Day 16 - Mega Brand (Big Brand Upgraded)

CCarter

If they cease to believe in u, do u even exist?
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#1
** Important Read Big Brand Checklist Refresher Before This To Understand The Underlying Foundation. **



Brand

Your website, is the front face of your brand. You should always consider what you do as a business, and treat it like business. Your brand is your life and you're goal is to setup your brand as a superstar within your industry. Mediocrity is not an option.

When you go in with the brand mentality you'll start off wanting to create the foundation of a great brand versus a flimsy web site. Even if the project doesn't take off, when you have a brand you can sell it to an interested party, and if you started off the foundation correctly, you'll get more money for your hard effort versus trying to get all your ducks in a row once you've decided to end the project.

Mega Brand

I needed to create a type so you understand this type is a higher level. Unfortunately "Big Brand" has become synonymous with individuals throwing up half-ass wordpresses, long exact matching domains, 5 pieces of "long" content, and a total of less then 100 pages - WITHOUT a uniformed social media presence. That's not what it was about, it was about taking your overall game plan to a level where users, advertisers, and corporations looking at your website believe they are dealing with a superior entity.

So I'm taking this level up a notch and introducing a Mega Brand understanding. Now a mega brand has all the big brand elements, which I do a refresher of here - within the CC9 bootcamp. Read that content, absorb that content, become one with that content, and understand and then look to becoming a higher level.

This is how you know you are at a higher level - a mega level. If Warren Buffet or Bob Diamond or Rich Ricci (yes these are these bankers' actual names and they may be responsible for some collapsing) saw this site would they consider this a website of a serious business - or just some person that's half-assing their way through life. If you needed to call up one of these three for investment funds - and they did a spot check, would they take your site seriously?


When they look at your social media presence, your online reviews, your SERP results, will they see a actual BRAND or just a quickly identifiable Wordpress site? Could you get investment money off of just sheer on-site look and feel of your brand? And it's important you do not lie to yourself, cause only your inner voice hears what you are saying. If the answer is yes, then you've arrived. If the answer is NO - then we've got some work to do.

The Foundation of Your Brand

The foundation of your brand consist of your website (and social presence), your business (if you have a physical location), your staff (customer support representative that represent your brand when answering phone calls, online messages, or emails), and the overall visual of what people experience as well as the feeling they get when dealing with you.

Choosing A Domain

The way you setup your website's domain name is extremely important. You should choose a name that's easy to remember, easy to spell out (if not get the potential misspells of the .com version and redirect to your main brand), and should be brand-able.

Now this is where people will differ when choosing a domain. Depending on their end goal, some will go with a domain that's simply a keyword or combination of keywords from within their niche - an example ChicagoPlumber.com. Now that's okay, but not really memorable in an offline setting. A distinguishable name, unique enough so people can recall it without having to look it up is preferable. I like domain names which are 10 characters and under, and have words that are easy to recall, usually one syllable.

Now you can get ChicagoPlumber.com and build it out, work on driving SEO traffic to it, but depending on how far you want to take it - let's say an IPO or major brand, you'll eventually have to rebrand to a more memorable name. It's an option, but I like starting out with a good unique name that has positive connotations.

You can also obtain these 'exact match domains' or 'phrase domains' - but I discourage that since it is coming from a pure SEO train of thought and not an overall marketing/branding perspective. But if you are looking to make some quick cash in a website flip of some exact match domain (ChicagoPlumber.com) - them meh, yeah go for it. But I will continue recommending a pure brand approach even in that scenario since those will go for a higher multiple versus just an exact match domain. Remember your buyer is looking to buy revenue, recognition, and something that looks amazing and impresses. Only SEOs or domainers would be impressed with "ChicagoPlumber.com".

So create a serious brand and gain the .com, .net, and .org version of the domain as well as potential misspellings of your brand. Imagine walking around at a convention center or conference with this brand on the back of your employees or promotional staff's back - short and memorable is the way to go. Too generic and people will forget about it within 24 hours.


Proper Online Presence

So with a brand you'll need the proper social presence. Social media allows you to increase your brand's awareness to the audience of that platform. That's similar to joining a forum so you can increase your presence for your industry. Even if you don't have a desire to tweet all day, simply having a presence and updating it on a regular basis or outsourcing it's updates is better then having nothing. Now-a-days you are expected to have the majors, a Facebook page, a twitter account, and a Linkedin profile for your company.

Now depending on your target audience, you'll want to pick up an Instagram account, Snapchat, tumblr, and anything you feel the audience might look for you at. There are services that will do all this registering work for you. The key is to try and get a username on these platforms that's exactly your brand, or as close as possible as you can get it.

The question is do you look the part? First thing you need to do is get a critique of your brand from a serious marketing and branding perspective. And this includes all your collateral (corporate communication - business cards, brochures, social media accounts, letterheads). You don't need all the elements just yet, but understand that when you do you'll be ready with your official corporate colors, and exact logo, slogan, and marks - all which are in sync.

