Spreading of the Covid-19 virus has lead to people staying in quarantine, shops closing their doors, empty streets and big problems for business owners, for small ones as much as for big ones. Small businesses are maybe even more affected than big ones but what's in common for both is a question: how strong is their brand online? This is not to take focus away from physical presence, but more to expand a brand's reach and give it new opportunities. Maybe the most important, having an organized and strong online presence for your business provides certainty when it comes to running a business in these kinds of situations when most of the entrepreneurs have to close their doors until further notice.
In accordance with the newly created situation, the growth of demand for domains was noticed by Epik CEO Rob Monster who confirmed this growth by saying:
"No doubt about it - inquiry volume is way up today. What's also interesting is that inquiries are also for new TLDs and for domain hacks, not just the normal heavy emphasis on.COM. We'll see what others report, but this is the busiest Monday I can recall."
Have companies started thinking more about the importance of having their unique spot on the internet, having a strong, recognizable brand, name and domain? Is this a turn around in a consciousness of the business world when it comes to having a strong and independent brand online? That would be great given the possibilities that internet offers are endless. Even companies who have already built a strong brand and visual identity are rethinking their position, now that all focus is on online business. A set of questions seems logical on that topic: How accessible is your business? How easy is your brand name to remember? Are you depending on third parties or you have control over your traffic? How effective is word of mouth for you? How many return customers do you get? Ease of access, trust, authority - creating and keeping those in such uncertain times is a challenge even for established brands.
Nike is one of the best examples of how a brand can be strong and independent. They have realized the importance of a positive and consistent brand image and direct to consumer sales a long time ago. Nike's presence on different online platforms and social media is all leading their target audience to Nike's website and mobile app, where orders are actually placed. The company even put an end to its partnership with Amazon, explaining the reasons as follows:
"As part of Nike's focus on elevating consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships, we have made the decision to complete our current pilot with Amazon Retail."
Nike strives to take more control of its sales, by increasing its own direct-to-consumer business.
Urban Outfitters also developed good online business so when their shops all over the United States, Canada, and Europe are closed, their online business is running. Another example of how a company builds unsurpassed trust from its customers is Apple who is selling regularly online and still managing to help and contribute to this situation. You would think that coffee shops can't work in a time of the pandemic, but there's Starbucks to prove you wrong. They are working online and delivering drinks to your address per your order. While Lululemon has closed all shops in North America and Europe, their website and mobile app remain available. These are just some of the examples of the companies that didn't let unexpected circumstances take over their business by investing in a strong online presence beforehand.
Nike can serve as a great example to teach and inspire entrepreneurs to take control of their professional image, sales, traffic, business and generally - brand online. How much did you invest in your brand last year? How memorable is your brand name? What about the domain name? How much does your traffic depend on third parties? What are your alternatives, what is your plan B if they close the door (virtual or physical) tomorrow?
You have certainly heard the saying: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" and it's a good and timely one to apply to your business philosophy. We all learn by trying and with the number of ways to reach customers growing, there will always be more and more things to try and learn - different algorithms to battle, rules, and restrictions imposed by companies or governments, new social media platforms, and mediums to concur. What will remain the same is your brand, your promise to your customers and your team, your values - those can evolve and grow but they are yours and there to stay, so investing in your brand from the outset does seem like the wise thing to do.
So what is your plan B if the social media driving your traffic goes down? What is your plan B if you have to close your physical store/s? What is your plan B if search engines change algorithms overnight?
"The best way to predict the future is to create it" as someone wise once said. What are you doing today to have a strong brand tomorrow?
We hope this will be of use to you in the process of building a strong brand. If you have any questions, need any help or just want to chat to someone about the process, book a free consultation using the form below. We are always happy to hear from you.