Have you ever landed on a website and immediately felt confused? Did the copy and design fail to inform you who the company was, what they sold, or why you should buy from them? Or, on the other end of the spectrum, was the website cluttered with contradicting information, sporadic design elements, and unnecessary functions?
This terrible user experience is the result of a poor branding strategy or a lack of a brand in the first place.
As defined by Entrepreneur, branding is _“the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.”_Having a strong brand and corresponding strategy can position your business or personal career competitively in your market or industry. Without it, your company and website become another piece of noise on the Internet.
Considering that consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by 23% on average, it is vital for your business to have a defined brand. And, with 54% of shoppers turning to a brand’s website for product information, customer service, and personalized shopping, a brand website is more important than ever.
The Importance of a Brand
Reviewing the Entrepreneur definition of branding once again, the goal of a brand is to differentiate your organization, product/services, and identity from that of the competition. While effectively positioning your business in the market is the main goal and benefit of branding, it also offers several other advantages:
A Brand is an Experience
While developing this entity for your business, you, in turn, create a customer experience. Everything from your logo to the interactivity of your website is part of the total brand experience. The way your customer support team answers messages, the content published to your company’s social media profiles, the manner in which customers are onboarded for products and services – it all revolves around your brand.
Your brand has the power to construct a one-of-a-kind experience for your customers. This experience is extended through various online channels, in-person interactions with employees, and other instances. When your brand is unorganized or not defined, this customer experience is disorienting and undesirable.
Branding Leads to Recognition
If given a test of the world’s top brands, the majority of us would pass with flying colors. From McDonald’s to the Walt Disney Company to Sony, we can identify the leading brands in seconds. Having a consistent and established brand strategy works to improve customer recognition of your brand. On average, it takes approximately 5 to 7 brand impressions before someone remembers you. Therefore, those first few impressions need to be strong—not scattered!
Plus, as stated by Reuters, 82% of investors believe that brand strength and name recognition are becoming more important in guiding them in their investment decisions.
Customers Trust Brands
Did you know 48% of consumers expect brands to know them and aid in finding new products or services that fit their needs? This is derived from a level of brand trust. After beginning to recognize and interact with your brand, customers will begin to trust your company for their specific needs.
And, 64% of consumers say that shared values are the main reason that they have a trusted relationship with a brand. If your brand is discombobulated online, how will you be able to demonstrate the value of your company/product/services and earn the trust of your target audience?
You Need a Brand Strategy
After establishing your brand, you must devise a brand strategy. A brand strategy identifies the goals for your brand as well as how to best accomplish them using the various components of your brand including language, the logo, and trademarks (also known as a brand standards guide.) While much of your brand strategy will focus on how to appropriately utilize the brand across marketing and company efforts, Hubspot also identifies 7 components all brand strategies must contain:
- Purpose: Define your company’s vision.
- Consistency: Ensure a seamless representation of your brand.
- Emotion: What is the tone of voice for your brand? How should your brand convey emotion?
- Flexibility: Identify how and when to pivot, if necessary.
- Employee Involvement: Describe how employees can best represent and promote the brand.
- Loyalty: Discuss how to recognize and appreciate your loyal customers.
- Competitive Awareness: Analyze your competitors and determine how to differentiate your brand.
With a solidified brand strategy, you can move forward with developing and launching a website that represents your brand in a positive, accurate, and consistent manner.
What Every Brand Website Needs
Remember, the goal of your website is to inform customers and entice them to trust your brand. In turn, they’ll convert into paying customers over time. However, an unorganized, chaotic website design won’t do the trick. You don’t want customers to access your website only to be confused!
In fact, if customers cannot find what they want on your website or homepage, 79% will exit your site and search for another website to complete their task. Considering 81% of customers complete extensive research online before making a purchase, your website needs to have the following components.
A Clear Message
Armed with a defined brand and thorough brand strategy, your marketing team will know how to communicate your brand message via the company website. The website copy should be:
- Aligned with Your Brand Strategy!
Remember, your brand message must demonstrate your company’s values and why customers should trust and purchase from your business.
A Consistent Design
As outlined in your strategy, your website must contain consistent branding and design elements throughout. After reading this article, take time to explore the Bluehost website. As you navigate to different pages and products throughout our site, you’ll notice everything from the website copy to the illustrations, layout, and photos are persistently aligned with our brand.
It’d be odd if we had an orange page with an entirely different layout all of a sudden, right? Since color increases brand recognition by 80%, our website is fully in accordance with our brand standards which state a specific shade of blue must be used.
Crucial Company Information
When users land on your website, they want information ASAP. Or, they want to know where on your website they can find that information.
For instance, if you own a restaurant, your website visitors should be able to easily find your menu and your hours of operation. If not placed on your homepage, the website navigation should clearly display these page links/buttons.
Information users commonly look for includes:
- Products and Services
- Hours of Operation
- Product Information
- Company History
- Employee Bios
- Store Location and Directions
Forgetting to include such vital information can leave potential customers with a negative impression of your brand. Be sure to place the important details where visitors can find them.
Launch Your Brand Website
After meticulously developing and defining your brand and strategy, you can share it with the world by creating a WordPress website. Remember, your website is a reflection of your brand—not an extension—make sure it follows your strategy to a ‘T’!
Over to you! Why do you think having a defined brand and website is key for businesses?