Pretend for a moment you are the brand director of Coca-Cola, and you know the corporate colors. You are responsible for all corporate communication being uniformed and making sure you aren't having trademark issues with other entities.

Now with that multi-billion dollar brand's image as your responsibility you then evaluate YOUR own social media presence, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and then your main site, and then your corporate collateral (whatever you have). The question you need to ask yourself is - first is it all uniform?

If not why the hell not? Does anything look half-ass where the CEO of the company would simply look at me crazy for not having it complete? If so why have I not fixed it? And if you need examples go to Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Beats By Dre, Samsung, and these other mega brands' websites and social media presence. Notice how they are, or at least suppose to be, in sync with each company's core messaging and most importantly the attention to detail is there. You don't see any of them with twitter profiles of eggs or no twitter header image for their company, so if you seriously have eggs or no header then you need to fix that ASAP.

Uniformed Feel of A Mega Brand Example:


Links:
- Facebook
- CocaCola
- Tumblr
- Instagram

^^ Now don't give me an excuse on why you can't do that level of branding, since it literally takes 1 designer to handle those accounts. If you want to be a mega brand, you have to start looking the part and it means stepping up your game to the mega brand level, and a simple designer can handle that.


Resurrecting An Old Social Account
Let's say you bought a dropped domain or acquired a domain where a previous company obtained the social media profiles. There is a trick I utilized to see if I can regain access to these profiles by resetting the password. What I do first is go into my email system and create an email that serves as a catch all. It'll be different for your system by if you have WHM/Cpanel you'll have this option within the interface:


Once you setup the catch all, find the username you are looking for, and try to reset the password by clicking the "forgot password" option. Input the username and in twitter's example you see outputs like this:


^^ Found the username and the first letter of the domain that it can reset the password too. Other systems might not be this open but once you input the username the system will send an email to the email on file. If the company/brand used an email at your new domain, your catch all email will catch it, and you can reset the password to a new one.

You can do this for most systems since once you have control of the email account - and with a catch-all you do, you'll be able to reset and change passwords of dead social media accounts. This is a pretty gray area tactic since you might start getting emails that might be for the old domain owner. Don't do anything sneaky or stupid with it.

Creating a Brand Style

A brand style is how your messaging and brand will appear whenever you utilize your logo. The key for this is consistency. When starting out people just throw up a logo and go. At some point you'll want to go back and get some branding done so your website's design, your corporate communications (brochures, business cards, letterhead), social media accounts, and emails going out all match your brand, your brand's official colors - Your Brand's Identity Guidelines. You can go to a design firm and get this done for your brand down the road so there are official capacity stuff, but in the meantime you and/or your designed should be able to handle making your online presence uniformed. (A good reference when it's time to go down the Brand Identity Guidelines route: How to Build a Brand Bible & Visual Style Guide

About Us & Mission Statement

As a brand you'll need certain critical pages. A simple "About Us" will help people that might land on an inner page of your site, and want to know exactly what you do. The key for a good About Us page is you need to be specific. Talk about exactly what you offer, who you target for customers/clients, and the key members of your organization and their strengths when it comes to your industry. People click on the About Us page to see faces and understand the brand's mission. This is a great opportunity to link to a mission statement or a company philosophy/code of conduct where you can go into the overall reason for existing and why you feel you are needed in this industry. That's where you can get a little more esoteric.

Legal Stuff

Depending on your business you'll need legal terms, privacy statements, and depending on the country you are in you might need a cookie statement. Now-a-days all the rage is getting SSL to showcase you are serious about security too.

Security

SSL is required for payment processing and whenever you are dealing with private data of individuals, but it may not be required for a recipe site or mommy blog. Don't jump onto any bandwagon without understanding the reasoning behind it. What we saw with the "SSL" craze where people installing SSL onto their random sites and thinking they'll get an immediate ranking boost - but the exact opposite happened.

Installing SSL on an old site means you are doing 301 redirects from the http versions to the https versions - therefore you just reduce the power of your backlinks by about 15%, hence why there were wide-spread reports of dropping in rankings. The point is if you start off and know you are going to be dealing with private data, credit cards, or sensitive information then you should start off with SSL enabled and enforced, so you don't need to switch back and forth and won't lose any link juice if you decide to change to SSL in the future, you were SSL from day 1.

Communications

We go into more details about customer service and support in a separate day, however I want to touch on this quickly. When you create your new online presence be it your website or these different platforms you've just created a communication channel to your brand through these platforms. What that means is people will communicate with you where they are most comfortable. So you might have customers tweeting to you problems, or sending you messages on Facebook, or Linkedin, on top of contacting you through your contact form on your website and/or support ticket system.

You have to be on top of all of it as best as possible. This is where a customer service representative or your social media team are put in place to gather these communications and reply in a timely manner. The worse thing you can do is setup a communication channel and NOT communicate - I mean that's just leaving money on the table no matter what way you look at it. So make sure to engage users at the platforms they choose to connect with you at, and remember this is the internet, we aren't in the old days where all customers will contact your store through a phone call - so be mentally prepared and use technologies like Hootsuite which will funnel multiple platforms into one interface.


