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Relationship Secrets Revealed:
How to strengthen your brand online

Elizabeth White






I'm starting a
relationship with my future washing machine.





Those in tuned with the history of branding know that it's all about brand relationship now. Unique names aren't enough. Consumers expect features to be standard and not optional. Unique selling propositions crowd the information channels and a fancy presentation holds our attention, oh, for about 3 seconds.

Relationships. This is what will endear the consumer to your brand and the internet is a great forum for building relationships. Skeptical? Take a look at these examples.

Put through the wringer

I'm having a tough time with a stain on my favorite shirt. I go to the Kenmore website to see if the manufacturer can help me. A lot of product information. Not much help. So I click on over to the Maytag website. Hey one washer is as good as the next, right? Don't be cringing Kenmore, read on.

The Maytag website is what we in the business call customer-centric design. They are talking my language, literally: "I am shopping for ..." and "I need help with ..." are titles to different sections of the site. They also have an Ideas & Advice section. Here is where I find articles from how to save on my water bill to how to identifying common stains. Along side the information, the website uses the peripheral borders to sell their products, benefits, and services under the title section of "Solutions Advisor."

Start dating your future customers now

But the core point is that the website contained more than just "Here's my product, buy now." The Maytag website is building a relationship. By providing information, it positioned itself as knowledgeable in its industry. Now we are talking laundry here and Kenmore can easily provide the same article topics, but they haven't. What are can you do in your industry?

Using information to draw in and educate your users about your company is a lesson that all business can learn from. I'm not thinking of buying a new washing machine because mine works great, but I'll remember which brand was more helpful when I am ready to buy or someone asks for my advice. Another example is you're reading this article as found on Experienced Designs. You may not have a web project in the immediate future, but you're starting to think of who you would want to partner with on that next project.

Harnessing the consumer's attention

Online branding is interwoven with customer service and a splash of sales and held together by strategic marketing objectives. Brands must evolve because online consumers have raised the expectation. In exchange, the consumer is giving you more of their time and attention.

The Internet is a "lean into" experience. People are scanning the web page, clicking on buttons, listening to streaming video clips, filling out forms. You don't get the same type of involvement from television or print media. Harness this interactivity to begin a dialog with not only your present customers but your customers-to-be.

Elizabeth White is the Director of Interactive Marketing at Experienced Design, an internet business solutions company focused on helping its clients maximize the internet to its full potential.

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