Banners, Online Advertising, and Branding

Banner advertising can be controversial. For some time now we have been told that banners are a thing of the past. Well, fortunately there are plenty to be seen around wherever you go on the net. It would be a dull place without them.

What Are They Doing To Banners?

From time to time we have been told that traditional pictorial banners are passé, that nobody clicks on them anymore, that people regard them as money-grabbing, blatant, “advertising hype”. We’re told that by far the best banner ads are the wolves in sheep’s clothing – the banners that cunningly disguise themselves to look like a piece of text or a drop-down box, and not like a banner at all. The story is that everyone who is anyone is churning these out by the ton and making an absolute fortune from using them in their advertising.

Well – surprise – it doesn’t take too long to recognise these banners for what they are. This is not to say that they may not be very effective used in the appropriate place – but that’s not everywhere.

Recently, I read an article about the use of banners as advertising inserted within text, and the great click-through rates they generated. These were “banners” only in the sense of being gifs or jpegs. They were not pictorial in any way. They were designed to fit totally seamlessly into a page of text, with a couple of lines of text and a link on them. They were advertising that was trying not to look like advertising. With respect, calling these “banners” is simply playing games. Because they look exactly like text, they are getting the click-through rate of any piece of text in a page. Comparing their results to pictorial banners is like comparing oranges with apples.

Why Pictorial Banners Top The List

There are two factors that the anti-traditional-banner argument doesn’t take account of:

Firstly, the pictorial banner is brilliant for promoting the advertiser’s own branding. No word banner can come even close to evoking whatever ambience the advertiser desires, let alone make a unique statement about who the advertiser is. If you doubt me, take a quick look at some of the beautiful artwork created for the Casinos – ambience by the gallon. Would a two-line text ad do the job as well?

Secondly, there are people on the net, and not a few of them, who are actually looking for things – dare I say it, even looking to spend money. For these folk the right graphic may be no less than a godsend. Would a text banner catch the eye and jog the memory as well as a graphic? Would it evoke that “Oh, that’s the people I’m looking for!” response? You bet not!

Here’s another thing – does the text banner give you any concept of the quality of the business that lies behind it? Hardly!

The fact is that online advertising is really not all that different in principle from advertising in the rest of the world, as some of the truly successful Internet marketing gurus have pointed out. So it stands to reason that the same precepts of good advertising still apply. It comes down to branding – creating a presence that can be instantly recognised by the customer. When all’s said and done the first step of that process is very often visual.

Making the Most of Banners

With Internet advertising, we have in our hands the most brilliant promotion medium ever, in terms of both quantity and quality – something very special happens to images and colors when shown on the screen with the light behind them. We need to make the most of that.

For those who persist in talking derisively about “eye-candy” – let them eat dry cracker biscuits. I say they are missing a whole vast arena of appeal to the buyer via the senses. Most of us respond instantly in real life to “the look of things”. There may be some blessed mortals for whom the printed page means everything, but don’t count on them making up the bulk of the hordes you hope to have beating a path to your website.

Fortunately, as Internet technology advances, we can make the most of the visuals and, within reason, we should do just that. This is as competitive a world as the “real” one – maybe more so. The need is for very high-quality graphic and conceptual design in all areas of advertising and Internet marketing.

A business can cash in on this opportunity, primarily in its own website and emails, and secondarily on the Billboards of Cyberspace – with the quality of its banner advertising. People may not click on banners every time they see them, any more than they follow up every ad that catches their eye in a magazine or on television. But if the advertisement is visual and memorable, if it creates the right “feel”, and if the exposure is repeated and reinforced, when the time comes for them to buy, they will know exactly what and who they are looking for.

Will a two-line text ad or a drop-down box do that for you?

The Definition of Online Personal Branding and How it Can Help You

Personal Branding is the art of attracting and keeping more opportunities by actively shaping public perception. You can control the way you’re perceived by the community you serve. Oprah, Tiger, Madonna – they realized early that talent alone would not take them to the top of their fields. So they created and promoted unique Personal Brands. And now, you can too.