Conclusion

These are some of the finer points of being a Mega brand, along with the Big Brand Checklist Refresher, you'll have all the markings of a serious online contender in your industry - and that's the real goal cause Mediocrity is for your competitors' brands, not your brand. And if you evaluate that your competitors don't have a Facebook, or twitter or Instagram, that means they are slipping and you can take the lead of your whole industry and capture the audience at those platforms where they completely lack a presence at.

- CCarter (@MercenaryCarter)


Additional Day 16 Study Materials:
 
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#2
Good stuff CCarter. One thing I would add is email setup and when dealing with clients having emails for different departments such as:

Billing@
Marketing@
Webmaster@
C.carter@
 
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#3
My question relates to a combination of this day and day 10. This question is mostly for people starting a new site.

So, I've started a website and I want to come across as a big brand. Why? So people will 1) trust me and 2) remember my brand (vs micro niche emd). What big brand doesn't have FB, Twitter, etc? So, I register these because its essential for promoting the illusion that I'm already established, organized, uniform, and not a 22 year-old behind a laptop. And I add links to these profiles on my website and Schema.

At first, I'm not going to have any followers or likes. In this phase, having social media accounts, especially ones that are linked to my website, is going to discredit the brand more than anything, right? I realize every big brand started somewhere, but anyone who finds this new site and decides to look at the social accounts its going to scratch their head. Is it a good idea to wait until each social account looks minimally popular before visibly linking to brand website?

Buying likes and follows -- bad idea. You've got to put natural work in to get engagement and likes. Twitter and FB are so large that you're pretty much guaranteed the ability to reach some of your target audience. But what if you realize your target audience does not make much use of Twitter? What if your ROI for your time is 50x more by using niche forums and blogs than a 2x grinding at Twitter and FB? Clearly its worth spending your time in other areas, so do you make your big social accounts look as 'legit' as possible and hope that you won't get discredited by having a low follow/like count? Or is the social proof of having 10,000 real followers on twitter worth the low direct ROI from twitter even if it means decreased activity on a niche forum? If I don't start out with a service or product of my own, I don't envision too many people needing to use Twit/FB to get ahold of me for customer service needs. And the inform/educate/inspire can all be implemented on more niche related sites, and in the form of traffic leaks. Maybe I'm wrong.

I've been thinking about this partially because I've noticed how every single business has Twitter and FB accounts. Many of them have some followers. But the money they spend hiring a 'marketing team' to regularly post updates is doing almost nothing for them. I know they aren't posting anything polarizing, but even if they were, most people I know don't follow many businesses or even brands. Lots of social, like Snapchat, only makes sense for a very limited number of brands/companies because of the audience using it.
 

CCarter

If they cease to believe in u, do u even exist?
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#4
At first, I'm not going to have any followers or likes. In this phase, having social media accounts, especially ones that are linked to my website, is going to discredit the brand more than anything, right?
Just start posting content that engages your audience and use hashtags and you'll gain followers naturally that like your content. You'd be surprised, it's more so a matter of liking what a twitter account is saying and talking about versus "how popular" they are. You are thinking too much into the "popular" aspect, versus the brand "helping their target audience" perspective. Go with helping instead of wasting time trying to be popular. Also you can get followers cheaply by using the social media platforms' ad platform like Twitter Ads.

Is it a good idea to wait until each social account looks minimally popular before visibly linking to brand website?
No, just link to it, you are overthinking it.

But what if you realize your target audience does not make much use of Twitter?
Then you keep the twitter, put it on some rotation and move on to platforms where you get higher ROI. There is no rule stating that you have to "concentrate" on Twitter and Facebook. I can tell you that one of my brands has almost no updates on our Facebook Page, yet Facebook accounts for nearly 50% of our social traffic, yet 90% of my efforts are on twitter for that brand. You ask why? Cause the traffic is all coming from Facebook groups and there is little I can do to "penetrate" those FB groups, so I'll keep doing what I do best creating content that's going to get continuously shared inside those FB groups, and the places I do control like twitter I'll keep doing that.

so do you make your big social accounts look as 'legit' as possible and hope that you won't get discredited by having a low follow/like count?
What's "legit" to you? and "discredited by "who"? I can understand if you are trying to get guestposts and the poster sees you have 12 followers, you'd better tell them you got a newsletter list of 40K or something else to offset that, but other than that I cannot see a user not following you if they like what you keep posting just because others aren't following you. You can be their "little secret".

If I don't start out with a service or product of my own, I don't envision too many people needing to use Twit/FB to get ahold of me for customer service needs.
Maybe they want to share your content while CCing you on the individual platform.

most people I know don't follow many businesses or even brands.
Are you just targeting people that you know OR have you actually done market research and do not see your industry/niche or topic being talking about on Twitter with hashtags? Cause your reality - might not be your competitor's reality. No one is forcing you to be on Twitter and if you did proper research and find your target audience is not on twitter, move on from twitter.