Your identity as a business informs every other decision that you make. Without a strong business identity at the core of your mission statement and core employees, all of your decisions may bring short term results, but there will be no brand created over the long term. This results in rising costs of doing business over time as the novelty of a new product wears off.
Having a strong and precise online identity is an increasingly major part of a business identity. In most cases, the first impression that a customer will have of a business comes from the online presence of that business. If your online identity is not fully formed by the time a customer finds his or her way to your website, then that first impression will be your last impression.
– Why do so few companies today have a strong online identity?
Many companies are overly concerned with the short-term aspects of their business. The day to day operations of business can be quite overwhelming, especially for the small business owner with a small budget and an even smaller staff. Everyone is wearing five hats in the office, and every day is a high stress environment. Just serving the customers that are currently patronizing the business and keeping them happy is a difficult proposition. There is very little time to think of any kind of long-term strategy.
New ideas may come to different people in the business at the same time. There will usually be no central theme to these ideas, and everyone will try their ideas in order to see what works. It can be very difficult to throw out certain ideas just because they do not correspond to a central theme; after all, you may be speaking to your friends or to investors in the business when you shoot down their ideas as a small business owner.
– What is the solution for small and mid sized business owners?
The solution that will keep newer businesses from running into the situation above is to create an online identity from the very beginning of the company. Usually, this needs to be done within the offices of a partnership. Most long-term strategic thinking needs an outside eye on the problem. In this way, no one will become personally involved in the decisions that are made. The online identity can be formed in the best interests of the customers and the investors, not based upon the ego of the employees.
It can be difficult to find a marketing company that understands this. However, an online identity design agency is the partner that you need to look for in order to create the long-term branding strategy that every business needs to succeed.
– What exactly is an online identity design agency?
The term “online identity design” is a relatively new term on the Internet. It encompasses many disciplines that have come to rely upon each other. When a company says that it does online identity design, this should mean that it will be your primary consultant on marketing, PR, advertising, website design and correspondence with customers. All of these elements must be in line with one another in order to facilitate branding effort.
However, the customer facing aspects of the business are not the extent of what an online identity design agency does for a business partner. Just because a few ads have a central theme to them does not mean that the business itself is coherent. Before any of the customer facing aspects of a business will truly gel, the online identity design agency will need to make sure that all of the core employees of a business are in sync with each other. In this way, an online identity design agency is also part business consultant.
– What should I be looking to outsource to my online identity design agency?
As a business owner or an important employee within a business, you will definitely have a huge say in the strategy that goes into the overall identity design. However, you will need to outsource some part of the decision-making to a design agency with a track record of success. Outside eyes will be able to see the true coherence between ideas that you and your colleagues have. They will also be much less emotional about the ideas that need to be cut or redesigned in order to fit into a certain niche.
You must also allow your online identity design agents to run the proper analysis on your business presence. If you have a precise online identity that is the exact same as one of your competitors, then you will not do very well in the market. One of the first things that your online identity design agent should do for you is to conduct a market analysis and place you firmly in your niche. Your budget will be considered as well as the quality of your product. This will go a long way in determining the type of marketing that you do for your business. In turn, this will help to save your brand, and your preferred audience will soon be found.
– What will be the final product of an online identity design agency partnership?
Ideally, you will have an ongoing relationship with your online identity design agency. There are simply too many competitors to ever remain stagnant in the world of online commerce. However, you should definitely expect concrete results from a partnership with your agency.
First of all, you should have a streamlined website that is completely optimized for the major search engines. This website should also be fully responsive with all major mobile platforms. You should have a strong advertising program that points directly to the most active page of your website. You should also be able to identify potential partners in your industry that will respond in a positive way to your new online identity. Among other things, you should also be able to create an elevator pitch that will impress anyone in five seconds or less.