Online branding

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Online branding

  1. 1. IntroductionOnline branding A brand is not a name. A brand is not aJennifer Rowley positioning statement. It is not a marketing message. It is a promise made by a company to its customers and supported by that company . . . I may have intelligent agents that can go out and assemble pages of reports on every camcorder on the market, but I don’t have time to read them. I’ll buy Sony (Sterne, 1999). Online branding is discussed in nearly every book on e-marketing or e-business. Some argue that in a world of information overload, brands become ever more important, because they save the customer time, by reducing their search costs. This position can be further developed by arguing that brand building will be increasingly important in providing continuity and customerThe author commitment in a fast moving marketplace. In anJennifer Rowley is a Lecturer at the School for Business and electronic shopping environment where physicalRegional Development, University of Wales Bangor, Gwynedd, interaction is reduced and product qualities andWales, UK. benefits must be distilled and captured in a way that can be communicated over the wires, onlineKeywords branding may be increasingly important. OthersInternet, Internet marketing, Brands, Information services argue that with the wealth of information on the Web at their fingertips, coupled with intelligentAbstract agents and search engines to help them locateThe role of brands and branding in the new economy that is the information, products and services that theycharacterised by digitisation and globalisation are attracting need users will no longer need to rely on theconsiderable attention. Taking the organisational perspective shorthand of brand. Instead they will gatherthe challenges for branding in online environments relate to: detailed information on products and servicesthe message capacity of Web pages, the need to integrate and make their own judgments on the suitabilitybranding and marketing communications across different of a product making brands superfluous.channels, the trend towards organisational value propositions,brands as search keys, the opportunity to link and develop Library and information services and a rangebrand positions, globalisation, and the increased engagement of other intermediaries or cybermediaries in theof the public sector with branding. In the context of the brand information industry face specific challenges.experience, key themes are customer control, customisation Information based industries have been the mostand customer relationships, the help yourself nature of the affected by the digital revolution, with themedium, the increasing emphasis on experience, and the products and services that they offer beingopportunity offered by m-commerce to revolutionise the capable of digitisation at many stages in thebrand experience. An online brand development strategy customer relationship. Marketingincludes the following stages: setting the context for the communication, selling and transactions, andbrand, deciding on brand objectives and message; developinga brand specification; developing a brand design, creating the delivery can all be executed digitally. The WebWeb site and other communications using the brand, page is not just another channel designed tolaunching and promoting the brand, building the brand increase visibility and access; it is rapidlyexperience, and finally, reviewing, evolving and protecting the becoming the shop window for many players inbrand. the information industry. The first impact that a digital information provider makes on aElectronic access potential user or customer, and the greeting thatThe Emerald Research Register for this journal is they provide to returning customers isavailable at embedded in the home page, and the other partswww.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister of the Web site that users frequently visit. A well- designed digital experience will also embedThe current issue and full text archive of this journal isavailable at opportunities for e-mail, telephone or personalwww.emeraldinsight.com/1468-4527.htm contact with service agents (i.e. people) and components of service delivery (as embedded in functional elements of the Web site such as a search engine, transactions to deliver print or electronic copies, or the delivery of other itemsOnline Information Review ordered through the Web site). Service agentsVolume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · pp. 131-138q Emerald Group Publishing Limited · ISSN 1468-4527 Refereed article received 10 October 2003DOI 10.1108/14684520410531637 Accepted for publication 6 November 2003 131
