It’s a common misperception that a logo or an identity is a brand. A logo is really more like a nametag for an organization or a product. It’s a graphic representation meant to convey the essence of a brand.
The process of creating a brand requires you to examine who you are and why you do what you do. It is deeply introspective and yet requires that you look at the world around with new and unique perspectives. Scott Bedbury expresses perhaps the best reason to brand in his book, A New Brand World. He wrote, “The challenge of being seen, heard, and remembered – not to mention desired and respected – amid the evolving chaos of change will not just test but will bring out the best in every one of us.”
. A branded website gives a clear
picture of your company through the information that’s presented, the way it’s presented, and the user experience of
A branded website gives your organization a great foundation for an online presence, a platform from which to communicate everything you do, everything you stand for. It’s the place where you can tell your story and engage your customers. The process of developing and creating your branded website can be the best thing you do for your business.
A website provides the opportunity to communicate a lot about a company. While products and services may be the first things that come to your mind, the essential components are actually:[i]
• Overall Feel and Experience
• Quality Content
To develop your brand essence, conduct an analysis internally. Analyze customers, competitors, and trends in the industry you are in. Your brand should communicate what’s different about your company. To develop your brand essence, conduct an analysis internally.
Then develop a logo design, tagline, messaging, and the copy for your website that expresses your unique personality. This is where you’ll begin to find and create a “visual voice” that is focused and targeted.
A user-friendly site will have balance – a clear prioritization of information, clear hierarchical communication. The color palette and balanced use of color will support the brand and again express personality and perhaps convey a theme and/or emotion. Make sure that the use of the logo and tagline are effective. They should be appropriately placed and sized. And, be sure to include a clear call to action.
You want to be sure to convey that your organization is professional and credible. Therefore, throughout the site, it’s important to consistently use quality images, quality copy, and attention to detail in the way it’s put together. By being consistent… continually consistent, you create a uniform expectation.
While you may be able to provide a huge amount of content, there are a few items that really need to be part of your branded site. Make sure these items are accurate and well written.
In your About Us or Company section give details to establish trust and transparency. Include who the principals are, who is on your team, or who your partners are. Make sure that where and how to contact you is clear and easy to locate. Also include your mission and values to create loyalty.
Provide some history about the company. Do you have an interesting heritage? Is there a compelling story to tell? This is a great place to engage your audience, give them something that’s perhaps more intimate than the rest of the site. Make sure there’s a clear way to get in touch with your customer service. The way your brand is experienced has much to do with how your customers feel when they interact with you. Direct them to get the help they need.
Publish news. Keep your audience updated and informed. Whether you have news items about your company and what it’s been up to or industry news, it’s important to keep the site up-to-date and fresh. And last but certainly not least, give some educational content. If possible, write content that establishes thought leadership for your brand.
Remember, all of these components – personality, overall feel and experience, consistency, and quality content – work in concert to create an onlineexperience for your users. This online experience is your branded website. Keep your audience updated and informed. Whether you have news items about your company and what it’s been up to or industry news, it’s important to keep the site up-to-date and fresh.
In creating a branded website, there are a few things like your logo, tagline, and a call-to-action that need to be incorporated. But there are a few other things you may not have thought too much about. Choose an effective domain name, use a website email address, create a favicon, include social media links, use tools to streamline your customer’s process of doing business with you, and start a blog.
Use available tools to employ consistency and repetition in branding your company through your website. With the understanding that your brand is an experience, do everything you can to create an online experience that enhances your brand.
There are plenty of other opportunities to reach your audience online. Through email marketing and newsletters, mobile and online advertising, landing pages, widgets, and more, make sure your brand messages are visibly consistent. Branding is a lot about repetition and consistency. Use the tools available to create quality online experiences for your customers consistent with your brand.
As we’ve learned, branding is not what we say it is; it’s public perception. Great brands understand the power of design. The brands that usually come to mind are Nike, Target, Coca-Cola, Disney, Starbucks. And certainly they bring creativity and design to everything they do, far beyond their websites. All of the ways customers experience your brand are called touchpoints. We are going to wrap up this series on branding by talking about some of the other touchpoints to pay attention to that can round out the brand experience.
[i] Branded Websites: The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Business. 2012. Katalyst Creative Group.