Report: Online Branding Really Works

More than a third (36%) of Internet users say that their opinions of one or more product brands has changed as a result of using the Internet, according to a new report on branding.

The report, entitled “Online Branding–The Internet’s Impact on Branding,” was recently released by market research firm Cyber Dialogue. It also found that “brand impressionable” users are more likely to shop both online and offline as a result of using the Internet.

“We found that the Internet is color, gender, and age blind, helping to neutralize obstacles some shoppers experience in the conventional marketplace,” said Thomas E. Miller, Cyber Dialogue vice president and author of the report. “For example, women and ethnic minorities, while still under- represented online, are among those most likely to say the Internet helps them form brand opinions because they can get unbiased answers to their product questions.”

The Internet can also influence store traffic, direct mail purchases, and even TV shopping, as well as drive online sales, according to Miller.

“Brand managers must keep in mind that branding on the Internet is about much more than just capturing eyeballs,” he said.

The online branding report recommends that brand managers use mass media to create general brand impressions and drive motivated prospects to their Web sites, where the brand can foster deeper customer relationships.

The report shows that most online shoppers are destination shoppers who go directly to Web sites that interest them. Still, portals such as search engines and active Web sites in certain product categories like cars, airlines and financial services are clearly emerging as important hubs. The report makes specific marketing recommendations for the following industries: autos, airlines, household products, investment services, banking, insurance, and health/medicine.

The report uses data from the American Internet User Survey, a large telephone survey of Internet users and non-users. Fielded twice a year, the survey is co-branded with Find/SVP. Pricing for copies of the report was not disclosed.

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