Branding can make or break your web presence. It is one of the most important considerations when designing your website.
If you do not brand your website, then people will not know what the message of your site is. Or worse, end up with a negative image.
This is not lonely true for large corporate websites, but also for small business, for non-profits like churches, and even for your personal home page.
Branding is not just something that big business use to sell you stuff. You can use it to tell your visitors who you are, and what you stand for.
A report by NewsCred found that 69% of visitors to your website base their opinion of you on your brand.
So What Exactly is Branding
Wikipedea defines Brand as “a name, term, design, or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others”.
I would go further to say that a Brand is the image you intentionally portray of your company or yourself in order to convey a certain image.
Branding is nothing new. It dates back to antiquity when rulers would give themselves titles – John the Baptist, Peter the Great. Etc.
Cattle farmers brand their livestock, musicians brand their identities (think Jimmy Buffet, or Madonna). And large corporations brand their logos (think of Apple and their logo of and apple with a bite taken out of it referencing Adam taking a bite out of the fruit of Knowledge).
Do you recognize these brands?
Brands could also be identified by people.
Do you know what companies these people represent:
What Are The Essential Elements of Your Brand
Your brand needs to convey your Unique Selling Proposition (or USP). Your USP is what differentiates you, your company, your service, or your product from others.
Here are a few examples of USP that help differentiate these companies from their competitors
- Avis’ “We’re only number two. We try harder”
- Domino’s “30 minutes or it’s free”
- Southwest’s “The lowest-priced airline”
- New York Times “All the news that’s fit to print”
- Bounty “The quicker picker-upper”
If you can create an image for yourself, then you can create a brand for yourself. And by putting effort into defining your brand then people will know what to expect from you.
For example, Walmart is where you go to buy stuff without spending a lot of money. You would not go there if you were in the market for a Rolex, but you would if you want cheap laundry detergent. Just as you would not go to Saks Fifth Avenue to buy discount goods.
Your brand conveys a message about what to expect from you. And once your brand is successful in doing that, then people automatically think of you when they have a particular need or problem to solve.
How to Define and Brand Your Website
It is worthwhile exercise to think about the basics of your brand. Think about your customers, and if you were in their shoes, what would you expect.
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition – what differentiates you from your competitors
- What do you want your visitors to remember about you – Are you expensive, cheap, fun, serious
- how do you want your visitors to recognize you – a memorable logo or catchy phrase
First time visitors to your website forum and opinion of your website in two tenths of a second according to researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. That is how much time you have to make an impression and brand your image in the mind of your visitor.
Again, this does not just apply to large companies. If your site is a mess, it does not matter if you are the guy selling chips out of your food truck, people are going to associate that mess with you.
Consistency trumps all.
With a bit of planning you can create brand your website.
- Create a simple style guide – what colors are important to you. Try to limit yourself to one basic color, and one secondary color. Unless you are intentionally trying to be artistic, simple is better. And you can never go wrong with white space.
- Choose what fonts you are going to use. More than two may be too much – one for your headlines, and one for the body of your text should be enough
- If you do not already have a logo, get one. Cheap and easy places to get a logo include Fiverr (get a logo for $5), and 99designs (a bit more upscale).
- Tone of voice. If you are building a website for a funeral home, slang and jokes might not be what your visitors are going to respond well to.
- Message – whatever your message is, try to promote it across your entire website
- Reinforce your brand – You want to give the impression that your brand is valued. Testimonials are good for this.
Putting it all together
Your brand is an extension of you, your business, your service and your product. Your website is just one medium for you to promote your brand.
If you have business cards, make sure that you use the same style guide for your website as you do for your business cards, your printed material. If you post to social media sites, make sure that you use the same branded images there too.
Remember, consistency is what makes your brand stick. You want to bombard anything and everything with the same message.
Branding has been used since antiquity and is one of the most important elements of human communication. Whether we do it consciously or not, it is always better that we define our brand, or someone else will do it for us.
Your website is an extension, and very public display of your brand. You have learned a few simple basics how to define your brand . Make sure to jot down some simple notes and take a look as your website to make sure it conveys the message you want it to.
Now it is your turn:
Do you believe that branding is important?