We’ve all heard the phrase “what you see is what you get”, and in business that phrase really rings true when potential clients view your work. I really noticed the impact of this concept while I was driving and a company truck in front of me was advertising aesthetic work to created suped up vehicles – and the truck’s back bumper was falling off!! Why would any car owner pay the advertised company to aesthetically touch their vehicle if the company vehicles don’t look good? One of the first insights that a potential client has into your business is seeing how owners and workers take pride in the products sold. So, what kind of image does your business emit?
We’re in the last quarter of 2009 – your last chance to bring in some strong revenues for your business for this year. If you find yourself wondering what to do given the current economic climate, then read this article. Learn what consumers are still buying, find out the number one way to build customer loyalty and get some great advice on building a strong brand.
Then take some action.
I love the practice of branding – it’s my absolute passion. It allows me to answer the call to do two things in life – to create a better visual environment and to connect to people – to have influence.
The shift in the visual environment is the low-hanging fruit, but it gives me a real kick whenever I can make an impact. Poor design is a nearly-physical irritant in my world – it’s like a rattle in a car – it doesn’t matter what it is – something’s just not right and it grates on me until it’s fixed. Why a company wouldn’t care about its visual brand is beyond me. A company’s objective performance is paramount – you have to be all that your brand promises, but would you buy a car with a rattle?
But what really matters to me is the second part.
Emotional influence is the real value of brand. Powerful branding does more than take the rattle out of the car – it changes the whole car because it changes the human experience. Brands help customer, entrepreneur and employee emotionally connect to their experience.
I’ve seen the branding process empower employees to create new environmental solutions in their business. I’ve seen brand create real employee engagement, as people find a ‘flag’ to rally around that brings a purpose to their days. And I’ve seen brand strengthen the bridge between customer and company by capturing the essence of what started the customer relationship. Brand creates meaning and value.
Take away the outdated, the redundant, the misleading, the generic brand! Bring in the accurate, aligned, powerful brand. Great branding is taking a stand, claiming a position, showing up. It’s a conscious way of doing business that allows people to bring their passion to work. And that is a better world.
3. Brand Impact:
The top portion of your website is the most important area – it’s the first thing visitors see when they click through to your site: use it to your advantage and make sure what they see has impact. The company logo should be displayed prominently here along with a short tagline that describes concisely what you do. Content should be clear and concise and should quickly get to the gist of your offering. This makes it obvious to prospects immediately that they have come to the right place (or not as the case maybe) saving them time and effort.
4. Keep it simple and clear:
Many companies make the mistake of trying to put too much on their home page making it look busy and all that results is information overload – visitors are confused as to what the company actually does. Bear in mind that the most successful Internet brand is Google (link to www.google.com) whose classic website is plain white with the Google logo prominently displayed then the simple search functionality â€“ it seems stark, but it really works.
5. Your domain is part of your brand too!:
Your domain or url should either reflect your company name or your function exactly: I don’t know how many times I have come across a company in a magazine or newspaper article and have tried to find them on the Internet using their company name but to no avail. When I do finally track them down it turns out that their domain is completely different and has no apparent similarity to the corporate identity. Had these organizations chosen a domain that encompassed their company name or at the very least one that describes concisely what they do it would have been so much more obvious and easy to find.
The keys to building a strong Internet brand include consistency, impact, simplicity and clarity – make sure that the look and feel are consistent with existing marketing efforts; that your message is obvious and apparent; that your brand has impact and your domain is obvious and as a result, your organization you will avoid potential pitfalls, ehance brand awareness and build more brand loyalty.
When creating a web presence, many companies think of technology and web design first with marketing as an afterthought when in reality, their major concern should be the latter: after all the web site is often the first point of contact you have with your potential customer. It’s imperative therefore to consider marketing (and branding in particular) a priority when creating your Internet presence. If you don’t, you could risk damaging this substantial asset considerably. In part one of this two part series I provide some key points that companies must consider in order to create a successful internet brand:
1. If your brand is already working well for you, there is no need to reinvent the wheel:
In most cases companies have already made considerable investment in building brand awareness. Don’t discard this; rather use it to your advantage. Always extend your existing brand image to your on-line presence so that people who are already aware of your brand recognize it easily on the web.
2. Consistency is key:
The company brand should be consistent across all touch points. Use existing corporate logos, taglines, fonts and colour schemes on your website to mirror the colours you use in your letterheads, signage and tangible marketing materials (or vice versa). Always include the internet domain or home page on existing corporate materials because driving traffic to your website will serve to further enhance your brand.
Although Pinkberry has limited themselves to a few different products, they are not limited in types of consumers; each time I have visited Pinkberry, I have seen young and old people, as well as surfers or children stopping for an after school treat. So ask yourself, what can I do to attract a wider range of customers?
I came across this great
in Entrepreneur Magazine that explains how to make your logo appealing to potential customers.
The writer touches on the basics that everyone knows: stick to two colors, one font, and stay consistent.
What I found most interesting, is how visual branding can gain potential customers’ trust and belief while building credibility.