Up late working again….lovesit!
A good web site has the potential to sell products and promote your company’s image. Find out how to make the most of the Internet by creating a web site that builds brand awareness.
To some, branding might not feel like a tangible aspect of running a business. It can’t be seen like a product on the shelf, or counted like a cash drawer at the end of the night. But, branding is the reason people pay three times more for a product at one store over another.
Good branding is the product of a clear vision, and nobody knows more about vision than small business owners. But, with limited resources, creating a brand identity can be tricky. Fortunately, building brand awareness on the Internet doesn’t need to take a lot of money or resources.
Here are seven strategies to build your business brand:
Define the vision. Before moving ahead with the web site, create a brand positioning statement. “This isn’t just, ‘What kind of web site do we want to be?’ This is ‘Who are we?’” says Harley Manning, vice president at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., a technology and market research firm that advises on the effects technology has on consumers and businesses. Good brand statements typically include the company’s mission, vision and values. “It’s succinct. It’s typically something that will fit on a page easily,” he says.
Build a brand worth believing in. “Do you so believe in what you’re creating that you would trademark it?” says Andrea Fitch, president and CEO of RedCarpet Creations, Inc., and national president of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, both based out of Alexandria, Va. Really consider what kind of brand could represent the business through the next decade. “Don’t have a logo that in five years you’re going to be tired of and discard for another,” she says.
Remember, the web site is the brand. “A web site is not just a communication medium,” Manning says. “It is actually a channel that must deliver on the promise.” Essentially, a web site should embody the promise that it makes to customers. If, for instance, a business claims to be innovative, the web site should look fresh and modern.
Create a cohesive experience between all mediums. Before she launched her company’s new web site, Fitch made sure it would be an event that her potential clients would never forget. RedCarpet Creations mailed 4,000 silver tubes containing scrolls that looked like rolled-up carpet. Inside the scrolls was an announcement about the web site’s launch. Once online, the web site was an extension of the invitations because it followed through on the themes of red carpet imagery and references to visitors being treated like a VIP. Customers should easily be able to recognize the company’s brand, whether it is print, online or some other form of media, Manning says.
Don’t sacrifice creativity. Once the brand’s guidelines are established, creative choices must bring those attributes to life, Manning says. Don’t let the company’s brand become so dominating that there is no room for new thoughts and ideas. Brand should be the jumping-off point for interesting ideas, not the place where every new idea dead-ends. Fitch stresses that a sense of fun and whimsy will only enhance the likelihood that people will take an interest in the web site.
Don’t communicate brand at the expense of delivering. While a web site can be a significant tool for building brand awareness, clarity and functionality are paramount. “Just be careful not to let the communication about your brand get in the way of delivering your message,” Manning says. People should be able to understand how to navigate the site without knowing a thing about the company’s catch phrases. “You can’t frustrate and annoy people into liking your brand,” he says.
Listen to the customers: They determine a brand’s true value. Pay attention to customer feedback about the site because, ultimately, it’s the customers’ opinion that counts. When it comes to building a brand, a company can incorporate everything from signature colors to catch phrases, but at the end of the day, it’s the consumer who decides what a brand is really worth. “It’s not what you say [about] yourself, it’s what others say of you,” Fitch says.