Companies spend a lot of time, money and other resources to build a viable brand that helps them to become more powerful in the marketplace and generate more sales. Now that the Internet is at a core part of doing business, companies seek to leverage their brands in their online activities. It is a tricky proposition and must be performed carefully so as not to damage a brand as the company attempts to mine online gold. Here is how a company can leverage its brand equity online successfully.

Brand Equity is a Valuable Commodity

When consumers think of a product and the brand is positioned alongside or even in front of that product, it is because the company has a strong brand equity. Brand equity is an incorporeal business asset that functions to add value to a product or service.

Strong brand equity plays many key roles for a business. It forms the basis for product or service launches, particularly when the brand seeks to go into new areas. It creates stability when there is negative news or a faulty product released by the company It attracts higher quality employees to the company. And it gives the company entre into new distribution and marketing channels. In terms of the bottom line, brand equity means that the company’s products and services can be priced higher or will have a competitive advantage over similarly priced products or services.

Taking Your Brand to the Internet

The Internet presents a wealth of opportunities for companies to present themselves to worldwide consumer markets. It has become the gathering place for consumers where they explore, test, discuss and purchase in a vibrant online marketplace. Because the internet is the most competitive market in the world, businesses must be appropriately positioned to understand how to interact with online consumers and leverage their brand for their greatest benefit. The requirement these days is that companies require speed, agility, and an ability to integrate into consumer’s current behaviors nearly seamlessly. Because of this, the need for tools that assist with key areas of interaction like customer feedback and customer leads online are critical.

Here are tips to help position your brand effectively with online consumers:

Create a Story: Your brand may have an off-line identity that consumers align with and if this is the case, your brand’s online positioning should be an extension of this story, particularly if it is working well. But because of the nature of the internet, this story needs to be enhanced. Consumers want to get deeper into a company’s story, who they are, why they do what they do, and what is important to them. Use this knowledge to tell a deeper and more enriching story to them on your website and in your online correspondence.

Use Social Media: You need to have a great website that informs and provides a base for your online presence. And you also need to take advantage of the huge online communities that aggregate on social networks where your customers most likely are active. They need to see you there as well. However, you need to participate in a way that shows creativity and integrates into the medium. When done properly, social media can provide the means for consumers to directly engage with your brand. So approach it seriously. Post meaningful and thoughtful content. And remember, the downside is that if you get it wrong, negative viral information about your brand can spread like wildfire. Take charge and there can be great wins for your brand on social networks.

Build Relationships: The Internet through social media and other means allows companies to build great relationships with consumers. Companies can create blogs around certain topics that are important to their customers and provide great advice and tools that are helpful. This will ingratiate your customers to you and show them how much you care about them and not just getting their money. So use you knowledge of your target market and become a resource for them that will firmly tie them to you. Remember, long term relationships mean more sales.