When the world was introduced to the World Wide Web, the personal computer was the only means to enter into the plethora of information that the Internet offered. If we wanted to enter into the so-called global village, it was only through the personal computer that we would able to interact with people from all over the world or access just about all kinds of information available.
However, technology is an ever-moving phenomenon. Internet savvy individuals have seen how the virtual world has become more accessible. Gone are the days that we have to sit in front of the computer for hours to get to our favourite websites. These days, we’ve have become more mobile and our expectations from websites we visit are slowly changing. As people and businesses continue to adopt a more mobile lifestyle, it would be safe to say that the next best thing to having a personal computer is having a mobile phone, a smartphone, at that; not to mention a tablet.
This growing trend in gadgets has signalled a challenge among business owners that largely rely on their company website to strengthen their brand and solidify their online presence. As their target markets move closer into a lifestyle that is quite dependent on their mobile phones or tablets, companies have felt the need keep up with their clients. In response to this demand, small and large companies have begun offering mobile versions of their websites. At face value, this seems to be a good direction to go, the rationale behind responsive web design believes otherwise.
Responsive Web Design creator, Ethan Marcotte, believes companies can have one website for every screen; that is, it responds to the environment it is being accessed from, whether through a personal computer, a tablet, or a mobile phone. As such, this is not only a trend but a fundamental shift that companies need to acknowledge.
Responsive web design is not just a one-time strategy that businesses and their web designers are to adopt. It is a series of ideas and techniques that aim to keep up with the new devices that are introduced day by day. Companies which keep this in mind at the onset of putting together their website stand to potentially keep the clients they already have, win the ones they lost, and gain new ones along the way.
Since the introduction of social media, information sharing has been revolutionised as news, photos, and videos can be given from one person to another just by going online. Initially, individuals have benefited from this technological breakthrough; but these days, big and small brands have realised how they can boost their sales and online presence by creating their own brand profiles.
While Facebook and Twitter continue to dominate the virtual world with the number of users and visits they get, Google has also introduced a more sophisticated way of interacting and engaging contacts with the potential to translate this into sales, which is ultimately the goal of every brand, aside from brand recall, of course. Google+, as many of its users know, offer more than just posting status contents. It gives the brand a place where they can give their audience an experience of being actually a part of their company. With features like Circles and Hangouts, brands are able to manage their content by making it, not only interesting, but also meaningful to their target audience. Among the many users of Google+, there are 10 brands which have mastered and maximized their use of Google+.
- BBC NEWS – Armed with breaking news and viral stories that are potentially newsworthy, BBC News becomes an effective source of the latest news around the world. With photos and videos that go with every news item, the network’s audience members are led from the brand page to the actual website of the news network, which contributes to the online success of BBC News.
- ESPN – The leading sports channel continues to satisfy its audience with interesting news, as well as updates on their favourite teams and athletes. Hangouts are a good way for everyone, from players, fans, to journalists to interact. The sports channel has never failed to highlight best moments in sports through Google+.
- PLAYSTATION – This well-followed brand page continues to jeep their audience members engaged by giving them latest news, promotional videos, and teasers of up and coming products from the brand.
- WILLIAMS-SONOMA – This high-end home and kitchen retail store does more than just selling. While its items are sellable as they are, Williams-Sonoma goes an extra mile for its target customers. Instead of giving them an in-your-face call to action message on their content, the brand gives their followers recipes, for example, which they can do with their Williams-Sonoma product. While subtle, it is an effective marketing strategy.
- ZAGAT – Hotel and restaurant enthusiasts are sure to benefit from Zagat’s brand page. Known for giving its followers in-depth reviews on different establishments, Zagat’s Google+ page provides behind-the-scenes look of every hotel or restaurant being featured. Hangouts are reserved for chefs and foodies to interact and for events happening around the area.
- CADBURY UK – It was during the London Olympics 2012 when Cadbury UK made use of Google+ to its fullest. Who wouldn’t rush to the next candy store and purchase a bar of Cadbury after seeing their mouth-watering capture of their famous chocolates? Their page is truly an eye-candy, figuratively and literally.
- GLAMOUR – An authority in the celebrity industry, Glamour provides the latest news on just about any celebrity and trends. Those who keep track of celebrity gossip and fashion trends continue to get their fix from the brand page.
- H&M – Hailed once as the most followed page on Google+, H&M continues to keep their followers engaged by providing them with the latest styles and inspiration, which they can readily purchase from their stores. Followers are also kept interested with promotional videos, which show a sneak peak of the latest collection from the brand.
- MACY’S – This brand has one of the best user engagement strategies using Google+. Not only do they keep their target market updated with the latest store news, Macy’s are able to make their audience get on their feet and head to the nearest Macy’s store. With their coupons and special offers posted on their brand page, consumers do not only follow, but also watch out for what Macy’s will come out with next.
- BURBERRY – The British clothing brand, while it is not necessarily new in the industry, has made use of Google+ to its fullest. Posting the best photos and videos of their collection, Burberry has made its way into the households of its target market by maintaining its Google+ page. While not all of its loyal customers are able to attend their fashion shows, Google+ becomes their ticket to getting a peak of the action on the show.
By maximizing the features of Google+, companies are able to tailor-fit their content that will guarantee a wider reach and potentially will cause their followers to act on what they have read; whether to buy their products or avail of their services. Since Google+, many brands and companies have explored how this new way communicating to their audience will contribute to their company’s success and online visibility.