When a small business owner comes to us with a need for a new website, or even a website redesign, we start by asking a whole bunch of questions. Sure, the client expects that we’ll talk about color schemes, basic page layouts, and site functionality, but what always throws them is when we talk about their website brand identity.
What is brand identity? It’s how a business presents itself and how it wants to be perceived by its customers. A ton of elements go into creating that identity. The company name, logo colors, language, your advertisements, and how you interact with customers are all a part of building your brand identity.
Maintaining Brand Identity
I remember several years ago somebody sent me a link to the Dollar Shave Club’s new commercial. After watching it, I went to the company’s site to learn more. All of their sales copy was written with a sort of tongue-in-cheek, mildly snarky tone. The smile I had on my face from their commercial continued as I read their website content. A few minutes later, I signed up as a new member. The welcome email that followed carried the same lighthearted tone.
Dollar Shave Club makes a point to ensure that their messaging has the same tone through three different channels of communication: video ads, website copy, and email communications. By doing so, they’re building a brand identity that its customers come to expect. If their ads and website are all created in a fun and lighthearted way, receiving emails that sound like their lawyers wrote them would make for a huge disconnect. Any time that you present your customers with a disconnect, it can be the reason they jump ship and find a new company to buy from.
Building Your Brand Identity
There’s never a bad time to take a step back and review the content on your website. Is your content telling your audience a consistent story? Here are just a few of the things to consider when building your brand identity:
Name and Logo: Unless you run a company like Nike with an immediately recognizable logo, it’s a good idea to make sure that your brand name and logo portray who you are.
Tagline and/or Description: Since the words you use in your tagline and/or description are often picked up by search engines and will be the first bit of information customers learn about you, ensure that it is telling them what you want them to know about your company.
Home Page: When somebody lands on your home page, are you setting the right tone for how a customer can expect to interact with you throughout your professional relationship?
About Page: This is where people go to learn about you. Are you letting them get to know you or are you simply marketing to them? Get personal. Let them know who you are. People love to do business with genuine folks.
Imagery: Make sure you aren’t falling into the trap of using stock images everywhere on your site. If you need to fill a gap here or there with a stock image, that’s fine. But for the most part, your photos should be authentic and help the visitor connect.
Your Blog: Your blog is one of the easiest places to let your brand identity get away from you. If you run a law firm and your entire site is setting a tone of corporate professionalism, the tone of your blog shouldn’t be written by the funny guy in the office. Keep it consistent.
Your Marketing: If you run advertisements on Facebook or Google, it is critical that the tone of the ads match the tone of the associated landing page. When your visitor clicks an ad that takes them to a specified page on your website, but something about your landing page makes them think they clicked the wrong link or ended up at the wrong site, you’ve lost them.
Social Media: You can think of your social media profiles as being an extension of your blog and your marketing channels. How you connect on social should be in line with how you connect on your website.
Telling your story
While you may know that the main goal of your website is to get more leads for your business, how you build your brand identity can play a part in making the initial sale and your ability to retain a client long term. Telling a consistent story on your website, blog, social media, and marketing channels will guarantee that your customers know who you are and what they can expect when they work with you.