last updated 2016 Feb 23
see also
see also
see also
see also
see also
.. This Online Branding unit is used in
    o MGTD06
    o CCT322
Not all of the material in this unit will be used in each of these courses; the amount of material covered will be indicated by the actual lecture given in class by the professor. Some courses cover this topic extensively, some courses deal with it briefly.

the biggest
the most famous
the most popular

Market value of the largest internet companies worldwide 2015 
- based on market cap - size

Forbes Magazine 
- based on a survey of customers 

INTRODUCTION Before we move on to discuss "Branding" in the context of Internet Marketing it would be a good idea to review briefly the basic concepts of branding as understood in traditional marketing.

Brand Equity
The value a brand has
- from existing products (sold in a "brick" situation) now being sold on WWW
- for new products with no "brick" presence

Brand Association
The favourable relationship marketing people hope becomes established with a product, eg. Nike-Jordan, 
  • Brand Recognition - first stage
  • Brand Preference - what marketing people try to create
  • Brand Loyalty - what marketing people really hope happens
  • Brand Insistence
    • when customers chose that brand to the exclusion of all others
  • Brand Ambassador - the ultimate stage
    • when a person becomes so enthusiastic about the product not only do they insist on using it exclusively, but they make efforts to have their friends use it to

The Key Elements of Branding
  • Differentiation
  • Relevance - the degree to which the product can be seen by the customer as having usefulness
  • Perceived value

The key elements of branding, which Schneider and Perry quote from ad agency Young & Rubicom
  • product differentiation
  • relevance
  • perceived value
The elements of branding as listed by Martin Lindstrom and Tim Frank Andersen
  • role
  • personality
  • achievement
  • brand backup
In Chapter 3 of David Siegel's book, he makes the important point on page 31 that
"... in Internet time, brands are less sticky than you might think. It takes more effort to maintain an online brand than an offline brand"

Siegel cautions that in the "customer-led future, company brands will weaken significantly because companies will be pulled apart by their customer divisions, they should plan on restructuring and promoting product or even division brands"

Siegel may be right - in several cases, re: company brands will weaken significantly this is indeed already true among several consumer product companies. Toyota promotes the Lexus brand as a distinct luxury brand to disassociate itself from the mass market low price appeal of the average Toyota line-up. In 2000 BMW sold Landrover to Ford, but Ford continued to keep Landrover as a product with a distinct brand - even though the Landrover was a direct competitor to its Ford Explorer and Ford Expedition.
Look at the pics below, can you tell which is the Landrover and which is the Ford?

A 2007 Explorer starts at $40,699 for the 4.0 litre XLT package 
and can rise to $52,199 for the limted edition

Range Rover HSE starts at $99,900 with the supercharged edition running you $118,900

Why brand-build on the Internet
chapter 7 
the authors discuss
  • a brief introduction to the concept of brand building
  • the value of a strong brand to the producer
  • the value of a strong brand to the consumer
  • brands and trustworthiness
  • brand equity
  • global brands
  • the benefits of two-way branding
  • the increase in the interest in the individualism of communication (which could also fit in the CRM - Customer Relationship Management section of IEC)
The authors in "Brand Building on the Internet" discuss the question of increasing the individualism of communication.

This subject has developed in response to the trend for people to be less and less loyal to popular media and advertising. While the amount of TV we watch has increased from 15 to more than 25 hours a week (on average) the amount of times we flick channels has increased very sharply - meaning, simpy, we are avoiding long drawn commercial segments by watching two or three shows concurrently on different channels. As a consequence, we are effectively ignoring the TV commercials and the message is less and less effective.

Therefore, the large advertising agencies have been hopefully looking to the Internet as a medium in which advertising can be done in such a way as to have more individual contact with the viewer and therefore have a greater impact, which would eventually lead to a purchasing decision.

Companies who are going through a corporate reengineering process should recognize the opportunities available in online promotional and advertising and forgo some of the situations they have in traditional advertising, which have proven to be ineffective related to the cost involved.

