Development of a creative online presence too often gets put off during the process of brand building for one reason or another. This is unfortunate. In order for a company to build the maximum amount of brand recognition and by extension, create conversions, their brand must be consistent across all channels.
Your website works as a 24 hour, non-stop, worldwide brand ambassador. It is open for business when you are not, spreading your brand story and, hopefully, creating sales and grabbing new customers.
Too often, however, people let the medium define the message – opening up a copy of Dreamweaver, or even worse, FrontPage, and stumbling through the editor without any overall creative strategy. Or, they go to the other extreme and try to use every bell and whistle known to the web – marquees, scripts, Flash, do-dads and what-nots, none of which work to enhance the user experience or create brand value.
Who am I and why am I here?
Really, who are you and what is the purpose of your site? Everyone has to be plugged into the tubes (see: internet), but is what you are doing there effective? If you’re just there because everyone else is, you are not doing your brand a favor.
I’m here, what do I do?
Establishing a creative web presence should not be last on your list. Having a well-planned up-to-date, good-looking site will extend your brand to a much wider audience, opening up new avenues for growing your customer base. Here are a few things to think about when starting a new project or site redesign.
Know your purpose. Websites offer many things, but there must be one overall purpose to your site. This could be sales, advertising, community building, networking, or any number of things. Nail down what the main function of you site will be, and the features you choose and where you put them will all flow from there.
Develop a profile of your customers. Hopefully, unless you are just starting up, this is something that your company has done already. This profile should include both who your customers are both demographically and psychology. How do you want them to react to your site? What action do you want them to take? Knowing who they are will help you answer these critical questions and develop a site that prompts conversion.
Look at how your brand has communicated in the past. If what you have been doing is successful, there’s no need to make a radical departure from that on your website. Remember, if you want to grow your business, people have to remember who you are. Make it easy on them. Give them the same unique message everywhere they go.
Show off your personality. If you have done your homework, you should be able to describe your brand’s personality in one or two words. Fun, energetic, powerful, elegant, sophisticated – these are all examples of "brand personalities." Play it up online. Make your users’ experience reflect your personality. They should say, "Wow, what an elegant site… I bet they really offer first-class service…" You may have them hooked already.