  2. 2. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138and service delivery can reinforce the initial This means, for example, that brand design,message or detract from it, but the initial including the graphic design, the logo and the lookmessage is communicated through the relatively associated with the brand do not create the brand,impersonal means of the Web page. This means although they do help to accelerate recognition,that it is particularly important for information and thereby speed up the branding process.providers to be at the leading edge of online Brand names help the buyer by conveying abranding. In addition, the new economy bundle of attributes about the product orcharacterised by digitalisation, customer service. This increases the buyer’s confidencerelationships and globalisation is leading to rapid that they are making a satisfactory purchase, andchange in industry and marketplace structures increases their search efficiency. From thethat affect both private and public sector producer perspective, branding enables theenterprises. In such an environment, intangibles supplier to attract a loyal customer base, it oftensuch as brands, designs, patents and trademarks means that the producer can set a higher pricewill become the financial bedrock of the future for goods branded under a reputable brand, andcorporation (De Kare-Silver, 2000) In sectors in it helps the supplier to segment markets. Awhich branding has only played a limited role in powerful brand has high brand equity, or inthe past, branding will be an increasingly other words, it has high brand loyalty, nameimportant tool in building customer familiarity awareness, perceived quality, strong brandand confidence. Yet, there is evidence to suggest associations and other assets such as patents,that many of the designers of library Web sites trademarks and channel relationships.have been preoccupied with Web site Brands have multiple levels of meaning. Firstfunctionality, and have not lingered long on the and foremost, a brand is signified by a brandquestion of brand or corporate identity. For mark, and therefore has a basic functionmany Web sites the focus is on the service associated with recognition, and association. Alloffered, rather than on promoting an image of documents, products and Web pages carrying athe library service. common brand mark can be seen to emanate This article commences with a review of the from the same source. Brand marks whennature of brands and branding which leads into a registered as trademarks may also used to protectconsideration of some of the unique aspects of an entity. Brands can also deliver different levelsonline branding. Since Web pages have a of meaning. A brand may bring to mind certainsignificant role in online branding, the article product attributes, such as “organised”,reviews how Web site elements can be “durable”, “reliable” and “pleasurable”. A brandmarshalled to communicate brand values and may also say something about buyers’ values. Formessages. Finally a model for the process example, a buyer of a Mercedes may value highassociated with building online brands is performance, safety and prestige. A brand mayproposed and discussed. also convey personality. For example, consumers might visualise a Mercedes as a wealthy, middle- aged business executive. The brand will attract people whose actual or desired self images areBrand basics congruent with that of the brand. In the online environment, the concept of brand as experienceWhat is a brand? has been promoted. This concept of brand emphasises that the user’s brand image is formed A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol, design, or not just by a product and its attributes, or even combination of these which is used to identify the values, but by the total experience that they goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of associate with the brand. Importantly, given the competitors (Kotler et al., 2002). multiple meanings that may be associated with the concept of brand, any one brand may beAlternatively, De Chernatony and McDonald understood as a sign for recognition by one(1992) describe a brand as: person, as a set of attributes or values by another, . . . an identifiable product augmented in such a and as an experience by a third person. The brand way that the buyer or user perceives relevant is a complex symbol, and the challenge of unique added values which match their needs most closely. Furthermore, its success results branding is to develop a set of meanings or from being able to sustain these added values in associations for the brand that can resonate with the face of competition. the variety of different perspectives that consumers might adopt in formulating a brandThis definition emphasises three aspects of a image.successful brand:(1) a brand is dependent on customer perception;(2) perception is influenced by the added-value Branding in a digital age characteristics of the product; and(3) the added value characteristics need to be Some argue that brands will become less sustainable. important in the digital age, and others argue 132
  3. 3. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138that increased information availability will lead online brand in the absence of preconceptionscustomers to seek best value, irrespective of already established through other channels. Manybrand. It may be that branding may become less of the early dotcoms failed because they neededimportant for low value, frequently purchased to establish presence and reputation quickly andcommodities, but continue to be important for the huge marketing budgets that this requiredhigh value, infrequently purchased, highly undermined their financial stability. Somedifferentiated items. Perhaps the question for the organisations choose to migrate establishedinformation industry is exactly how the role of brands online, e.g. tesco.com and CNN.com;brands will develop in this sector in the digital others took the opportunity