Your Website Needs a Brand.
Whether you know it or not (and regardless of how you feel about it) consumers are far more likely to buy from well known brands with whom they have a trusted history than from a company or website they’ve never heard of. It’s always been this way. We go with what we know.
The marketplace can be a confusing place, full of people and merchants competing for your attention and more than a few shysters, so we–the web surfing, data-consuming, online-shopping masses–have developed mechanisms for sniffing out the safest purchases and investments. And this comes down to the real heartbeat of any brand or successful website; TRUST. Or, more generally speaking, what you believe about the company.
Brand is the story you know about a thing.
The ideas you connect to it and believe to be true.
The companies and sellers that take advantage of this natural buyer psychology to preference known and respected brands in purchasing decisions will be the winners in the game of digital marketing and online sales. Google has been tweaking the mechanisms for giving preference to known and trusted brands in their search algorithm over lesser-known websites for years. It’s not to preference big corporations that pay the Search Giant a lot of money necessarily, but rather to preference websites that consumers have elected to purchase from more often and therefore are more likely to satisfy the searcher’s needs.
As the premier search giant of the world, Google is in the business of giving people what they’re searching for in the most relevant and personalized way. This means that if the search engine knows (from data) that you’re more likely to engage (buy from) a known brand like Amazon or Zappos, these sites are going to beat out the unknown newcomer with no trust factors in play. It’s giving you what it thinks you want by your associations across multiple brand interactions.
What does this mean for brands and businesses?
If you’re going to have a successful website in any niche that ranks for its core search terms, be it e-commerce or business promotion, you’re going to need to build a trustworthy brand that people come to know, recognize, and understand. You have to be recognizable on every platform and in every way you interact with the market. Businesses have to think of their online presence as a story that they’re telling the public (and believe me, the public is paying attention).
So how does a company go about branding?
Establish and Maintain a Consistent Visual Aesthetic
What we in the digital marketing industry lovingly call branding is a design process that sets down standards for color, imagery, tone, and messaging that we want people to associate with the given business or product.
Pepsi is not going to suddenly change their iconic red, white, and blue colors to orange and black tomorrow. It would discredit the brand they’ve worked so hard to build because everyone associates Pepsi with red, white, and blue. No one’s going to notice them in orange and black, it will completely throw you off. To go against that association would cause a disconnect with their customers. Pepsi relies on the fact that people already know a lot about their products and company based on all the ads, visuals, jingles, and other associations that have been built up in association with the brand over the years.
Mercedes doesn’t have to explain to you how sophisticated their engineering is or how high their manufacturing standards are because you’ve been soaking up that as a given all your life. Mercedes is known for quality and luxury because they’ve gone to great lengths in their visual storytelling to craft this association in your mind. It’s not the 30 second TV spot you saw during the Super Bowl that got you to buy the Mercedes, or anything the salesman said on the lot, it’s the thirty years of branding that you’ve been exposed to, teaching you over the years about the quality and status of owning a Mercedes. That’s what got you to make the purchase.
A brand is a way of teaching your audience what you want them to think and feel about you and your products. In order to establish a memorable brand, you have to make some strong decisions and stick to them in everything you do. Consistency and repetition will wear a groove in the public perception of your company like water gradually carving stone. This reputation you build will serve you and your business for years to come if executed well and carried out across all available channels in a skilled, consistent manner.
Questions about branding your business or
carrying out a branding campaign across social media and the larger web?