A brand is one of the most important qualities a business can have. "You're just about anybody without your identity" has been a popular slogan with marketers for longer than I care to remember and it's an adage that still rings true today.
A brand promotes an image of a company and a trademark works its way into the zeitgeist.
John Stuart, the founder of Quaker Oats, had a famous saying:
"If this business were split up, I would give you the land and bricks and mortar, and I would take the brands and trademarks, and I would fare better than you."
It is vital to protect a trademark, particularly online. This morning, I came across an example of a company who had not gone to the necessary efforts to preserve their brand integrity.
Harris Fowler, a personal injury law firm, has been outbid for their own brand term. While they are featured on the top listing for organic searches, they have been displaced by a rival firm – National Accident Helpline – in sponsored links.
As an online marketer for theEword, it is my responsibility to ensure that the client is getting the best return on their campaign. This process involves finding the right keywords, the key generics and the searches will result in the most conversions. This is the basics behind PPC marketing.
Preserving the client's online identity is an essential part of my role and it is my responsibility to ensure that online a company cannot be outbid on a term for their own brand. In a time of belt-tightening, it can be very easy to eject a low-priority PPC campaign such as a company name. However, online marketing professionals should keep in mind that other businesses may not be so restricted in their own budgets and more than happy to hijack brand term traffic.
I suppose what is most painful for Harris Fowler is that this sponsored link hijacking comes in the middle of a nationwide television campaign. The left arm always needs to know what the right arm is doing.
Combining online marketing and organic SEO
The example demonstrates why a company needs to coordinate online marketing and SEO techniques. Paid and natural SEO should give businesses the opportunity to cover both types of user.
Around 30 per cent of users click on sponsored links.
By ensuing a symbiotic relationship between SEO and marketing tactics, a campaign has the best possible chance to catch every possible user. Recently, Google has muddied the water between organic and paid results. Design changes have moved the sponsored links closer to the natural listings and consumers are becoming less picky about their choice of link.