to create a uniqueage. The discussion of branding in a digital age and fresh identity online, e.g. smile.co.uk. Therecan explored from two related perspectives; are also a limited number of successful onlineorganisational strategy and brand experience. brands, such as Amazon.com, Yahoo.com, and Brand builders are challenged by the tools at Google.com. A key agenda has been to balancetheir disposal for online branding. Issues and the need to protect and not corrupt establishedopportunities include the following. brands as established organisations enter risky “new marketplaces” whilst leveraging the brand equity of existing brands. In other words the issueThe message capacity of Web pages has been to create a sense of “the same credibility,Web pages do not allow much scope for but a different presentation”. For example, at thecommunicating messages as well as information symbolic level, Barnes & Noble achieved this byabout an organisation, and how to start retaining the offline parent brand Barnes &navigating a site. Not only is the overall screen Noble, but launched using the same name, but insize for a home page relatively limited, but Web a different presentation, barnesandnoble.com.pages need to be designed to accommodate the The earlier click vs. brick debate has now beendifferent generations of technology that might be replaced by a recognition that businesses need toavailable to individual users. This includes take a new look at their channels” strategies, andvariations in the speed of downloading of to understand both the service and thegraphics, screen resolutions, number of colours, marketing communication that customers wantand the types of browser used. The answer is to delivered through each channel, and to develop aenlist all of the components of the Web site in robust multi-channel strategy. One perspective ismarketing communication, as discussed below, to argue that it is necessary to integrateto make the brand message integral, rather than messages, but differentiate experience. Onean add-on. Mobile technologies with very much approach to differentiation is being trialed bysmaller screens present an even more interesting Sony with their demonstration stores in whichchallenge. customers can experience products, but not purchase; purchase is online. In this type ofBrands as search keys differentiation demonstration stores focus onIn a crowded Internet marketplace, the role of offering the whole body experience that engagesthe brand symbol has reasserted itself. A unique consumers” senses, including feeling, smellingbrand name has an important role to play as a and tasting, and leads to an emotional (ratherkeyword in the search process. Unique brands than a rational) commitment. In this scenario,that are well known and are not generic terms an online channel is designed to offer factualcan be very effective as key words used with arguments, transactions, basic support andsearch engines. Even more important is the link ready 24 hour point of contact through andbetween domain name and brand. Consistency beyond the purchase process.between domain name and brand name canreinforce familiarity with the brand, and Unique organisational value propositionstrengthen the message links between channels. (UVP)Not all organisations have been successful in There is an increasing interest in corporateachieving priority on the domain brand that branding, and the associated concept of UVP.aligns most closely with their brand. For UVP is replacing the concept of the uniqueexample, General Motors does not own the selling proportion (USP), which tends to aligndomain name www.generalmotors.com, with products and product features, and therebyalthough it does own and use www.gm.com leads to the proliferation of brands. UVP, on theWard and Lee (2000) found that consumers other hand, is based on processes and values thatused brand names as substitutes for product work across an industry. For example, Virgininformation when they made online purchase sells across air travel, financial services and softdecisions. drinks, through identifying processes that work across all of these industries, and embracing andIntegration of branding and marketing delivering on values such as transparency,communication across different channels integrity and service. Some marketers wouldIn commercial environments, there is evidence to argue that in the online environmentsuggest that it is difficult to communicate an organisations need to move on to the Me Selling 133
  4. 4. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138Proposition (MSP), which conceptualises brand online brand, the Web site will be seen by otheras the property of individual consumers rather audiences. Language, symbols and colours oftenthan of the manufacturer or retailer. Under the do not translate across different countries andMe Selling Proposition, the consumer feels culture. Branding may be world wide, butownership of the brand, and responds to an preferences are local. Global brands have soughtobligation to protect and develop the brand. to identify with values that are common to many communities such as safety, style and status and service, but these need to be represented inLinking and developing brand positions different ways in different national contexts. TheThe Internet can be used to make links between general issue is that the actual audience