The Giant Shop Window: Online Branding in 2017

SMM-Jigsaw-Banner” (CC BY 2.0) by greyweed

The internet is a giant shop window. As browsers flow through the various search engines and social networks on an hourly basis, there are literally millions of opportunities for brands to capture someone’s attention. In the early days of the virtual world, flashing banners and a few Google AdWords was enough to draw people in and make them remember you. Today, as we all know, things are very different. In fact, with new developments cropping up all the time and various genre splintering into subgenres, there are literally too many ways for a company to market itself online.

Offer Some Social Value

Social media is, without doubt, one of the most important marketing tools an online business can take advantage of in today’s world. Instagram, for example, has 800 million active monthly users, while YouTube gets 30 million viewers watching five billion videos every single day. In terms of volume alone, these platforms are a marketing goldmine. However, as the medium has grown, it’s no longer enough to be “Insta Famous” for doing nothing.

Value is the latest trend social media marketers are now using to push their products. Instructional videos, information posts and even things such as behind-the-scenes insights all offer an audience some additional value. Perhaps the best example of this came from The Hobbit. When star Martin Freeman decided to have some fun with the behind-the-scenes crew – by sticking his middle finger up every time he was caught on camera – the clips went viral. Sure, the movie would have been big without those videos, but the additional insights made the brand more endearing and enduring.

Brand a Bandwagon

blackjack” (CC BY 2.0) by whiteafrican

Another branding strategy that can work well is, well, branding. By taking an existing product and adding your corporate logo to it can help give you the edge in a competitive market. A great example of this is betting operator William Hill. For the last seven years, the iGaming industry has embraced live streaming technology in a bid to create more realistic and immersive games. Piggybacking on trends started by gaming companies such as Twitch, the games are now go-to options for many players.

While their old-school methods such as sign-up bonuses are still key, Live Blackjack at William Hill takes live streaming software and adds its own colors to the mix. Like other online casinos, William Hill configures into a general network, but it hasn’t stopped there. By agreeing to a deal to offer its own unique tables complete with the company logo, the company has given itself an edge in a competitive but popular market. Essentially, when you spot something people love early on, a shortcut to success is to own it, add a twist to it and, in theory, get your message out the masses.

Go Holo

win10_HoloLens_livingRoom” (CC BY 2.0) by Microsoft Sweden

As the online world evolves, new opportunities present themselves and one of the most interesting at this point in time is virtual and augmented reality. Plenty of companies are already playing around with products such as Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR, but the projects involving HoloLens are some of the most intriguing. Microsoft takes on mixed reality is slightly different to the other options on the market and that means early adopters are able to get something of a unique edge on their competitors.

In March 2017, Microsoft marked the first anniversary of HoloLens by announcing that it had more than 150 partners. Among those taking a shot at mixed reality marketing is Adobe. Working with Microsoft, Adobe has created Sensei software that essentially tracks the movements of someone as they’re using HoloLens. The aim is to create a more personalized altered reality experience so that brands can directly target a consumer’s interests. By integrating this software, Microsoft is gradually turning its mixed reality headsets into a powerful marketing tool rather than a novelty product. Indeed, with brands now able to collate data and identify trends via HoloLens, we can expect to see online marketing take a few new turns in the coming years.

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