The why, the what and the why not of having a www for your brand: A look at the websites of the top 10 Brands in South Africa

The why, the what and the why not of having a www for your brand: A look at the websites of the top 10 Brands in South Africa

What defines a brand? What sets certain brands apart from others? It's no secret that one of the most common things people say is, “Let’s check out their website” when one is looking for a new company’s services to consider. The importance of a professional website for your brand can never be overemphasised. To bring your brand to its peak a comprehensive brand identity is required, of which a professional website plays a pivotal role. 

While having a professional website just makes your brand seem all the more professional, the benefits of it does not stop there. In the age of a digital revolution, staying ahead of the times seems to pose more of a challenge every day. Having a professional website assists with setting you apart from your competitors, simply because you are able to showcase your unique offerings, your comprehensive services or goods and exactly what it is that makes you stand out. A website can be thought of as a digital pamphlet or brochure, a mini-guide to the potential customer to see what you’re all about and why they should choose you. With how busy and fast-paced the world we live in today has become, being online has become the best way to market yourself. More and more brands have moved away from traditional means of advertising as it become more costly than using digital innovative marketing methods. That does not mean it does not perform well in certain markets but in this age of technology, the majority of customers prefer shopping in a digital space. 

So we know the importance of a professional website and how it plays into your brand identity on a whole, but what really makes a website professional? As much as everyone knows the adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”, ironically, human nature does just that! It takes a person about 50 milliseconds to judge a website and decide if they would like to continue on it or leave. As important as visuals are for your graphic, the way content is structured and the overall functionality or user-friendliness of the website plays an equally pertinent role. One needs to remember that within markets there is a range of diverse customers, some who may be very tech-savvy and some who are new to the digital world. Further, just like a store has salespeople who can assist if customers come in to purchase products or get information on a service, websites need to give that extra touch of information and guidance that a customer might seek before making a decision on what they would like to purchase. 57% of internet users say that they are less likely to recommend a business with a poorly designed website, while 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout and content aren’t attractive enough to be engaging. 

But let’s take it a step further from the stats and the facts. Let’s make this personal. Think about yourself as a user of technology, as a consumer and as an active participant in the market. It’s easy to speak on and on about why a website needs to look professional, and why a website is needed at all. But let’s bring it to the level of the consumer. Think back to two years ago, when it felt as though the world may end and doomsday approached. The Covid-19 pandemic forced majority of the world in all sectors and industries to move to a digital space whether they liked it, were ready for it, wanted it or not. Being forced to stop all physical human interaction and move toward a virtual space for everything taught us many lessons. Inevitably change is bound to occur. One needs to embrace it and move along with the times if one is to stay ahead in a competitive market. Now think back to how we were forced to shop for daily things. Everyone was afraid to go out, even though grocery stores and supermarkets were still operating, many opted for ordering groceries online with innovative websites and apps like Checkers 60 sixty or Woolworths online. Assuming these brands did not already have things like their website in full working order, they would never have been able to manage the influx of orders that came with the pandemic and lockdown. And you, as the consumer, were forced to adapt and use technology for something as basic as buying a loaf of bread. The world is advancing, it is changing and with it comes the need for brands to adapt relatively. 

Brands like Adidas, Apple and Ford are said to have a few of the best websites in terms of both graphic layout and functionality. All these websites fit the brand identity that they wish to convey— from the overall professionalism of the website to social media advertising— a consistent brand identity is displayed that fits with the image the company wishes to associate with their product and that makes consumers want to choose their product over any other. Websites along with other digital campaigns add value to the brand on a whole, not just to generate sales and revenue but also to add to the value of the brand as a holistic item, which includes things like brand awareness, identity and brand value. 

According to the 2021 Kantar BrandZ most valuable South African Brands ranking, FNB ranks first, especially because of the strong investments in their digital innovation. Their innovation in the online banking sphere has made a vast difference in how easy it is for consumers to transact, especially since they are leaders in innovative digital techniques such as being the first to launch an FNB WebStore which will provide businesses with a fully functional eCommerce website. 

Here are the top 10 SA Brands 2021:

  1. FNB
  2. Vodacom
  3. Castle
  4. Standard Bank
  5. MTN
  6. Nando’s
  7. Discovery
  8. DSTV
  9. ABSA
  10. Woolworths

So what’s the takeaway from all of this? It is simply to get a professional website up and running? The answer is simple - YES! You should already be searching for a website development agency to create your website and bring your brand to new levels. That does not mean that if you already have an existing website, it should not be something that you relook at, constantly maintain, change up and keep exciting. A complete change of your website every month is definitely not recommended, but there is no harm in keeping it exciting, trendy and relevant. Things like promo items or blogs of recent projects are always great ideas for fresh content. Remember to keep your website sleek, elegant and functional always! And at the end of it all, make sure you know that just like you would always say “let's check out their website first”, your potential customers are saying exactly that about you, so make sure your website leaves a long-lasting impression of professionalism and a comprehensive, trustworthy brand identity.