The benefits of creating an Internet brand

August 3, 2000
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MONTEREY, CA — How important is a brand name? Very important, especially if you look at one famous example. According to David Seuss of Northern Light.com, the first “modern” brand began over a century ago.

“The first modern brand was inspired by a sermon on a Sunday in 1879,” he said. “It involved the 45th Psalm and the phrase ‘pure as ivory’ stuck in the mind of a parishoner named Harley Proctor. He and his partner, Mr. Gamble, decided to name their first product, Ivory Soap, based on the 45th Psalm.

“In 1881 they ran their first advertisement touting Ivory Soap as being 99 1/4 percent pure,” added Seuss. “This is a tag line with staying power. Ivory is still number one in its category 119 years later.”

Seuss addressed Frost & Sullivan seminar attendees on the importance of a brand name. He cited a 1985 study that showed 22 out of 25 leading brand names in 1925 were still the leaders in their categories in 1985.

“It’s really hard to kill a consistent brand,” he added.

Seuss also talked about the monetary value of a well-known and well-liked brand.

“The power of a brand is proportional to its consistency,” Seuss said. “In 1997, the market value of the top 60 brand names was $729 billion. The three most important words in branding are consistency, consistency, and consistency.”

Seuss mentioned some recent books on Internet branding, which suggest that the speed of the Internet and the attention span of users has reduced brand recognition.

Branding in the real world vs. the virtual world takes a different approach.

“In the real world, a brand name can be adorned with a different typeface or enhanced with graphics,” he said. “In the virtual world, a brand name stands naked and alone in the location box.”

A brand name that retains awareness through its uniqueness can mean millions of dollars. For example, Seuss said that a one percentage point change in unaided awareness — that is, recalling a brand name without the aid of an advertisement — is worth about $80 million in today’s market.

Uniqueness is the “essence of branding,” especially over the Internet, added Seuss. But he said having a unique brand name doesn’t always guarantee success and longevity.

“New insights eventually become old insights,” he said. “As uniqueness fades, so does profitability. When everyone has the same insight, high rewards may come from taking a contrary approach.”

The hvacr industry has many common and unique names. The big question is, which name or brand will customers think about when they want to order equipment or services?

Whether you are selling furnaces or furniture, Seuss suggested a little “out-of-the-box” thinking.

“If you are going to build a brand, the brand has to stand for something distinctly different,” he said. “And you can’t do that by looking at conventional wisdom.”

For more information on Seuss and his company, visit www.NorthernLight.com.

Sidebar: Aligning online and offline marketing

MONTEREY, CA — Despite the power of Internet marketing, the magic formula for success lies beyond an Internet Web site.

In the hvacr trade, businesses have become very creative in bringing their marketing message to thousands of Internet users. But Manish Mehta, ceo of Eletter, Inc., an Internet-based marketing automation service provider, exposed some common myths about online marketing. These myths are:

  • Internet marketing is the wave of the future and will replace traditional marketing methods, such as direct mail.

  • A strong brand can be built strictly online.

  • Internet marketing will cause your customer acquisition numbers to climb through the roof.

“These are all false,” Mehta added. “The truth is, an integrated marketing mix will win. Use the media for what it is good for. There is a lot more media to market to offline customers than there is to online customers.”

Offline marketing creates awareness and acquisition, he stated, allowing you to target your audience by criteria such as zip codes to convey your message to passive, receptive customers. Online marketing creates loyalty and retention, allowing real-time interaction.

“Marketers want to ditch traditional offline marketing because it is slow, expensive, and ineffective, but it doesn’t have to be,” Mehta said. “The new offline marketing campaign combines the power of traditional marketing with the Internet.”

The message to small organizations: Don’t abandon traditional methods of advertising in favor of the Internet. By using an offline media, such as direct mail, to steer customers and prospects to your website, you are combining the best of both marketing tools.

For more information, visit www.eletter.com.

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