When clients sign up to develop their cyber brand presence, they do so with the intention of making their brand a recognisable identity. Unfortunately, majority of them will fail to achieve this simple objective. And the most shocking revelation is that of those who fail, almost all of them fail within six months or less of starting their branding exercise.
Initiating A Branding Exercise
What do you need when you embark on a branding exercise? Well, the most important thing to do is identifying and defining a quantifiable Master Objective. The keyword here is “quantifiable“, meaning clearly defined and measurable objective. This Master Objective must also be realistic, and achievable within the time allotted, not an imaginary number plucked from thin air.
A common Master Objective is to achieve a predetermined number of daily visitors to your website, to be achieved within an allowable time span. Generally speaking, the higher the visitor traffic is to your website, the more well known your brand is.
So what’s a realistic Master Objective? Well, for a newly signed up client, it’s realistic to set the Master Objective at achieving 300 daily visitors within 12 months. It’s not a small feat, but then again, it’s also realistically achievable within the time allotted.
Master Objective And Weekly Objectives
Once you have your long-term goal defined, it’s now time to break it down the individual, shorter-term objectives. Eventually, accomplishing all these short-term objectives will lead to achieving the Master Objective. And just like the Master Objective, these shorter term objectives must also be realistic and achievable too.
So what’s a credible short-term objective? Again, using the same example as above, a short-term objective can be as simple as publishing two fresh articles a week. Of course, that’s only looking at the general view. A comprehensive short-term objectives would be publishing two interesting and relevant articles per week. And these articles must also adhere to the searchability index of popular search engines too. *Hint: Google search*. Unique keywords, word tags, embedded images and/or videos, etc. Basically, you want to make them as interesting to the readers as possible. Then you’d also want to advertise the newly published articles to as many people as possible. And this is where social media comes into play. You must then promote your newly published articles on your social media channels. Entice your followers to click on the link to the articles proper, to consume the content there.
Sounds Easy Enough… So Why Does It Fail Again?…
The most common scenario is that the client gets pretty excited at the beginning. They adhere to the short-term objectives pretty much all the time… Until they get bored, or complacent… It’s human nature to be lazy. Soon enough, they’d start to miss the short-term objectives. In as short as three months after the start, the two articles per week will drop down to one per week. Another month later, it stretches even further, maybe down to make one article every two weeks (if you’re lucky). And before you know it, you’ll find it almost impossible to get even one fresh article every month.
You’d probably achieve a steady increase of daily visitors from zero to about 150 per day about three months in (early sign of success). And when the number of articles published per week start to slow down, the daily number of visitors will also start to plateau. Before long, the number will start to decline, slowly but surely. By the time you get down to one fresh article per month, the number of daily visitor would go down to about 50 per day. It is at this point when the client goes into denial mode…
In Denial Of The Whole Situation
At this phase, most clients will go into denial, and start digging their heels into the ground. They’ll reason with you that the drop in the number of daily visitors is due to the “unattractive” website appearance, not the lack of content. As a result, they’ll drop all efforts from producing more contents, and channel all their energy into “redesigning” the website layout.
By then, they’ll stop concentrating their effort on producing quality contents. Instead, they waste their time and effort, looking into all the nitty-gritty imperfections in the layout of a perfectly functioning website. And the most common place that they’d want to make changes is the landing page itself.
Research Shows That Very Few Visitors To Your Website Actually Come In Via Your Home Page
Keeping track of the back-end of your website, you’d notice that most visitors don’t arrive via your home page. If your SEO is working properly, majority of your visitors will arrive via direct links into one of your many articles. After they’ve finished consuming the contents of that article, they might start to explore your website. They don’t look at how nice your design is before consuming the contents that attracted them there in the first place. So spending all the extra effort to decorate your home page is a total waste of time. Not many visitors will ever enter your cyber home through your front door anyway.
So instead of pooling the collective effort to develop new contents, they waste their time and effort doing unimportant things. It’s like a magazine publisher hiring graphic artists to make their cover page “look pretty”, but continue to publish old editorial contents, issue after issue. A front cover that looks pretty is a bonus. But then nobody in their right mind will want to buy new issues if they’re printed with old stories.
“There Are No New Contents In This New Issue At All…”
It is at this point that they fail to elevate their brand identity completely. And no, they didn’t fail isn’t because their website isn’t pretty enough to attract web traffic. They failed simply because they’ve nothing new to share anymore.
The Solution Is… And Yes, There Is One…
As obvious as it may seem, the solution is simply to go back to the beginning. At the very beginning, there’s the Master Objective, and its weekly objectives. So if you don’t want to fail, then make sure that you address your objectives regularly and continuously. If you fail to observe and address your objectives, your branding exercise is doomed to fail.
With that, we’ve identified the common reason why many cyber branding exercises fail. We also understand that those who’re destined to fail, more often than not, fail in six months or less. So does that mean that if the clients can survive for six months, then they’re successful?… Not exactly… It does, however, mean that they have a realistic fighting chance to grow their brand to new heights.
We Know How To Avoid Failure, But How Do Succeed?
Knowing what pitfalls to avoid is only half the battle. The other half is to keep your sights trained on your objectives, and work towards achieving them. In the next article, we shall explore the real world difficulties of keeping your branding exercise on track. We shall also discuss practical tips on keeping to your objectives, and meeting them within the allotted time.