Business-related internet has been around for over a while with different literature on marketing activities of firms has being long overdue. The high cost faced by every organisation in other to remain competitive in the market as a major concern to any forward looking organisation. As a result every organisation that is forward thinking device a means of establishing long term relationship with its customers. As Morgan and Hunt, (1994),Andersen, (2005) et al as cited in Casalo, Flavian and Guinaliu(2008) we are in a new era where relationship marketing has been suggested to be the foremost marketing strategy for the future .
(Promoting consumer participation). They argued effective interactions with the customer are the most important thing in relationship marketing. In this era the internet is a place where constant interactions take place within the customer and organisations (Pita and Flower, et al 2005). Thus, more and more organisation uses different online kit, such as chat, forum, email and intranet to communicate with their customer and establish a relationship. This online association has helped in the creation of communal groups that is known as Virtual brand communities.
Hence it can be argued the communal group is a useful device to help customer to participate promotion discussion which is an important factor in achieving brand participation and allegiance. (Promoting consumer participation, Journal of Marketing communications, Vol 14, No 1, 19-36 Feb 2008) There have been different definitions about essential community in literature, but it has been looked into as a social point of vision (Li, 2004). However this idea was first suggested by Rheingold (1993) who argued that communal faction originated from the internet when people discuss about contact.
Also Ridings et al (2002) argued that an essential community are people with common interest that network frequently about the internet. Consequently one of the most important things about the essential community is that people meet undermining the distance, space and time barriers unlike the traditional way of shopping. (Anderson, 2005) (Journal of Marketing communications, Vol 14, No 1, 19-36 Feb 2008) Without a doubt the internet make available the communications for social interaction and invariably the development of the essential group are fostered.
Hagel and Armstrong (1997) suggested the group community helped in satisfying four types of customer wants; sharing resources, establishing relationship, trading and living fantasies. As Jansen, Zhang and Schultz (2009) suggested branding is the elusive amount of organisation qualities which can reflect the name of an organisation, its history, character and mercantile. A good brand can be identified with its logo, name or mark that differentiates it from its competitors. As a result good branding result in customer loyalty and positivity of firms’ product and services.
As an example Robinson, Borzekowski, Matheson and Kraemer (2007) studied the influence of branding on food products. The emphasis was on children view about MacDonald’s food and identical food that was given to them. They concluded that MacDonald’s food tasted better than the identical food. Organisation with strong brand character usually has the financial capability to drive away competitors and newly competitors find it difficult to enter a new market especially when the customers are satisfied by the brand.
Example of such brands is Nike, Coca-cola. As a result brands enable an organisation to establish distinctive characteristics and increase the prospect of attracting a large amount of old customers. Nevertheless, not much empirical work has been written on branding strategies of internet organisation. Worldwide electronic branding activities have received less research attention. Customarily branding is about creating value with the prerequisite of a convincing offer and the customer return to the same brand if they are satisfied with the product.
With this we can describe the domination of some organisation with their benefits, competiveness, different products, services offered and better customer loyalty. Organisation that performs highly by creating a favourable environment with their customer as a result of efficient branding normally acquires strong market share and a competitive advantage. A brand is the intangible sum of organisation’s attributes which can reflect and organisation name, history, reputation, and advertisement.
It can be documented as identifiable symbol, sign, name or mark that distinguishes an organisation or a product from competitors. The beginning of internet technology and the demand for better efficiency, enhanced competition, lower barriers to entry, improved customer influence has raised new ideas about branding which will help building an effective and communication strategies in the online environment. However, there has been not much studies about branding but its role to business performance is still contentious and also how branding motivates online shoppers.
Even though a lot of money is being invested in advertising and the construction of E-brand some internet organisation still spends more than their annual sales revenue to maintain a leading role in the crowded internet market. There have been different views among researches and practitioners in regard to the value of E-branding. Many studies have forecast the end of E-branding other researchers argued that the success on internet depends only on branding.
Those researchers who argued the end of branding suggested that brands have not much to contribute to the internet marketplace, especially when the price of goods on the internet is open, the opportunity of checking and comparing products online (E-branding strategies of the internet). Those who argued the relevance of E-branding believed that by making known the image of an organisation by its brand is very important especially during this competitive period on the internet.
As Berry, suggested (2000) organisation with well-built e-brands raise customer belief of physically invisible products or services, while at the same time is helping the customer to understand the products better and what they are buying. Dayal et (2001) view is in line with Berry suggestion that for organisation to be successful on line they would need to create a digital brand to make them unique and familiar to their customer. This is very important with the customer as this might help them not to change to imitated goods and other inconsistent marketing messages.
In recent studies by Cheskin Research group they suggested that branding tops the list of market fundamentals which is meant for building and maintaining trust on the internet. The others are navigability, fulfilment, presentation, technology and seals of approval. It is obvious that the internet has obviously impacted on businesses from the traditional companies to the new modern online shopping. New ideas on how to compete effectively has emerged as a result the barrier to entry is high. Organisations are now re-defining their strategies as a result of marketing and branding because of the distinctive trait of the internet.
Normally brand induces the customer mind to a product or service rendered by an organisation. It adds value, simplify the time the consumers use for search and comparisons of product before the goods is purchased. The introduction of the internet technology especially is capability that allows different types of customers to interact and seek for information has made the marketplace overcrowded, this has made branding difficult and vibrant. This has paved the way for most online organisation to look for new e-brand strategies that would help in creating uniqueness and be able to engage their customers.