forseparately branded products more obvious, and online brands is less predictable and moreto bring together endorser brands. Library Web diverse than the brand audience encounteredsites are a prime example of such linking through many other channels.between brands. For example, through myuniversity Web site, I have access to servicesbranded under names such as Firstsearch,Web of Knowledge, JSTOR, Ingenta, and The experience of the brandSpringerLINK. Leitch and Richardson (2003)discuss the concept of the brand Web. They The digital environment has, it has been argued,argue that in the new economy with the changed the dynamic between the organisationconvergence of technology, and industry sectors, and its customers in a number of ways; all ofas well as the merger of existing companies and these changes may impact on the experience ofthe development of alliances and networks the brand.within and between industry sectors, brands donot stand alone. It is important to manage the Customers have greater control overnetwork of relationships between brands. marketing communication Customers no longer wait for leaflets or mediaPublic sector branding presentations to come to them; they cease to beWith the increasing marketisation of the public passive consumers of information, and insteadsector, many public sector organisations are become proactive prosumers, and may take theembracing a wider range of marketing initiative in soliciting information fromapproaches. There is a growing awareness that organisations. The concept of permissionbranding is important, but there is less of an marketing (Godin, 1999) in which organisationsagreement as to how branding of public sector seek the permission of customers prior toorganisations can be achieved. For example, a sending direct e-mail or other communication isrecent Financial Times article indicated that in a response that allows customers greater controlmany European countries government over their relationship with an organisation. Thedepartments are imposing or adopting a brand experience is determined by the customer,consistent approach to branding across all and may be different for each customer.sections and initiatives, but remarked on the lackof any evidence of a systemic approach across Customisation and customer relationshipsgovernment departments and agencies in the Internet interaction, and other channels ofUK (Fry, 2003). A coordinated approach allows interaction with customers often providethe establishment of strong brands leading to businesses (and some public sectorbrands that can act as umbrella brands for a organisations) with the opportunity to gatherrange of activities and initiatives, including those customer data into large data warehouses. Thisthat are both stable and time-limited. In addition data can be used to segment customers and toto the challenge of the size and range of activities design specific offerings to specific segments,of many public sector organisations, the other or even to interact with the customer on achallenge in formulating a distinctive brand is one-to-one basis (one-to-one marketing).often the diversity of the customer group and Customisation and targeting to smaller groupstarget audience. Marketing theory and practice may generate diversity of experience with aemphasises the value of segmentation in brand, and lead to the brand meaning differentformulating and communicating market things to different groups, or alternatively to theofferings. Many, although not all public sector proliferation of a range of brands.organisations serve a very wide community, orwhat marketers might describe as a mass market, A help yourself mediumand this presents special challenges. Customers engage in self-service, and whilst the provider may have control over some elements ofGlobalisation the service experience, other elements areWeb sites are globally accessible; the Internet has entirely under the control of the customer, andmade worldwide branding possible, and indeed, the design of the total experience is alsowhatever targeting marketers may intend for an constructed by the customer. For example, a 134
  5. 5. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138customer who does not use the most effective retrieval routes that are complex and indirect.search facilities for their search may be less Attention to system design will eliminate thesatisfied with the outcome than the customer need to reflect the system complexity in thewho has learnt effective searching skills, can design of the Web site. In addition to makingenter personal and order detail in registration electronic access to resources moreand order forms efficiently, and is generally straightforward, this will create more scope toconfident with the digital resources that they are increase the “volume” and “resolution” of otheraccessing and the processes that they need to messages.undertake to access those resources. The brand Brand values and messages areexperience may be more positive for experienced communicated through a number of elements ofInternet and information users than for the the Web site. These include the following.newcomer. Overall switching may bediscouraged and customer commitment Logopromoted, but there is a real challenge The logo is the shorthand for everything that theassociated with attracting and inducting brand stands for. It should