When I talk to clients about branding, sometimes the conversation can turn into a laundry list of CSS styles and font choices. In the world of web design we tend to drill things down to their implementation rather than the broader scope of vision that true branding requires. If we get too lost in the details of what colors to use or which header graphic to use, we’ll lose the over-arching goal of actually reaching your target market.Your logo is important. Layout is important. Color scheme is all important, but more important still is the personality you’re selling to the public.
This personality has to permeate every point of contact with that public. If you give mixed messages, your market will feel it.
Let’s say, for instance, you’re a frozen yogurt company. You sell only 5 flavors of frozen yogurt, but it’s the best tasting stuff you’ve ever had. Your physical stores are small and located within shopping malls and strip malls throughout the midwest. They all have old-fashioned decor and cater to a crowd that appreciates quality over fluff. You have a brand.
It’s a “feel”. It’s what sets you apart. Many business owners try to mix things up, say to appeal to a broader market. So let’s say you call up your web designer and tell them you want to reach out to the younger crowd. You instruct them to make the site pop with a rock n’ roll theme.
Ok, that may be a bit extreme, but you get the idea.
Don’t get me wrong, there are ways to expand your target audience and still maintain your brand. In the case of the yogurt shop, you can expand into other markets by keeping it fresh and informative. So, say you wanted to reach a younger market. Well, how does a grandparent get his or her grandparent to spend more time with them? They don’t start dressing or talking like the kid. However, they would take an interest in what they are interested in and become involved, adding their own personality to what the youngster’s into.
I would do research on what my goal market was into. I would take my particular style and brand into venues where they met socially. I would blog about ways my company values integrated well with their values.
There’s danger as well with getting so bogged down in your brand that you alienate everyone who isn’t in your special club. In some niches this can work – take the gamer community, for example, where belonging to a small group is desired. It’s especially dangerous, however, if your target market is aging.
Finally, sometimes it’s time to pitch it and start over – re-brand. Many major companies have done it successfully. The key is knowing when. Read BI’s article on the 10 Best Re-Brands Ever.
During your web design process, it becomes practical to clearly delineate your brand. We can then interpret that into an effective strategy for the logo, layout, colors, images, and call-to-actions needed to turn visitors into leads. Arx can help you define your personality and encourage ways to stick to that image throughout your site and social media marketing.
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