As you look at the screen capture of the top of my browser window above, you see a variety of favicons representing brands. Some of these are iconic brands that are registered Trademarks, or Service Marks. Others simply represent the brand in a way that the visitor can instantly recognize once familiar with it.
This association actually allows people to recognize where they have to go without reading an entire tab. Good thing too, because I have so many websites loaded up that there is absolutely nothing to read there.
Within all those favicons are a few that are absolutely indistinguishable. Two of them don't even have icons, a third is a blank white space and the last is actually not showing because it is the active tab.
Now certainly, we would see that there was a favicon if we switched to another tab from the open tab, but as it is open and the window showing, the website now has to do the work of repesenting the brand (if you are curious, it was Bing).
The entire goal here, is to compete for the eyes of the viewer. We humans are busy-bodies, after all. The one lone white square actually has an upper hand on the two tabs that lack an icon. Even though it's indistinguishable and has absolutely no branding information there what-so-ever, I know which site that stupid white square belongs to. Still, that is a pretty stupid representation of a brand or website, don't you agree?
You are probably all well familiar with a few of the favicons, already. There is Gmail, Google+, the Laughing Squid, and Twitter. Most all of the rest are my own websites, as I had checked them for necessary updates and then decided to star their favicons in this little write-up.
And even though the two websites that are void of any discernable favicon representation are my own, even though I placed them in an alphabetical order, I don't have any idea what those two websites are, until I look.
OK, I looked and one is a site I just designed on my Android and got it uploaded and online just a week or two ago. To my surprise, it was out of order, too. The other is this website, which I am updating now and the brand will be represented by a tiny icon upon save and upload.
But the whole point is that if I was looking for any of those sites, I wouldn't've found them. And the big white square tends to make me, the designer/owner of the website look stupid without at least attempting something. We have to look to gain every advantage for our brands.
Unfortunately, I don't have as much control over that domain when it's on that network host. But I am going to see if I can get that recified, as well. A white square is not indicative of the dating site that is there, at all.
Favicons often go unoticed, but that is a good thing, as long as there is enough of an indicater there tying you to the brand. Once the website is open, then the marketing message should take center stage. That is not always the case, as in the example given of the two missing favicons. Out of site becomes out of mind. Not every domain, not every website, will acheive the goal required. I'm here to valuate how well a job that brand is doing penetrating the market, and in other cases such as a full website or online company, being available and supportive to its customers/clients.
A brand is not simply an icon, a graphic a logo or a name, though. The above scenario was merely an illustration of how a small thing such as a favicon can make a difference. Some of the icons were not logos at all, merely a representation of something that corresponds to the website. On that note though, it is in scale the effect of a logo for a brand. Logos are instant recognition of a business service or product.
Still, these are merely graphic representations and they have no real effect on a community's actual perception of a company. Although I design logos and create marketing messages complete with a call to action, but if a business is not perceived in good stead, the message will likely fall silent, the call to action wind-up failing.
The reason is that the brand is not owned by the company, it is the community's perception of the brand, that effects the community's decision. In fact, no matter how perfect a logo we brand ourselves, the community we serve actually decides how we are received. So, although we brand our businesses in such a way so that we are recognizable, it is the favor of our marketing audience that decides the fate of our brand. In fact, we are branded by our market's perception of us.
It is for that very reason we need to educate our employees on how to interact with our customers, as responsible and accountable in our regard and care of them as well as their regard and care of our customers and clientel. Therefore, we should not let our empoyees down in regard to pay, benefits, or as our neighbors, and not treat them simply as cogs within the machine which can easily be replaced.
The education and training of an employee over the course of time is an expensive investment that will benefit that employee whether he/she stays or leaves the company. It is obvious that a running a business with a revolving door in the employment department is self-defeatist when it comes to protecting the brand, because the brand is not our logo, name or domain, it belongs to our community which we service and is branded by its perception.
Make no mistake that if you sell products, you do provide a service. And how the service interacts with the community is crucial to a brand. This is the reason discount and department stores such as JC Penny, K-mart, Kohls and Best Buy have to spend extra investing in the training of new talent constantly, and extra on postive marketing, because they don't allow for the individual employee to excel, since employees are already thought of as moving on before even hired.
Retailers are numb when it comes to being responsible and accountable to its own employees and the result is that no one thinks much of these brands not simply because of their experience and how that are treated when shopping, but also because of how they were treated when they worked there, and mininum wage part-time without any benefits leaves a great deal of resentment behind. Instead everyone competes on the lowest possible price, yet my wife refuses to shop at Walmart because of how she is treated there, not just by Walmart employees, but Walmart customers. And when the customers of a brand bring a reputation of adversity and ill-will to an enterprise, they become as much a part of it as the employees.
Yet, it is through a lack of employee education and not playing into the cheapest crap available draw that has fell the perception and growth of Walmart. Catering to the bottom line is a marketing advantage to the masses, but is also an incredible disadvantage because everyone understands that the products that Walmart carries are of poorer quality.
Tires sold at Walmart are cheaper, and made cheaper. Fram Filters has lowered the quality of its filters sold in Walmart, and this is not a product that you want to skimp on, as it takes care of your entire engine and protects it from quick wear.
Toro was asked to sell lawn mowers in the store, but after a year Walmart demanded cheaper versions to sell and undercut everyone else on the price of Toro mowers. Toro did the right thing and refused to skimp on quality.
Where the focus should be is in retaining and developing employee talent in a responsible and accountable way that will bring their community honor in the puruit to provide quality on every level.
To become responsible and accountable companies, our leaders within our business have to step-up and lead by example, being as responsible and accountable as they expect their employees, which requires that they treat all others with brotherhood, care and interest. That is the hardest part of management to swallow, that they should be shining examples of responsibility and accountabilty, which is their own undoing. Because without that thoughtful of treating each human being as a neighbor, and not simply a marketing target, they treat them insincerely, as a mark (a fool).
Even great visionairys such as Steve Jobs needed a buffer around them to prevent them from alienating everyone around them. It's a miracle that Apple survived his abuse of Steve Wozniak and others, but they were also well aware and appreciative of Job's vision, and extremely thick-skinned (perhaps too thick because his attitude is still an obstacle in the company after hios death).
Anyway, those are simply quick examples, as I speak freely and openly. Suffice it to say, there is a lot going on in a brand. There's a lot to resolve and a lot to measure. Luckily, the internet also acts as a sounding board and, along with other tools, I use it to evaluate business brands, gauge website effectiveness and the potential of domain names.
I am experienced as a logo designer, website designer, marketer and researcher. I am a domain registrar (Domain Hostmaster & Domainance), offer reselling through (W3DN, Domainants & Supreme) a hostmaster (those registrars mentioned plus HD Web Hosting, S Web Host, Site Domains, Site Host Pros and Apache Website Hosting). I am an experienced website optimizer, as well. And I am a self-described domainer, one who researches, speculates, invests in, and develops domain names into premium online properties and brands.
If you would allow me to valuate your intellectual property, I would be honored. Simply contact me and I will respond with more information and a questionare, so that we can get started. I can evaluate your brand, and offer direction, as well. Generally, I valuate intellectual properties for value, such as business brands, name and domain potential, and marks (Trademarks, Service Marks, logos and badges).
It's always good to know your worth, but also your value to the community you serve.
Contact me. Leave some background info with your contact details. I will get back to you and we will get the valuation process started for your business, website, mark, brand or domain.