Many companies have launched their products or services online as a new business focus, but only a few of them have survived the competition and made profits. The most important key to an online business's success is to create "brand value" for the customers. Although the concept of online brand has been discussed in previous studies, there is no empirical study on the measurement of online branding. A brand differentiates a product or service from others.
It could be a symbolic embodiment of the information connected to the product or service that creates recognition or association with customers in either a psychological or perceptive way. A company can benefit from its brand as long as the brand creates additional values for the customers. Brand image and brand personality bring extra benefits, such as trust, reliability, and sophistication. Perceptions of a brand are reflected by the brand associations in consumers' memory. ЂћLen an electronic shopping environment where physical interaction with the customers is reduced and product quality and features can only be communicated over wires, online branding becomes increasingly important. " (Rowley J. Online branding. Online Information Review 2004; 28:131-8). Some researchers claim that the Internet makes the importance of brand greater than ever. Customers tend to choose the product or service of the brands they are familiar with, rather than that of unknown providers because the familiar brands represent a set of values or attributes, which are meaningful, clear, and trusted.
As the number of online companies multiplies, only the organizations that have built online brands can enjoy stronger customer-company relationships. Business models in electronic marketplace are very different from traditional ones. An Internet company not only can strengthen a particular image to differentiate itself from others but also can form partnerships with other brands for a bigger market share. Companies need to understand the role of internet in relation to the offline world.
Many believe that internet is a separate entity with its unique features that cannot compliment offline branding. Others feel that though internet has its own unique tools, still it can be used as an extension of offline branding campaigns to build brands. The Pepsi Story Consumers know that they cannot purchase a soda from the website. Since soda falls in a low involvement product category so consumers do not need to gather additional information online. Then what brings consumers to the Pepsi site? The answer is interactivity.
The site has interactive functions that encourage repeats visits and viral marketing, Pepsin's target audience includes teens and young adults. The young audience that Pepsi targets, looks for entertainment, fun and excitement. The interactive features of the Pepsi website fulfill these needs of teenybopper generation. Pepsi. Com uses interactive tactics to build their brand in the mind of the suitors. Once visitors are logged in to the Pepsi home page, they can participate in contests and promotions to win products or music or sporting-event tickets.
Visitors can also download interactive wallpapers,screwdrivers. In addition to that, visitors can play online games with others and chat with other players or members. At the same time they can send e-cards, get party recipes, read about the brand history and test themselves on trivia. Pepsi has developed a consumer oriented interactive website to build the online brand. This example conclude an important fact: that impasses which have exploited interactivity feature of the internet to the maximum possible extent have developed their brand successfully online.