I have started reading a book by Sam Walker, that goes into the greatest sporting teams ever. So far it has been a great read, but the most intriguing thing I have found is not the sports teams he has selected, but how he went about selecting these teams. The criteria Walker developed for ranking great teams, across the many popular sports that span the globe has clearly enamoured a great deal of thought and consideration and takes many different factors into consideration. The one thing that comes across in his criteria is that there isn’t one factor that determines the team’s greatness, it is a multitude of elements that are needed to make something great.
Now, Matter Solutions is a Search Marketing Agency, so what I would like to do, is develop a criterion that is modern and digitally focused, to determine the value of the different digital elements that brands are dealing with. I will give a weighted Digital Value Score (DVS) to the different areas of digital, all amounting to a perfect score of 50, to see what elements of digital are the most important for brands.
Social media is an interesting topic that is either overrated or underrated depending on who you ask. However what is uncontestable is that a strong social presence is a necessity in today’s world, as more and more people shift onto social platforms, the need for having a company Facebook or Instagram is a bare minimum. It is believed that the amount of social media users will reach 2.95 billion by 2020, which will be a third of the Earth’s population.
Even companies that are in the world of Business to Business (B2B) need social media because it is a platform that you can control. The days of reacting to good and bad press through news outlets are over. Social media is also a phenomenal way of not only interacting with consumers, but gaining consumer insights that are priceless. Overall, global brands need to have social media that is high in following, be uploading regularly, engaging with its following and a mostly, utilising the platform they have to further their business.
Digital Value Score: 13
If you were to ask an online personal trainer what the SEO for their website is like, or what Google Ads campaigns they are running they would likely respond with “I don’t even have a website and what’s an AdWord?”. What I’m saying it that for online personalities, SEO and Adwords have little stead in their business, as they can get everything they need from social media. For enormous global brands Louis Vuitton or Ferrari, SEO is important but not difficult because of their renown. For businesses in competitive industries and E-commerce businesses, however, SEO and Google Ads are vital.
For many businesses such as insurance companies or online clothing stores, SEO and Google Ads are 90% of the reason they can put food on the table each night because it is the primary or only avenue for these companies to receive any revenue for their products and services. SEO and Adwords drive traffic to their websites, which translates to sales. Online sales are also anticipated to rise dramatically in 2018, by 17%. Overall for many, but truthfully not all businesses, the whole process of SEO and Google Ads is hard, competitive, and vital.
Digital Value Score: 12
Brand image is a very interesting topic. All companies want to believe that they are portraying a brand image that is reflective of what they want it to be, but is it? We have seen the tables turn in online presence and the beneficial and detrimental effects it can have on brands. For example, a company like Buzzfeed has all the makings of being a modern source of news that is liked by many, especially those that are younger. However, Buzzfeed has developed a brand image that is more polarising with consumers than is probably expected.
On the flip side, we can see the NSW Police Facebook page developing a near legendary status with an excellent social media presence. Police forces anywhere in the globe aren’t loved and often loathed, but the social media manager of the NSW police Facebook page has managed to better connect with the public and increase the level of likeness, online at least, for the NSW police. What this says is that your online brand image is certainly important, but might be a different story in reality.
Digital Value Score: 7
We’ve seen instances of even the largest companies garnering huge amounts of public outcry and displeasure online. Whilst it is almost impossible to stop negative press from occurring to global brands, clever and professional handling of issues over social media can really reduce the damage caused. The quintessential example of a PR disaster online was Southwest Airlines, who after having technical issues with their website, initially handled the situation well by responding to comments on social media and posting updates. Whilst they didn’t keep up the responsiveness to their customers, their initial action on social media was well received by angry customers.
Responding to PR issues online does have its downside, in the fact that customers can respond to posts and publicly refute any apology or statement by a brand. The importance of brands maintaining professionalism online is underrated and will become a more prominent part of the PR space with the global shift to digital. By using an online platform instead of the traditional press release used by so many companies, brands have the ability to personally respond to comments left on a company statement and portray an image that is personal and transparent.
Digital Value Score: 7
The digital space is just plain competitive and is the land of copycats and blatant rip-offs by means to gain an inch on a competitor. Brands that can create digital content and innovative software, however, can stay ahead of the competition. For many businesses, their online presence is pushed to the back of the priority list, as they focus on the general running of a company, but it should be at the forefront of their minds always. For 99% of businesses, innovating and adapting their online presence is what puts bread on the table each night, whether you are a plumber from Brisbane or a New York plastic surgeon, your online presence is what consumers see when they look at your company. So adapting and innovating is the only way to stay ahead of the competition.
Digital Value Score: 11