Brand identity isn’t about shoving your company name and logo down people’s throats at every single opportunity. Branding falls into 2 distinct categories, Visual Branding and Emotional Branding. A strong brand will be aware, and work on both categories. In this article we’ll cover 6 ways to make your brand stronger in both categories.
Visual Branding is all about recognition. If you see a billboard ad or are given a flyer for a company, then visit their website it should be easy for you to recognise that this is the same company without even seeing a logo. Successful visual branding is all around us. Whenever you see that tick and immediately think ‘Nike’. Or when you’re driving down the road and you see the golden arches and all you can think about is a cheeseburger. These multinational corporations are examples of companies that got their branding right. Check their websites out. They look the same as their TV ads, their bus stop posters, their social media accounts, you get the idea. Visual branding is part of any successful company, and therefore it must also be part of any successful company’s website design.
Emotional Branding is about how someone feels about your brand. Does Coca Cola run adverts telling you all about the ingredients in their drinks? No, they showcase an ideal and people living that ideal. Nike feature athletes in their marketing campaigns because they want you to ‘become more’ when you wear their clothes. How we feel about products dictates so much of the purchasing decision. Most companies invest far less in Emotional Branding versus Visual Branding. Visual Branding is easy and instant. Emotional Branding is on a deeper level and requires a company to know who they are, what they stand for and what they want people to feel when they use their products. eat their food, visit their showroom, drive their cars, etc.
1. Don’t Overdo the Visuals
What else do you notice about those major corporations’ websites? The logos are there, but they’re not the centre of attention. It was Leonardo Da Vinci that said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. There’s a reason that simplicity works. Bottom line, you don’t want your website visitors to have to work too hard for what they’ve come for. That’s leaving a bad taste in their mouth and damaging your brand. You want your website to be visually and functionally simple. If the branding makes the task at hand more difficult people will simply go elsewhere. Look at Facebook, Twitter, etc. and you will see that their logo takes a back seat to the functionality of their apps/websites. Part of their branding is that their systems are easy to use and an easy to use system has no place to showcase a big huge logo.
It’s more about ensuring that anytime a potential customer or client hears your company’s name, they’re associating it with your logo and vice versa. It’s much easier to subliminally enter the population’s conscience than force your way into it.
2. Colours and Fonts
Any website that doesn’t give proper consideration to how colours and fonts affect their site’s aesthetics is setting themselves up for failure. Do you have a physical location for the business? What colours do you use in the store? What font is used in your company logo? These are the questions your designer should be asking when designing your website. Your site should be a reflection of whatever presence you already have, not something entirely separate to it.
Also, don’t be above changing things. If you look around your office or store and think, “This could do with a facelift,” make sure you carry those changes over to your website. Don’t be afraid to allow your creation of a website drive some changes in whatever presence you already hold. Just make sure that at the end of the day, both your physical and online presence shares a visual synergy. There’s nothing more confusing for a website visitor than a site that has a completely different colour palette and fonts to the branding they’re used to seeing in a store.
Check that your print assets are consistent with your website. If someone takes your business card and then visits your website, it should just click that this is the same business. They should not even have to think about it.
In our experience a website redesign can sometimes be fuelled by a brand identity crisis, so consider whether it would benefit your business to also consider a brand identity revision too.
3. Images help building brand association
Good branding makes people feel something. A photograph can convey so much emotion in a matter of nanoseconds. Think about the imagery you use for your brand and make sure it is relevant and portrays the right emotion for your business.
Use images that showcase the effect of using your product or service. If you create software that makes a customer’s life easier then use serene imagery that makes them feel more relaxed, as this helps give reassurance of what is to come by using your software.
The more you know about your customer the better your image choice can be. If you decide to use images with people in them, then make sure they are similar to your target audience. It would make no sense if a paint ball centre aimed at young men had a website that features elderly women. People want to look at an image and be able to place themselves there, so use images they can identify with easily.
4. Copywriting Isn’t an Afterthought
The copy, or the text, on your site is important. Very important. Whilst what visitors see might constitute their first impression, what they read will validate it. Which is why the two need to work hand in hand. Once again, it’s about not making yourself look stupid by contradicting the physical presence your company already has. Any writer will tell you that nine tenths of good non-fictional writing is proper consideration of audience.
In other words, your site’s copy must fit your brand. If you’re appealing to young adults, use the jargon. If you’re in the funeral industry, only use very respectful language that employs proper English. Audience. Your website isn’t for you, it’s for your customers and clients. How would your employees speak to customers in store or clients in the office? That’s the tone you should use for your copy. See Karen DeFelice’s article here for more information.
Ideally your website should include a Content Management System which gives you the ability to edit your site’s content quickly and easily. It is important to understand how to add new content to your website as creating new content, pages, blogs, etc. on an on-going basis is one of the best ways to gain more traffic to your website, highlight yourself as an authority figure and provide educational resources to clients and visitors.
5. Don’t Cut Corners
Think about your website as if it was a business card. A business card has a simple function, to provide contact details. Are those details any different if your business card is printed professionally or on napkin paper? The same goes for your website. Don’t expect that the website you invest a few hundred Euros into will start generating hundreds of thousands for your business.
Any element of the website design process that you aren’t comfortable with yourself, hire a professional for. If your site has dead end links and things won’t display properly on devices, you’re damaging your brand. If your copy is written by someone with below par English skills, your visitors will know. And if your site uses all pixelated images, your damaging your brand. In order to use your website to strengthen your brand identity, near enough is not good enough. Do it properly first time and your brand will thank you.
6. Tell Your Story
Visuals, Copy, Simplicity and Professionalism. This is what we’ve covered so far. The final tip that will ensure your branding is maximised by your website is – tell your story. Far too many ‘about’ pages are full of administrative guff that is wholly unimportant. This space on your site should be dedicated to you telling your company’s story. By doing this, you humanise your organisation and you endear the visitor.
Empathy is a powerful emotion when people are looking to select professional services or purchase products. People really get a better understanding of someone they may hire when they consider not what you do, but why you do it.
It’s always best to engage a professional web design team when creating a new website. If you would like Hidden Depth’s help to get the most out of your website and maximise your brand’s your online visibility, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 012544000.