The previous part tells us why many cyber branding exercise fail. So what steps can we take to prevent that from happening? And more importantly, how do we strive to make your brand a successful and well-known entity? It’s not difficult at all, as long as you keep objectives clear, and don’t get side-tracked…
First And Foremost: A Master Objective
Just like embarking in any project, there should always be a clear and realistically achievable goal. We call this the “Master Objective”. The same approach should be applied before embarking on a branding exercise too. The good thing is that almost all branding exercises have the same Master Objective – To become a recognisable brand to the masses generally, and to the target audience specifically.
Cyber brand identities that fail to succeed are usually brands that fail to establish a Master Objective.
Now this Master Objective may sound a little vague at first. So how do you justify being a recognisable brand? More importantly, how do you quantify being a recognisable brand? How do you put a number to it?
It turns out that it’s rather easy actually, especially if you’re embarking in a cyber branding campaign. There are many measuring tools that you can employ to measure just how many people are actually touched by your actions. You can measure the number from your corporate website, or even your social media channels. Even more importantly, there are ways that your audience can even communicate back to you too. That’s the beauty of the two-way information traffic on the internet. We’ll come back to how we measure the number of people touched by your campaign later in this article.
So what’s a clear and realistically achievable Master Objective? Well, let’s fix it at achieving 300 unique visitors per day to your corporate website within six months’ time. If you’re feeling a little ambitious, you can call it at 500 unique visitors per day, but let’s stick to 300 for now.
Shorter Term Objectives (Weekly Objectives)
Now having a Master Objective is simple enough. But actually achieving it is a giant step into an unknown. So it’s usually better to simply break it down into smaller chunks of easily achievable, Shorter Term Objectives. I prefer to fix mine at a weekly interval. And these are a series of easily achievable objectives within a week’s time. And when they’re all met, the Master Objective will automatically be met too. So what are the common Weekly Objectives can we look at?
(1) To Publish Fresh Contents Regularly
If you want to attract returning visitors, you have to give them a reason to keep coming back. The biggest reason (actually the only reason) why visitors keep returning is that there’s always something new to attract them back. Just like a printed magazine, nobody will want to keep buying new issues if they contain the same stories as the previous issue. An attractive design may attract new visitors, but it’s the contents that keep them coming back over and over again.
And while we’re discussing the topic of publishing fresh contents, you have to ensure that you’re doing it at a predictable rate. Something realistic, like perhaps two fresh articles per week. Of course, the more you can publish within the week, the better it is for your visitors. Just don’t burn yourself out doing it, and then abandon it once you’re burnt out. Remember, building a following is a marathon, not a sprint. A consistent rate of fresh contents publication is more important than overloading your visitors with contents, only to stop once you’re out of fresh contents. And once you stop publishing, you fail…
(2) Keep The Contents Relevant And Interesting
Visitors to your corporate websites are like magazine readers. They like reading articles that are informative and relevant to their interests. Just like how nobody would buy a printed magazine if all it has inside are advertisements, nobody would want to visit your corporate website too if all the information you have there are your advertisements. People like to consume actual and useful information. So don’t be afraid to share. It’s not like once they learn how you manufacture your product, or what special skills you have, that they won’t hire you already. In fact, the more information you share, the more likely they’ll trust your expertise, and end up being your paying customers.
You don’t fail by sharing industry knowledge with your audience. Contrary, you fail if you keep these “secrets” so close to your chest that nobody even realise that you know anything at all.
And while it’s entirely up to you what information you want to share with your visitors, try not to deviate too far from your industry’s topics. For example, if you’re running a business of manufacturing and selling bicycles, you’d want to share direct topics like how a certain gear mechanisms are manufactured, or indirect topics like a ride experience through a certain scenic routes. Topics like these are always welcome to visitors who are already looking for stories in the world of cycling. Whatever you do, don’t ever publish articles that are not related to cycling activity or industry, like sharing how to bake the ultimate fruit cake…
(3) Engage Professional Writers
Your subject matter experts are already busy with their responsibilities. So whatever you do, do not expect them to be your regular content contributors as well. You may feel that they’re the best people to talk about their areas of expertise, which is perfectible understandable. But do understand that while they may be good at what they do, they may not be just as good at describing them in a story. That’s why you still need professional writers to tell your stories. Your benefit is double-fold. You get your stories written by professional story-tellers, and you also free your subject matter expert to concentrate on what they’re hired to do without the distraction of added work responsibility.
This is one major area where most clients fail. If you really must cut-corners to save cost, consider hiring part-timers as your writers instead. Whatever you do, always leave the writing jobs to the professionals.
(4) Fully Exploit Social Media Channels
Just like the traditional media space, social media is also the place where you “advertise” your corporate messages. But unlike the tradition media, social media use is actually free-of-charge… except for targeted advertising campaign that’s offered by the social media channel itself, but that’s a story for another day.
If you manage your social media channel well, you literary have access to all the media space that you’ll want, and it’s completely free. The only catch is that you’ll have to manage your social media channel on your own. It’s not really difficult to do. If you really want to do it right, hire a professional social media marketing manager to do it for you. But then again, it’s not really that difficult to manage your own social media channels. Just don’t get your subject matter experts to manage it for you.
(5) Do Not Get Distracted Or Sidetracked
Once you get your act together, you’ll start to see an improvement in your visitor statistics. And you’ll also start achieving your Master Objective too. But do understand that your Master Objective is a journey, not a destination. You can never actually “obtain” your Master Objective. You can only achieve it, and more importantly, maintain it.
Most clients will start to rest on their laurels at this point, and start neglecting their weekly objectives. They’ll reason that they have already obtained the Master Objective (in this case, 300 unique visitors per day within six months), and will think that there’s no need to continue working as hard. Before long, your 300 unique visitors per day will start falling. And if you still don’t realise what’s happening, the number will fall all the way down to zero. That is to say that you have wasted all your time, effort and money to achieve nothing.
Don’t ever get distracted. Once you have achieved your Master Objective, it’s time up the ante, and set a higher bar. Perhaps you can now look at achieving 1,000 unique visitors per day within the next twelve months?
(6) Do Not Keep Changing The Overall Design
One of the most important thing that’s often overlooked is that if you already have a working overall design, do not keep changing it. The more often you change your overall design, the more confusing it is for your visitors. It shows that you don’t have a consistent objective, or worse, that you’re fickle-minded.
Find a design that works, and then stick to it. Your design is your brand. And if you keep changing your design, that also means that you don’t have a proper brand identity.
What Should You Do If You Do Not Want To Fail?
A good cyber brand is one that’s “alive” and is constantly added with new contents. And adding new contents isn’t the same as constantly changing overall web design. Permanent pages are just that – permanent. New contents are articles that are added to your corporate website as new articles, and should now change the structure or contents of the permanent pages.