Virtual Brand Perception: The Need For Strong Shapes

Lianne van den BergWeitzel
and
Gaston van de Laar
Claessens Product Consultants

Leaving aside any discussion about the extent to which people will use the internet, it is a fact that the possibilities are expanding. One secondary development is the increasing use of the net as a shopping medium. This varies from the purchase of holidays and computers to more simple things, such as groceries. Given this, it is important to realise that brand communication is quite different in the virtual supermarket, and that the situation is complicated by the internet's global nature.

KEYBOARD DOMINANCE

Much has been said about computer ignorance as a barrier to using the internet, but illiteracy is also a barrier. After all, the internet relies heavily on keyboard control. Finding the right shop or a specific brand, independent of the help that search engines or other environments provide, depends a great deal on the correct letter combination input from the keyboard. This also shows the limitations of developing brand names or new sub-brands. Too complex a name or too difficult a spelling gives problems in finding such brands. Uniformity and power of discernment are still important preconditions for brands. Take, for example, Spa and San Pellegrino - both important sparkling mineral water brands, both brand-specific names; but very different in accessibility and complexity.

SEARCH AND FIND