Personal Branding Works for Businesses, Professionals and Entrepreneurs Alike

You don’t have to be a celebrity to reap the rewards of Personal Branding. Whether you are a professional ready to catapult to the next level in your career or an entrepreneur embarking on your first business venture, we will work together to bring your goals into focus. We’ll begin by analyzing your unique strengths and differentiation, your competitive landscape and your target audience. Then we will develop a game plan to reach your objectives.

The Key to Personal Branding Success:

Define Yourself Instead of Letting Others Define You

You can shape your clients’ perception of you simply by defining your strengths, values, goals and personality and presenting yourself in a compelling, persuasive manner. Express yourself and what you stand for to everyone you meet – clients, colleagues, friends, neighbors, and strangers. Do this constantly and consistently, and you will create an effective – and lucrative – Personal Brand.

The Eight Laws of Personal Branding

1. The Law of Specialization: A great Personal Brand must be precise, concentrated on a single core strength, talent or achievement. You can specialize in one of many ways: ability, behavior, lifestyle, mission, product, profession or service.

2. The Law of Leadership: Endowing a Online Personal Brand with authority and credibility demands that the source be perceived as a leader by the people in his/her domain or sphere of influence. Leadership stems from excellence, position or recognition.

3. The Law of Personality: A great Personal Brand must be built on a foundation of the source’s true personality, flaws and all. It is a law that removes some of the pressure laid on by the Law of Leadership: you’ve got to be good, but you don’t have to be perfect.

4. The Law of Distinctiveness: An effective Personal Brand needs to be expressed in a way that is different from the competition. Many marketers construct middle-of-the-road brands so as not to offend anyone. This is a route to failure because their brands will remain anonymous among the multitudes.

5. The Law of Visibility: To be successful, a Personal Brand must be seen over and over again, until it imprints itself on the consciousness of its domain or sphere of influence. Visibility creates the presumption of quality. People assume because they see a person all the time, he/she must be superior to others offering the same product or service.

6. The Law of Unity: The private person behind a Personal Brand must adhere to the moral and behavioral code set down by that brand. Private conduct must mirror the public brand.

7. The Law of Persistence: Any Personal Brand takes time to grow, and while you can accelerate the process, you can’t replace it with advertising or public relations. Stick with your Personal Brand, without changing it; be unwavering and be patient.

The Law of Goodwill: A Personal Brand will produce better results and endure longer if the person behind it is perceived in a positive way. He/she must be associated with a value or idea that is recognized universally as positive and worthwhile.

Top 4 Online Branding Tips – Be An Authority In Your Niche

With so many websites and people online, you really need to stand out when you have an online business. Having a brand for your website or company will definitely set you apart from all the faceless marketers online. Today, I want to share with you my top four branding tips, so that you can be seen as an authority online.

Branding Tip #1

If your comfortable with this, use your name as your brand. For example use JoeBloggs.com or LTD. People online will quickly identify with you on a personal level, seeing you as much more of an authority over a business called “make money fast” for example.

Personal branding is very effective and will be very beneficial to your online presence. All the big, successful companies online use a name of some form for their brand. I personally think that using your own name for an online business is a great idea, just look at Tony Robbins or Frank Kern.

Branding Tip #2

Have a personal slogan for your company and stand out as an individual. This is a great way to brand yourself. Something catchy and memorable is definitely a good start. For example Nike’s slogan is “just do it”. This company has used a very effective slogan and people can familiarise themselves with it.

Making people feel comfortable with your brand is a must, your slogan(if done correctly) can certainly achieve this. Keeping your slogan simple will help people remember it more.

Branding Tip #3

Think about the colours that you are going to use for you company brand. For example the red and yellow colour of McDonald’s stands out really well and people know these colours.

Use two or three colours in your logo design, don’t overwhelm it with lots of colours because it will affect the overall image. You need to make a good first impression and keep your visitor engaged.

Branding Tip #4

Show people who you are. What do I mean by this? Well, have a real picture on your company website and also show yourself on video. For example you could be an internet marketing coach, have a mixture of video training and PDF tutorials.

A lot of people online are skeptical and cautious. However, if you can show them a friendly face on video they will become a lot more relaxed and interact with you more. Being a real person online is definitely a good way to gain a lot of trust and make people feel more comfortable spending their money on your services.