be displayed on thenewcomers into a brand community. home page, and anywhere else on the site where it adds value. It can remind a user of the provenance of the site, and its recurrence inService orientation several locations on the site will help to fix theMany online merchants are taking the logo in the customer’s mind.opportunity offered by the Internet to convertproducts into service experiences. Amazon, for Graphicsexample, does not just sell books; it adds Graphics includes pictures, logos, and otherconsiderable value through information based images. What pictures show indicates theservice elements such as ratings, reviews, content and nature of the service. Pictures are aexcerpts, categorisations, recommendations, visual representation of brand values. Books,and communities of interest. The term people and computers are common images oninfobrand has been coined to describe brands library Web sites. Are these the most effectivethat blur the boundary between information and images, or are other images that reflect authority,promotion. For example, retailers of health trust, or leisure pursuits more appropriate? Oneproducts (such as Boots) offer online health of the very real challenges here is that for manyadvice as part of their online service, people, information in whatever form is merely acontextualising promotions for their products channel to other activities, such as writing anwithin general advice. essay, learning, canoeing, gardening, health, or enhancing the success of a business enterprise. How can this be captured by the pictures on aM-commerce library Web site? Animation of images can give aM-commerce has the potential to change brand sense of movement and dynamism, but tooexperience radically. With m-commerce the much movement can be irritating and confusing.brand builder can know where customers are atany time, and has the opportunity to send Text and copycustomised messages that are consistent not only Text and copy sets the tone of voice, andwith the customer’s profile, but also with their determines whether a message is intelligent,location. For example, if they are about to enter comprehensible and relevant. Text helps toa store that sells televisions, a targeted message define the brand’s personality, and to reinforcecan be communicated to the customer in that brand values consistently. Text is the site talkinglocation. In this situation, the brand message to the customer; the words determine what itneeds to be targeted to the here and now, and says; the typeface determines the style of thecommunicated in a “sound bite”. communication. As well as communicating a welcome to users, and inviting them into the site, text needs to echo the thoughts that the userWeb site elements that communicate brand brings to the site. In this context, there is a worldvalues and messages of difference between: “Do you need newsWeb sites communicate messages about the stories – try Lexis/Nexis” and “Lexis/Nexis is abrand through both their design and database that provides access to the latest news”.functionality. Many library and information Websites reveal a preoccupation with functionality, Currency and newsand the traditional emphasis on access to, and Currency is important. It communicates a livethe organisation of, information and services. At and dynamic Web site, an organisation that isthe lower levels in a university library Web site it interested in ensuring that users have access tois not unusual to find that library jargon and the latest information. Currency is particularlycomplex and lengthy help systems that demand a important to those Web sites that claim to deliverlevel of reading on screen that most users would the latest information or news, and also to thosefind uncomfortable. Whilst help is always sites that users visit on a regular basis. Userswelcome, every effort should be made to avoid need new information to encourage them to 135
  6. 6. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138revisit, and whilst regular users of a site may be Building an online brandresistant to changes in navigationalarrangements, they seek messages that confirm Managers need to take a systematic approach tothat the site is being updated. Does the Web site the development of brands in the onlinelook like “today’s” Web site, or “yesterday’s” marketplace. A model for an online brandWeb site? How is currency conveyed? development process is proposed, and its stages are discussed below. It is however important toColour remember that this model focuses on what theColours often have culturally defined messages business can do to build the brand. Ultimately, aassociated with them. What do the colours of the brand is only as good as the brand image that itWeb site communicate about values? What generates in the minds of consumers. Brand markscolour is a library and information service, or can be seen as representative of the accumulatedshould it clothe itself in the corporate colours of experience of the brand; a brand mark evokesits parent organisation? Even shades of the same memories of previous brand experiences. The taskcolour, such as light blue, royal blue and navy for the brand builder is to tease out andblue may communicate different messages. The communicate brand values that take theuse of colours in combination, in blocks, in organisation where it wants to go, whilstpictures