You know that a Meta tag contains the key information of a web
page. This Meta information is used by a
search engine to locate and rank the web site. You provide your
Meta information to a search engine, pay its
prescribed registration fee and get your site registered with
the search engine. Search engine puts this Meta
information in its database. When a searcher types key words in
the search engine text box, these key words
are matched with the Meta information recorded in the database
of the search engine.
Different search engines have different ranking criteria.
Normally, those sites are ranked at the top by the
search engine software where maximum keywords typed by the user
match with the recorded Meta
information of the site, as well as, such words appear in
greater frequency in the Meta information. Some
search engines search the entire internet each time. Many search
engines rank the site by using a program
called ‘spider’ which inspects the site before ranking. You know
that one can view Meta information of
one’s competitor’s web site. This information can be
incorporated and misused by an e-business in its web
site representing that to be its Meta information. Thus, such a
business can improve its ranking on search
engines by capitalizing upon the reputation of the business
whose Meta information it actually is. In many
countries, stealing and misusing Meta information in this manner
to gain business/competitive advantage is
considered as an offence known as the tort of passing-off.
Partnering means to form a strategic union with another
company/business for mutual benefit or profit
sharing. Partner businesses can provide complementary services
and products to their customers and thus
benefit each other. For example an e-business selling computer
science books having a link to an e-business
selling computers and vice versa can enter into a partnership
for mutual advantage. Competitive advantage
to both the businesses in this arrangement is that the customers
are a link away from buying a
complementary product/service. Thus, a person buying a computer
from one site can be induced to buy
computer science books from the partner’s web site. Moreover,
partners can exchange technical research or
customer information. They can help each other in improving
respective management or operations.
Outsourcing a job to a partner can also be useful.
An affiliate program is an agreement between two parties that
one will pay the other a commission based on
a specified customer action. It is not a strategic union as is
partnership. Rather, it is for limited purpose and
time. Banner advertising is the example of an affiliate program.
A brand refers to an emotional shortcut between a company and
its customers. You can say that it is the
trade name/symbol that reminds customers about the reputation of
a company regarding its products or
Elements of Branding
Researchers have identified three elements of branding, that is,
Product differentiation is the first condition to be met in
order to create/establish a product/service brand.
It means that a company must clearly distinguish its product
from all others in the market in some
significant way so that the product/service is different from
that of its competitors. For example, you can
create/establish your brand on the basis that the soap
manufactured by your business is unique in the
market in the sense that it does not dissolve quickly in water.
Relevance means to what degree is the product/service useful for
potential customers. For example, you
may have designed very distinguished jewelry but very few people
use or purchase the same. In fact, it may
prove to be too costly for most people to buy. Note that your
product/service should be capable of easily
relating itself to the people.
A product/service may be different and relevant (customers can
see them using it), still they would not buy
unless they find some perceived value in it. For example, a
restaurant may be selling a unique dish that
relates/associates itself to the taste of majority of people;
still they may not be inclined to buy it because of
certain negative associations, such as its high fat content.
Thus, to create or maintain a brand the above three elements
have to be fulfilled.
Emotional branding vs. rational branding
In case of television, radio or print media people are normally
in a passive mode. To a greater extent they do
not control the communication channel and thus have to listen or
view the advertisement about a brand.
This is a type of emotional branding. On the other hand,
emotional appeals are difficult to covey on the
internet because web is an active medium largely controlled by
the customers, which means that they can
easily click away from any such emotional appeals. Therefore,
rational branding is normally used to create or
maintain brands on the web. Here, businesses offer something
interesting or valuable to visitors in exchange
for viewing the advertisement. For example, a free email account
with storage space can be offered through
some web pages, and on each such page (that offers this email
service) the visitors have to see an
advertisement about the brand.
Note that transferring existing brands to the web or using the
web to maintain an existing brand is much
easier and less expensive as compared to creating an entirely
new brand on web. One common way of
popularizing the brand of a business on the web is to provide
its URL on product packaging,
advertisements on TV or print media etc. One can also combine
the URL with logo of a company on
brochures, visiting cards etc. in order to popularize the brand.
As a marketer, when you are aiming at marketing your business in
the entire world, you have to keep certain
considerations in mind. Your web design must provide content in
various languages and provide prices in
various currencies, so that people belonging to different
countries/cultures can understand the information
contained in your web site. A regular display of currency
exchange rate information can be useful in this
behalf. Today, tools exist that can translate emails and your
web sites into different languages. Another
important consideration should be as to whether the country
where you are doing the business has the
required infrastructure to support your e-business. For example,
whether you have a proper distribution
channel of your products in a country you are doing business in.
Similarly, you should carefully choose a
payment system for your e-business which is compatible with the
environment of a country where you are
doing business. For example, a payment mechanism using SET
cannot be considered as compatible with
business environment in most of the third world countries.