Branding Conscious web design is the study and implementation of creating a website that exudes the unique value proposition that your offers. Web design is an entity unto itself but it also exists within the broader context of marketing as a once young offspring that’s grown into a powerful member of the family. Where elements of marketing were once based around big slogans, now things are often more about the brand experience that one experiences on the web with a certain business. Many times nothing says more about the company nowadays that its online presence. You can tell who’s making money by how well their website is designed, you can tell who cares about how their customers through how their website is presented, and you can tell who is up-to-date and responding to marketing trends.
I really think the work of marketing is migrating from adman slogans and towards the process of hand crafting experiences for real people
— Tim Brown (Design) (@timbdesignmpls) June 3, 2014
There are a couple quick and simple concepts that will elevate your online presence whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop, a fortune 500 company, or fighting for that sweet spot in between the two.
Tell your story in an emotionally compelling way
This doesn’t necessarily mean publishing a 1600-word report about your company’s history on your homepage. It means including compelling imagery and messaging that people will be excited about. What consumers see immediately when they land on your website speaks to what makes your company special. Are you personable? Show a picture of a successful and friendly interaction. Are you trendy? Feature big, simplistic headlines instead of busy photos. The options for brand messaging are endless, but limited. Make sure your specific audience can connect with what you’re saying.
If you can do it in a fresh way, consider telling the story of a successful customer experience. By sharing a successful customer experience you can tap into the imaginative and emotional side of your site visitors’ minds to get them thinking about how their life or business will be improved by your products or services. If you get the ball rolling, you’re well on your way to a making a conversion, whether it be a contact form submission, a purchase on your ecommerce site, or someone sharing your article on their social account.
Of course, there are several other ways to immerse your customer in your brand experience. The next steps detail even further why you should make the path to purchase funnel as frictionless as possible.
Share exactly why your company is different than your competitors
Do you instruct your site visitors, whereas other companies simply render a service without educating consumers? Outline site information with bullet points or icons. Make it almost impossible not to be able to identify your company’s strong points, even if you were evaluated next to a close competitor. At Snap, our design excels by being lean and focused partly because of our size, while our competitors often present bloated and unwieldy builds and websites. We are also “conversion centric” and help businesses get exposure on search engines with content marketing and SEO. Some of our competitors on the other hand, will make a beautiful website and then leave the client to themselves to promote and maintain it. As we grow, we evolve alongside our clients, positioning both us and you for longterm success.
It’s important to ask the question internally amongst stakeholders in your company: What makes us different than the next joe-schmo company in our industry? Why would anyone care? Seriously, what makes us different? Ask your customers if you are unsure just what sets you apart, “Why did you choose us and not them?” If you get honest answers to this question, you have a great start on telling the world wide web what you do, how you do it, and why.
Always focus on why it matters to the customer
This speaks again to presenting your unique value proposition in the clearest way possible so that your site visitors clearly understand the benefits of being loyal to you. You tell the story of a successful customer experience and they will associate themselves with benefits just like that.
Be vulnerable. I can’t talk about ‘Unique Value Propositions,’ and ‘Successful customer experiences’ without feeling like I’m speaking corporate gibberish. It’s super important to be real and share the truth. What if it’s a somewhat uncomfortable truth? For example: A project management software that’s only able to handle companies with under 500 employees. Likely there are companies that would love to know that this is not a solution for giant companies. Share a bit of reality, and the right people will appreciate that you’re not trying to be all things to all people. Most of the time they’ll either reward you with business, or at the very least, move on to the bigger guy without wasting your time.
Keep a clear and consistent feel throughout the site with an emphasis on emotionally compelling imagery and show your branding elements in the best possible quality
This is where it all ties back into branding. Your logo should look better than it ever has on your website. Consider making your main branding assets retina-friendly to allow people with technology capable of appreciating two times the quality sharpness. Above all, always make sure your logo and main imagery pops.
If you have a clean ‘apple-esque’ feel to your home page, your inner pages shouldn’t be a hodge-podge of widgets and ads. Your site should feel like the same site inside and out. If you’ve clarified what adjectives describe your company; ‘stylish,’ ‘genuine’, ‘homey’, or ‘unique’, make sure the overall aesthetic of your website speaks those adjectives. Just as a health care or a device e-commerce site isn’t going to want a grungy looking website, a music venue shouldn’t have a site that looks like Target’s corporate headquarter’s site. Use your unique brand voice to clarify what should be emphasized as far as tone on your site.
When I’ve worked with clients to improve their social media presence, I’ve often had them brainstorm the adjectives that would describe the voice they’d use on Twitter and Facebook no matter who did the actual posting. By developing a list of key adjectives that they could agree on, a consistency and wholeness is developed in their posts. This concept can easily be applied to the look and feel of a company’s website, and likely should be. This helps inform the brand’s theme as a web design team creates the look and feel of the site. Even as they develop it, determining the way it will react and respond to the actions of a visitor creates a better and more whole user experience.
Show your personality
It’s clear that branding isn’t just a logo. Just as you’d pay attention to the strength of your letterhead, you want to make sure your website represents the quality of your business and work. Every aspect of the design will affect the way you are perceived, just as every interaction on a personal level does. Branding conscious web design takes work, I hope this article has helped empower you a little bit more to feel confident being branding conscious in your web design project. Comment below, or tweet @SnapSocial to let us know your thoughts!