A powerful brand is one of the most valuable assets a company can have, which is why its website must do everything possible to reinforce brand identity. Unfortunately, corporate sites sometime undermine branding due to careless messaging and design choices. Here are 10 tips to make your site a branding powerhouse.
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1. Articulate Your Value Proposition
A value proposition describes in a few sentences what a firm does, how it is different, and why the difference matters. A value proposition works as an “elevator speech” that gives customers a quick and compelling picture of your brand.
2. Articulate Your Key Benefits
Taking the message down to the next level of detail, determine how you want to express your most appealing five to 10 benefits. These benefits might apply to products, services, or relationship factors that enter into a prospect’s decision to do business with you. Usually these benefits are stated in a way to convey the broadest appeal.
3. Articulate Your Key Features
The next step is flesh out how to express the critical, differentiating features (attributes) of your products, services and way of doing business (relationship-related). This type of messaging may incorporate more detail and words than messaging around benefits and, obviously, the value proposition.
4. Express These Content Elements Consistently Across the Site
Once you’ve constructed your baseline messaging, repeat the themes and messaging points in a similar fashion throughout your site. The more consistent you are when talking about your products, services and company, the easier visitors will pick up the key points, and the more consistent their impression will be of your overall offering. Too often, firms are too inconsistent in how they describe themselves, highlighting one benefit here and another benefit there, and using different language and spin every time they talk about their central themes.
5. Incorporate the Most Important Themes into Page Templates
Your most important messaging points must be positioned where visitors are most likely to see them and read them: in page headers and on sidebars above the fold. Depending on the section of the site, the top messaging points will differ: on product pages, display product benefits; on company pages, display relationship-related benefits, etc. The actual text should be displayed within eye-catching design blocks; it may be advantageous to create separate templates for product pages, company pages, etc.
6. Use Brand-Consistent Colors and Imagery
You’d thing most firms are brand-savvy enough to know that logos should always be displayed in the same colors, but … well, you’d be surprised! In addition to logos, site imagery, which is arguably more important than text in conveying brand identity, must be consistent with your brand’s feel. For instance, an accounting firm known for its work ethic and discipline should avoid photos of butterflies and sunbathers. A company renowned for innovation certainly should avoid unimaginative stock photography. You get the idea.
7. Use a Consistent Writing Style
Along the same lines as above, the accounting firm may favor a somewhat more formal writing style, whereas the innovative firm may adopt a more conversational and freewheeling tone. Whatever style you select, make it consistent with your culture and a good fit with your primary audience. Above all, maintain consistency. As we all know, how you say something can be just as important as what you say — and that applies to the written word just as much as to the spoken.
8. Test and Troubleshoot
If your site’s functionality is flawed, visitors will assume your entire company is also dysfunctional. Make sure everything on your site is working properly:
- Are all internal and external links working?
- Are forms submitting properly?
- Do ALL navigation links work?
- Are pages loading quickly?
- Is content free of typos and other errors?
- Is content free of factual errors or in need of updating?
- Are images displaying properly?
- Does the site display properly in all popular browsers and screen resolutions?