An authority brand on the Internet is a brand and domain name that dominates non-paid organic and social search return listings pages for a particular subject category. Authority brands usually possess the following characteristics:
Online, authority brands have the ability to shape market discussion and harvest new customers. They enable companies to establish a strong leadership position online. They can service and represent a specific geographical region.
Once a basic "digital" infrastructure has been established, a goal of many online strategies is to have their products recognized by search and other digital technologies as the authority brand in a certain subject matter/topic category. However, building an authority brand takes time, concerted effort and digital doll$rs. Characteristics typically associated with authority brands and their creation include:
When combined with social media and the ability of social media participants to share information quickly, authority brands have infinite opportunity - and great potential for stumbling blocks. Dominating search engines using content and SEO techniques is still important, but, in the transparent world of social media – where customer commentary influences service and product adoption and purchasing decisions – authority brands have to ensure they deliver a truly valuable customer experience and encourage their customers to tell their social networks about it.
The Contractor Services category provides an example of the dominance an authority brand can have. TrustedPros , a Canada-based company, is the "authority brand" in Canada for the home contractor category. HomeAdvisor dominates the same category in the USA. Both companies amalgamate contracts and contractor listing content to gain this positioning. Home and Garden TV, due to content leadership and publishing in multiple media (unlike TrustedPros and HomeAdvisor), is also an authority brand in this category. In other words, two completely different types of services are authority brands in this category and both are driven by providing relevant content to their target audiences. Visit trustedpros.com and homeadvisor.com to view how both companies have similarly structured their Websites, navigation, SEO configurations, social and content to establish their positions. Note that the relative rank of each site is based on regions served.
Bottom Line: There's great value in having a simple digital naming strategy to represent your business, product or service and taking the time and effort to become an authority brand. Represented as an equation, the value of an authority brand in relation to making it easy to find and to remember (Value of an authority brand = VAB) can be stated as follows:
VAB = Easier for Customers = Benefits to Businesses and to Customers = Increased "Word of Mouth" = Benefits to Businesses
Joe Wozny, author of The Digital Dollar: Sustainable Strategies for Online Success, is a digital and online media thought leader, strategist, author, blogger and international presenter on strategies to improve the reach and success of Internet, social and digital media initiatives. Through Concentric, he helps leaders leverage their businesses using smart, well planned digital strategies. For more information on Joe as an author, please visit joewozny.com , and follow him on Facebook and Twitter
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This article by Joe Wozny was published in the PR News Guidebook 'Google for Communicators’ .
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