or applied to text can have an impact on acknowledging and building on any existing values,the overall “look” of the Web page. Care should attributes or personality traits that existing usersbe taken to ensure that pictures are used associate with the organisation. In the sense that allcarefully, to avoid detracting from a consistent brands are dynamic they must provide leadership,colour message. and not just echo how they are currently perceived.Shapes On the other hand their message must be initiallyWhat do shapes say? Shapes are used in many credible and ultimately deliverable.ways on Web sites, including shapes of picturesor graphics, shapes of buttons and shapes of Setting the context for the brandmenu option displays. Even small features such Any brand mark, such as that for a public or anas round corners on menu boxes instead of academic library needs to be designed takingsquare corners may communicate a difference of into account, and possibly echoing, thestyle and approach to service. The choice of corporate brand. Values embedded in thetypeface and its consistency with other shapes is corporate brand need to be translated into thealso an important feature. Many commercial library brand, but interpreted to match thebrands use a word or two in their brand mark or unique services offered by the library, and thelogo, and the shape, colour and style of the logo values associated with that service that arewill set a design style that needs to be echoed shared by library managers and their staff.elsewhere on the site. Public libraries are part of a local authority. Academic libraries are part of a university orLayout and combination of images college. Another important element of context isThe overall layout of a Web page can be used as a any other existing brands that the library hasmetaphor. The CNN Web page, for example, is used. A new online branding initiative mayarranged in columns to simulate a print provoke a review of offline brands. Certainlynewspaper. The Disney home page uses the managers need to be able to identify elements ofmetaphor of a village, consistent with the consistency and elements of differentiationconcept of Disneyland. Portals and other between offline and online modes. The valuesinformation intensive sites have a very real embraced and communicated offline should bechallenge in organising as many access points echoed in online channels. So offline values suchand banner advertisements as possible on one as friendliness of staff, relaxed atmosphere,screen. This can leave them looking like a jumble space for study, helpful signage, informative helpsale of messages, with too many different colours desk, attractive displays and environment mayand shapes (sometimes inherited from the brand be represented online through friendly tone ofmarks of their partners), and the loss of a clear voice, simple site, uncluttered, easy navigation,branding for the portal itself. similar colour palette to that in the libraryRelationship features building, and helpful e-mail contact points.Relationship features is a general term for thosefeatures and functions of the Web site that take Deciding on brand objectives and messagethe user beyond the home page and its initial Marketing communications across all mediaimpact. The Web site experience builds the need to deliver a consistent message. Thisbrand experience. Experience features include message may relate to the purpose of the library,the speed of site load, navigation, and response a set of values, or even be an encapsulation of thein any communication or interaction. Functions personality of the organisation.that encourage return visits to the site include The first stage is to understand what thate-mail, chat rooms, new information, special message might be, focussing on the concept ofoffers and community. brand as a set of values. Brand values must 136
  7. 7. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138match the values that customers seek in using be launched. In addition to simply making theinformation services and products. Each Web site available, it is important to continueinformation providing organisation will have a building brand presence offline, through, fordifferent potential customer base, and will need example, publicity, launch events, and word-of-to build brand values accordingly. Values must mouth in training seminars.both resonate with existing and potentialcustomers, as well as representing a promise on Building the brand experiencewhich the organisation has the capacity to Once the brand is launched, interaction throughdeliver. Values can be elicited by surveys and those activities associated with the brand,other approaches that collect data from existing including ease of navigation of the Web site,stakeholders, including existing and potential value of pointers to external informationcustomers, staff, and managers. resources, extent and ease of access to full text of Coupled with the definition of message is the periodical articles, and responsiveness andmatter of objectives. What makes a successful relevance of help-desk support, all contribute toonline brand depends upon the library’s building the brand experience. One very realobjectives when conducting online branding. challenge for libraries is to ensure that services,Some possible objectives of online branding such as collections of electronic