Brands Need to Change the Way They See the Web
If you look at the history of the web, you’ll know it was originally intended as an easy way for anyone to access and publish information (even though that information was mostly being published from people’s basements).
Most web experiences were about bulletin boards, chatting, and a few websites. It was mostly text, it was confusing, and it was pretty ugly.
Brands started to catch on to the web, and they worked to recreate their printed marketing materials on their websites. The “corporate marketing brochure website” was born!
To this day, the majority of corporate marketing websites are static, one-sided communications. Most companies don’t manage their websites themselves. And usually, the only way for customers to communicate with the organization is through a page called “contact”.
While the web has changed over the years, the approach that brands take with their websites hasn’t. This has gone on for almost two decades. And it has made the web one-sided.
With the rise of social media and blogging, the web has shifted back toward publishing. Today, anyone can quickly and easily publish and share information without the barrier of code, from their basement or anywhere they like.
Social media represents a shift for brands, because it’s not as one-sided as the websites of the past. For brands to stay ahead of their customers, they need to have a voice, and they need to be heard on a regular basis. It’s challenging for the majority of brands because it forces them to expose their thinking.
The content a brand produces is the articulation of that thinking. Effective brands are creating useful, entertaining content for their audiences and using the web to share it. Marketers are no longer hoping that someone merely visits their website; they are actively creating reasons to come back again and again.
It’s exciting to me, because it’s sort of a course correction for the web. Static websites are no longer case studies for successful brands. Smart brands are using the web as a publishing and communication tool and thinking about new ways to stay in front of customers.
Most brands experience a culture shift when they change the way they see the web, but that shift opens the door to far greater future potential. The challenge now is if brands can change fast enough to align with how customers are using it.