In today’s internet driven world, brand and brand identity are big subjects.

It can seem as simple as how to stand out from the crowd.

So, how do you?

It can be tempting to try to use gimmicks to make your brand and thus your business stand out. And with all the ease of communication that the internet brings, there are really a thousand ways you could do something noticeable on the web.

But is that what your brand is really all about?

I have observed that some firms think that changing the look of their site, sorting out the fact their website looks a bit tired or maybe out-dated will be a pivotal point in increasing their traffic.

I think some people feel that a poor or dull web presence is a root cause of low internet enquiries. And even worse than this, I have seen tricks used which, although maybe interesting, detract from the brand values and thus identity of the firm.

Working in marketing I know that the absolutely most important point is that your brand is communicated well to the right audience for you. But a lot of people misunderstand what that really means. They think it means what your website looks like or whether a glossy brochure is available to customers.

The question here is:

Will investing into the look of a new website bring me more traffic?

The short answer is no.

And to understand that, you need to really understand BRAND.

What is Brand?

As far as your marketing is concerned, brand is essentially the values, beliefs and mission of your business. How you are perceived and what you are all about is your brand. The way you conduct your business, your attitudes and your style are all a part of your brand. The way your receptionists deal with callers, the way your staff interact with your clientele are all the stuff of “brand.”

In this regard, brand is something you should have a very clear grasp of and the stronger your understanding of your own brand the better. Having a clear and strong sense of brand is much more valuable than trying to attract attention on your website with anything other than your business itself.

All-too-often a firm’s marketing department or whoever is responsible will get the idea that the subject of new people coming in boils down to whether the logo is on the left or the right, whether the correct colour is put here or there.

In order of importance, it goes something like this:

As a business, know your own beliefs and values.
Work out how you are delivering that to your clients and deliver it well.
Strongly market those beliefs, values and RESULTS in a way that is appropriate to and will really communicate to your audiences.
Make sure that what you said you were all about is being delivered by your staff.
Polish up your image.

So how is that translated into your marketing?

Well, it certainly doesn’t mean you cannot attract attention, far and wide if you so desire it. After all, promotion, by definition means you need to increase visibility.

But it does mean you need to figure out who you really are if you want to sort out how to tell people about yourself.

The reason why you do what you do (and of course HOW you do it) is the foremost point.

Once you really have a strong grasp of this, you can then progress forward into working out how to tell people who you are and why you are doing what you are doing. Thus we come to the “how” of branding.

About the worst possible scenario is to have no sense really of your own place in the market, of what makes you YOU, but to just try and capture interest in your product anyway. Actually worse than this is to expect miracles from a marketing department when you don’t deliver a good service, but that is a different subject entirely.

Design.

In terms of your website and advertising, the colour palette, typography, style and methods of presenting imagery are all tools which can help to communicate the mission and beliefs of your firm. Even the marketing strategy itself is a huge part of how you put across your brand: the kinds of advertising you do, which social media you use, whether you use printed media at all, or videos on your website.

Not all methods are equal when viewed from the perspective of your brand.

All points of design should be coordinated and match with every other non-design aspect of your brand (your office values and attitudes, etc.) Which is why it is even more important to understand those values and beliefs than it is to say “our colour scheme is purple and green.” Once those factors have been sorted, the colour scheme, style, typography, etc. become a pretty simple matter of design. And, hopefully, it will be obvious whether a picture of a car or a baby will work on your site.

Let’s look at an example.

Say your firm is extremely dedicated to its clients and consider their own trustworthiness to be the most major facet of identity. A quick Google search will reveal colours which people identify with trustworthiness, which kinds of typography and imagery are associated with that value. You probably can even get an inherent feel for this without much looking.

It will tell you a lot about whether your site should be minimalist, or full of exciting swishes and swirls. Whether you should go for a blocky kind of feel or if your images should have rounded corners. Whether your video should have classical or modern music. Or none at all. (If it doesn’t speak all these things to you exactly, that’s okay too because that is what your marketing/web design team do.)

This should make revamping your website with fresh colours, images, fonts etc. a pretty straightforward affair. Yes, the technical implementation can take a little bit of effort, but it shouldn’t be the focus of the marketing effort.

What really matters here is that you have a product which you believe in and which you want to provide to other people and that you use the right formats and methods of getting the right people to find that product and receive it.

Working with Web Designers and Marketers.

A good marketing department or company should know that concentrating on the look and feel of your site is merely a part of the much broader subject of branding.

And, that branding is only ONE PART of marketing.

If your marketing team has a grasp of this they will know to ask you who the ideal client is rather than which shade of red you prefer most. And they will prioritise their actions on getting more visitors first and then a jazzier website second.

So, in conclusion, when you are looking at overhauling or updating your marketing, or even just modernising the look and feel of your website start by figuring out who you are, who your clients are and what you really believe in. Get all of that straight and you will be surprised how easy it is to figure out how it should be represented in pixels.

And remember, the most important point here is getting the marketing actions done which really do bring in business by the numbers, not just by what you think about how it all looks.

We offer a re-branding walkthrough service as part of our custom built solutions.