journals tomight be to: which they provide access, and which have their. raise awareness of online and offline own distinct unique branding position, do not services; undermine or qualify the library brand through. encourage a higher level of use; different images, and symbolism, or through the. enhance the effectiveness of communication more pragmatic aspects of the experience between users and the library; associated with search, navigation and access. encourage more frequent visits to the Web arrangements. site;. encourage users to use a wider range of online services; Reviewing, evolving and protecting the. get people to remember the brand mark; brand and Library and other public sector brands are. change people’s attitude to the library. unlikely to find their brand being emulated andDeveloping a brand specification used to sell t-shirts. Nevertheless, monitoringIn addition to the message other elements of the and control of the use of the brand, both at thespecification need to be identified. Specifically in level of its use in corporate communications, andthe context of the brand mark, a brand mark the interaction between the use of online andneeds to be recognisable, and memorable, visible offline presentations of the brand, and theand usable in different channels, including associations that users are building with theonline, professionally printed promotions and brand is an important component in evaluatingphotocopied and in-house communication. marketing communications, and more widely the success of the library in engaging with its audience. Annual or biennial audits of how theCreating a brand design brand is applied and how it is perceived yieldProfessional assistance through a designer or important information for brand evolution.design agency is important in translating a Above all else, no serious brand builder leavesspecification into a design. This process should their brand to languish unnoticed, whilstbe interactive, with the designer making a range technology, services, customers and theof proposals, and manager, staff and users environment change around it.having some structured input to the process ofevaluating the impact and effectiveness of thedesign in communicating core messages. ConclusionCreating the Web site and other Online branding is at an interesting point ofcommunications using the brand development. Many organisations recognise theDesign the Web site to reinforce and need for integrated marketing communicationscommunicate a brand. Messages emanate from across offline and online channels. This makes itall elements of a Web site, as discussed earlier. difficult to differentiate, both practically andWhilst effective Web site design remains theoretically between online and offlineimportant in terms of usability, the central focus branding. On the other hand, branding in onlinein the branding process is on communication environments poses a sufficient range ofand messages. challenges and opportunities that it is important to shine the spotlight on branding in digitalLaunching and promoting the brand environments, and to explore some of theOnce the Web site with its brand mark and other potential impacts of online channels forbranding elements has been designed it needs to branding strategy. Online environments are by 137
  8. 8. Online branding Online Information Review Jennifer Rowley Volume 28 · Number 2 · 2004 · 131-138their nature information based service Godin, S. (1999), Permission Marketing, Simon and Schuster,environments. Conceptualisations of brand as New York, NY.experience emphasise at the very least that brand Kotler, P., Armstrong, G., Saunders, J. and Wong, V. (2002), Principles of Marketing, Pearson Education, Edinburgh.is built not by what an organisation says, as by Leitch, S. and Richardson, N. (2003), “Corporate branding inwhat it does, and further, by how the user the new economy”, European Journal of Marketing,experiences what it does. Library and Vol. 37 No. 7/8, pp. 1065-800.information services are increasingly delivering Sterne, J. (1999), World Wide Web Marketing, 2nd ed., Wiley,their services digitally and remotely. This new New York, NY.medium and channel has the potential to free the Ward, M. and Lee, M. (2000), “Internet shopping, consumerlibrary of the legacy of some of the less than search and product branding”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 6-20.positive and forward looking images that someusers may hold, but only if the opportunity isrecognised and embraced. Further readingReferences Aaker, D. and Joachimstahler, E. (2000), Brand Leadership, Free Press, New York, NY.De Chernatony, L. and McDonald, M. (1992), Creating Chaffey, D. (2002), E-business and E-commerce Management: Powerful Brands, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. Strategy, Implementation and Practice, Prentice-Hall,De Kare-Silver, M. (2000), E-Shock: The Electronic Shopping Harlow. Revolution: Strategies for Retailers and Manufacturers, Rowley, J. (2003), “Branding your library Web site”, Update, 2nd ed., MacMillan Business, Basingstoke. Vol. 2 No. 2, p. 45.Fry, R. (2003), “Whitehall’s identity crisis”, Financial Times, Ties, A. and Ries, L. (2000), The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet 23 September, p. 15. Branding, HarperCollins Business, London. 138

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