Chpt 8
"Elements of Branding"
page 305 in the Schneider/Perry book

"Marketers are attempting to create and maintain brands on the web by using rational branding. Companies that use rational branding offer to help web users is some way in exchange for viewing an ad.
Examples of Rational Branding include the free email service that yahoo;com and give people - which can only be utilized after vieiwng the ads.

Chapter 10

Brand, Pricing and the Internet
Global Millennia Marketing is a division of Internet  Merchandising Systems Inc has a site on which there is a very good article by John Shenton about branding and internet products
- this discussed the role that price plays in making a decision.

John Shenton says "The Internet and its promise of instant profitability is potentially the biggest problem in the coming years for many businesses in the retail and  hospitality industries.

Revenue managers want to use the Internet as a distribution channel to sell more product or in the case of hotels, put more heads in beds, yet at the same time an over reliance on the Internet could actually have the opposite affect, eroding already faltering profits. The fact is that by aggressively competing on features and price, it’s difficult for your business to create meaningful and lasting differences from your competitors. 

Your customers benefit from price wars by saving money, but also get confused when choice is confined to price. In many instances the customer is in effect buying a commodity and has no sense of brand loyalty because little is known about the company making the product or  about service after the sale."

. Brand, Pricing and the Internet

As such, branding has never become more important, and its time your Internet pricing models need to be addressed. There is a danger of your product or hotel being perceived as a commodity. In the Internet world, if you can make your product different from a commodity you can get the pricing differentiation.

Branding should therefore be a key aspect of every business Web site, but remember your brand is not just your logo, tagline, packaging or the "look and feel" of your ads and your website. These are all graphical parts of your brand identity and are often narrowly, and incorrectly,  referred to as "branding”.  Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of your customers and prospects. It is the sum total of their  experiences and perceptions of your product, company and service, some of which you can influence, and some you cannot. "
John Shenton - November, 2002
A note on the  site says "Articles and Reports written by us may be printed or displayed on your website providing they are kept intact and a link/attribution to this website or Internet Merchandising Systems plus authorship is displayed."

Strategic building up of brands on the Internet
March 2011 student Gaurav G in MGTC46 at UTSC emailed to say

Guarav explains
"When I was reading you notes for next class I took an interest in the section about branding and how marketing and creating a brand image in todays day and age is very different then before.  With the use of facebook and twitter brands are becoming more global and are able to reach a larger demographic in a shorter time span.  In this email I am focusing mainly on twitter and how it allows companies to listen easily to ideas that consumers have to enhance their current products or create new ones. This video is very interesting on how certain brands are using twitter to strengthen their image

As you can see there is more to twitter than just updating a status.  By listening, and correctly timing tweets brands are able to build customer rapport."

WTGR replies
"Thanks Guarav, looked at the video, it is useful, basically, it shows an interview with Hollis Thomases, CEO of about Twitter. Thomases discusses Twitter and its social media applications at SES NY 2009."

Strategic building up of brands on the Internet
chapter 8
the authors discuss web segmentation
    KEY POINTS why segment? because most people believe that when they put text and images up on their web site, they are therefore communicating with everybody in the globe - this is not true. There should be a specific effort to target the material to a demographic which best fits your "perfect customer profile". You should do "target market segmentation" online just as you would do it offline in a traditional marketing situation.
Web Segmentation:
Lindstrom and Andersen say that
. ..
Building Brand Loyalty for IT Services: Lessons from Industry Leaders
By Rob Leavitt, Associate Director of Research, Information Technology Services Marketing Association
and Phil Dover, Faculty Director for the School of Executive Education, Babson College

