal Equity is often just a euphemism for a non-rational attachment to brands on the part of their stewards. These are typically product developers, marketers, sales personnel and managers of the P&L centers who believe they are dependent on the existence of these brands to meet required business results. The delusion is that the level of awareness and perceived value ascribed to these brands by internal stakeholders is also shared by the market.

To be sure, this is not always a case of brand myopia. Sometimes internal stakeholders do have very clear, accurate and evidential knowledge of a brand’s true worth or market value: the internal and external attachments match. But more often than not, the phenomenon of Internal Equity is rooted in phantom logic.

Such delusions are easy to come by. Saturated day in and day out by the same brand messages, names, logos and even by regular contact with the product itself, brands take on a life of their own. From there, it is easy to project value unwittingly, outwardly. The world, however, may see things quite differently (or see them not at all).

The late Wally Olins, of Wolff Olins and Saffron, sums up the issue with characteristic concision in his posthumous book, Brand New:  “How do businesses assimilate the companies and brands they acquire so that they fit comfortably into the whole without losing the characteristics for which they were acquired in the first place?’’

We might go further and ask,  should they assimilate them at all, or is it better to allow them to persist on their own, tethered to the parent by a long, thin, invisible thread, if only for a time? And with that we are in the realm of brand architecture—how to manage and deploy one’s valued strategic assets to catalyze business performance and/or achieve certain strategic ends.

What we have found in our work with clients is that quite often the majority of acquired items in a portfolio are not (nor ever have been) brands in any robust sense. They are usually mere trade names (sometimes trademarked, sometimes not). They have no marketing budget, effort or apparatus to support, manage or grow them. While they may be bought and sold by customers, they have no inherent brand equity; they are not actively marketed, advertised or otherwise promoted. They are not brands. It’s at that point of discovery that we invoke and apply one of branding’s cardinal rules:

The Brand Parsimony Principle: create and manage the smallest number of competitive brands that you can actively and effectively manage, leverage and grow.

Which brings us to the nub of the matter: how one determines—effectively and economically—whether a beloved brand truly is a brand or is a counterfeit, a mere trade name, not so well-known beyond the halls of the business it originates in. The obvious but expensive answer is to conduct formal research into what customers and prospects know, don’t know or think they know. Budget constraints often rule out this option, especially if the need is to make determinations about a large number of brands.

So, while quantitative testing, with statistically significant sample sizes, is almost always preferable, it’s also expensive. So what’s the alternative (apart from blissful self-delusion)? BrandingBusiness has developed a brand research instrument to answer the Internal Equity question.

Based on logic and experience, we have identified a set of dimensions that help us assess brand status (awareness and equity) indirectly.  To get to such a point, we do not ask for judgments, estimates or best guesses about a givenbrand’s market value, level-of-awareness or equity. Rather, we ask questions which admit of quantitative answers, along dimensions that we think can tell us something significant about brand status, things like: product history (number of years in existence), clientele (number of active customers); competition (total number of competitive products in the market); promotional support (whether or not a brand has a dedicated marketing/advertising budget or not—and how much, etc.).

We used these dimensions with success for the Process Systems (PS) division of Saint-Gobain’s global Performance Plastics business. PS designs and manufactures fluid management technology—advanced tubing, pumps, valves, manifolds, gaskets and seals—for highly specialized, often demanding applications.

Using the BrandingBusiness equity protocol, we assessed their portfolio of over 50 SKU’s and identified just four genuine brands around which the total offer could be organized, simplified and more effectively marketed and sold. In the end (or in the new beginning), we re-purposed them as functionally defined lead (line) brands, refreshed their individual identities, and assembled them into a new, more equitable and navigable architecture.


SUCCESSFUL BRANDS GO WITH THE FLOW OF CHANGE

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, would have felt at home at the conference on Corporate Brand Reputation held in New York on June 9 and 10.

He was famous for his insistence on ever-present change in the universe. "No man ever steps in the same river twice,” was his memorable observation, which became synthesized into the philosophical bon mot – panta rhei, or “everything flows.”

Indeed, the common thread of the two-day event organized by the Conference Board was how companies of all sizes and across all industries are grappling and adapting with the increasingly dynamic requirements of the new liquid environment in which they need to perform to drive business performance.

Liquid is the word: to be effective in today’s world brands need to be like water – they need to flow as forces of innovation and business transformation and adapt swiftly to device preferences and satisfy the thirst of hyper-fragmented global audiences with relevant content, unique value and design.

So, how are companies adapting to the new environment?

First, they are adapting internally, challenging and changing the old organizational models.

Maggie Fox, SAP’s Global VP of Marketing, went to the heart of what is the new normal in one word: change. Sales organizations embedded into marketing (and vice versa); marketing controlling IT spending and becoming a hybrid in the process with in-depth expertise in business, technology, engineering and IT; omni channel brand experiences requiring new and unprecedented levels of interdepartmental integration; high-quality content flowing constantly through the omnichannel world becoming the currency of brand power; and of course, data – the empowering force that is transforming hardware into software.

Second, in a communications environment where high-quality content is the new brand currency, marketing and communications departments are evolving into brand newsrooms, often headed by an emerging new executive role: the Brand Editor In Chief.

The evolution, facilitated by the always-on, hyper connected society, is demanding a conversational, informal approach in order to spontaneously engage people and build sustainable brand interest.

Gone are the days of the marketing calendar: brands are now part of the organic content cycle, they are creatively inserted into trending conversations with timely precision, thoughtfulness and, yes, a bit of fun. This is a significant shift compared to the regimented and highly controlled corporate approaches of just a few years ago to communicate their value to the marketplace and engage with their customers.

Third, how do you measure brand power in this fluid world? The jury is still out on this topic, but as of right now, there seems to be a belief that measuring intent to buy is a very valuable and precise dimension through which one can assess the impact of investments in omnichannel brand experiences. One of the biggest challenges remains turning social media data into business and operational intelligence due to the successful integration of structured and unstructured data.

And last, it is a fundamental truth that companies will be able to change only if their people are engaged with energy, clarity and a sense of personal commitment. However, it appears they face an uphill battle here: according to a global survey disclosed by Mark Fernandes, Chief Leadership Officer at Luck Companies, a surprising 70% of the global workforce is disengaged.

What people value most deeply will move them powerfully in their work and life,” said Mark.

It’s true. When personal values align with company values, lives are more satisfactory lived and work output increases exponentially because the organization becomes an expression of people’s unique talents, ideals and beliefs. Powerful brands will always coincide with powerful cultures.

So, everything flows: for brands to remain viable and competitive in the new world, companies need to go with the flow or be swept away against the currents of change.