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After 25 years, Microsoft have had a bit of a makeover, ditching the leg warmers and ‘Choose Life’ t-shirts of yesteryear and opted for a sleek and shiny new overhaul. (Okay, so it wasn’t that much of a change…but we all like to build up a bit of drama now and then….!)

But there is more to any brand than just a logo, and in an ever changing digital environment, here are the top 5 ways to ensure that your company stays current and cool:

#1 Ban ‘Flash’.

Put simply, using Flash on your site is the web equivalent of travelling around by horse and cart, parading your steed like you’re at the height of technology and innovation.

Flash can not be used on any mobile device or tablet, deemed your website completely useless when it comes to users viewing it on such devices. Which, lets face it – rules out pretty much everyone.

Ensure that your website either has a mobile compatible version, or can be viewed clearly otherwise. The easiest way to test is to round up a few friends with different mobiles, and see how it all checks out first hand. Which leads us to….

#2 Ensure Usability.

As a follow on from the above, your website must be user-friendly, no matter what medium you use to view it in. Its a jungle out there and highly competitive, if you can’t provide a fast loading website with the information needed, someone else will – and your potential customer will be gone in a…. well, flash. It sounds harsh, but if your website is not up to scratch, people will leave in an instant and look elsewhere for the answers they need.

Have a website healthcheck, and see what is working and where it is letting you down. Here at Codastar we use ‘heat map’ technology amongst other things, to show you exactly how users are viewing and interacting with your website.

#3 Share a Smile.

Gone are the days of stuffy ties and addressing your Director’s as “Sir”. Chances are you are probably following your Senior Management on Twitter and are friends with your customers on Facebook.

Modern Business is all about personality, and whether its on or offline, the way to ‘most everyone’s hearts will always be a smile. Have an edge, a gimmick, a personable feel. People will always buy from people, and the easiest way to show you are exactly that, is to include a bit of ‘nice’ to proceedings. A congratulatory tweet, a supportive status,  an impulsive image you captured on the way to the office.

If you find humour in something and get that ‘I just have to share this’ vibe, chances are, your followers will do exactly the same.

#4 Join the Conversation.

Your brand is already out there, everywhere. With existing customers, potential customers, even your employees. The difference nowadays is, that it is no longer built up on what you tell people about it. Your brand is built on what everyone else is saying.

The conversation is always happening in social media -now is your time to become part of it and start listening – and most importantly, interacting.

Use notifications and keyword tools on your social media management platforms for any mentions of your brand or business, interact with those that ask questions, and use your mediums to continue and contribute to the conversation at hand.

 #5 Know Your Target Audience and Add Value.

Not so long ago, consumers were largely defined as very set ‘groups’. There were those that wore Nike, and those that swore allegiance to Adidas. There were those of us that bought into ‘Betamax’ and the others that veered over to VHS.

Now, the lines have blurred, and we no longer buy into a product because ‘we just do’. We live in a world of grey, no longer with such black and white ‘groups’ of consumers. We love everything…as long as it adds value.

The most effective way of adding value, is knowing who it is you’re trying to add value for. Understanding your target audience is the first and most crucial step in modernising your brand.

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