Key Findings

Branding is Still a Long-Term Game.
Leavitt and Dover explain "For IT services firms, the most critical measure of brand value is customer loyalty.
Brand loyalty comes from meeting and shaping customer expectations through experience over time.
Providing excellent and consistent performance thus becomes the major characteristic in building your brand."
Branding Services is Different
"IT services brand builders must understand the unique challenges presented by marketing and selling services and solutions.
Compared with products, IT services generally are less tangible, more complex, less commoditized, and more risky to purchase.
Changes in the IT services market are putting a premium on criteria such as speed to market, flexibility, Internet-related experience, and partnerships.
Brand builders need to emphasize these criteria"

permission to quote Dover et al done in email 2008 Feb 21, copies on file in permissions binder
Establishing Brand Presence
Larry Chase wrote a book titled "Essential Business Tactics for the Internet" (ISBN 0-471-25722-2). In this book are several good chapters on brand image, including one particular chapter #5 "Your Brand Image and the Internet". Chase is quite an authority on the subject and he makes the following observations.
It is not just big companies that worry about building brand image.

Don't obsess over your domain name, its important - but not everything, company names change (eg. Mosaic/Netscape)

    o The key to establishing brand on the net is reputation
    o Don't try to brand to the whole WWW, it's too big
    o Focus on some niche markets - tribal marketing
    o Contribute to your tribe - give people something free that is of value - get publicity for doing this
    o Predict what customers to your site want - give it to them easily with no BS



Migrating your company's image online
- some things are easy, some things are difficult (eg. Tide) - in the case of products that are bought 99% in person, you can still provide  useful web  sites that discusses how to better use the product
- TIDE also uses the web site to emphasize how they are involved in the community of their key target markets
How Corporate Identity Guidelines Change Online
page 219

"The ability to create special effects in HTML, such as those afforded by the use of wallpapers, may create readability or recognition problems when used alongside your company logo or wordmark" 


.. Domain Names are an aspect of branding for companies that are pureplays or new dot.coms that are click and mortar

Click on this screen capture to review the material in the unit on Domain Names

Examples of companies trying to develop "product evangelism" by creating a community around the brand and other "especially innovative and exciting" situations Beverage companies do not sell beer, ice tea and cola on the net, why do they have web sites and what do they use them for?
locations where you can buy Snapple worldwide
Snapple, in trying to compete against the Cola giants, Pepsi and Coke is trying to use their web site and other promotion to turn customers who are at the brand insistence stage into "evangelists". The point being not only will these people be faithful drinkers of the beverage line, but that they will be "fans" and encourage other people to drink the products.
How do you facilitate their development of fan status - by giving them kewl screen savers, let them order merchandize with the logo, win prizes, enter contest etc.

Snapple can also use the online site to gather specific name and address information of loyal customers which they will use in "direct mail" campaigns in ensure
Molson indy page

In April of 2000, Molson's got much more reaction than it expected when it launched its TV commercial "I Am Canadian".
The web site
on which the commercial is downloadable became, according to some accounts, the number #1 downloaded feature on the web for Canadian surfers in the spring of 2000. 

At the I AM website,
people can get an email address such as or or 

The questionnaire which you fill out to get the free email includes the statement
"we are always trying to learn more about you and your interests in order to provide the best and relevant community for Canadian beer drinkers..."

Such customer profiling techniques were done by the American cigarette companies in the 1980's in order to develop long-term brand insistence - however it was expensive to do that then due to the amount of free merchandize you had to give away - "kewl" web sites allow this customer profiling to be less costly and you can create communities of customers that in turn create a dynamic that can be very exciting

The National Post picked up on this story of Molson and their I AM CANADIAN ad and accompanying web site and ran a story by Jonathon Gatehouse on the patriotic fervor created

In addition to our material and online links for sections that we went through in MGTD06, we particularly recommend this book Brand Building by Martin Lindstrom and Tim Frank Andersen. While it is recognized that purchasing additional books is expensive, this particular book is very good and contains good chapters on all the key areas of branding and traffic building and banner ads. For those of you that could not consider buying this book, we will make efforts to cover the content by providing quotes of the key points herein.