Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Is your brand Web 2.0 compliant?

An article on AllAboutBranding.com delves into the implications that Web 2.0 has for organizations' brand identities. The author argues that Web 2.0 makes understanding and implementing the basics of good branding a paramount concern, even among small businesses and non-profits. Specifically, he believes that brands need to adapt to the Online word of mouth that Web 2.0 facilitates. He states, "It's [word of mouth] not just for corporates. In fact, smart SMEs and not for profits will also see opportunities here to lift the goodwill they enjoy in the community. It's not necessarily an expensive strategy either - although it is exacting, because it requires your business, regardless of size or sector, to actively monitor its interactions, impressions, perceptions, likeability and deliverables." He also offers up 12 considerations to prepare your brand for WOM including, "What sort of reputation do you actually want?," "Are you listening?," "Are you intriguing?," and "Are you ready to be hijacked?."

My two cents: I'm studying Services Marketing this semester, and I'm already bubbling over with fascinating information to share with you. One such nugget is related to this discussion of brands. As we talked about today in class, services by their very nature are risky products. You often can't see, touch, or try them out until you're experiencing the service, and by then it's too late - you bought it! This is true of library services as well despite the fact that there is little to no financial risk. There are, however, risks such as the risk of looking silly by asking a question. It turns out that many kinds of risk can be mitigated by a good, solid brand. In other words, if patrons associate your library with trust, professionalism and good service, for examples, then they'll likely feel reassured by your brand and venture taking advantage of what you have to offer. Until now, I've mainly looked at brands as a way to shape identity and perceptions, but now I see that brands have an even more functional purpose in that they can remove a major psychological hurdle between patrons and your front door. As the article I mentioned illustrates, the prevalence of online word of mouth only makes branding more important and challenging because we share control of our brand with patrons more than ever.

AllAboutBranding.com has a number of free articles online that appear to come from marketers with good credentials. You may want to take a look at them as you think about how to make your brand Web 2.0 compliant.

Categories: must_reads | neat_trends | usable_theories

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