It’s a competitive world out there, and it’s getting harder and harder to stand out. This challenging landscape makes website branding essential for any business, even solopreneurs. Today’s consumers are savvy, knowledgeable and armed with mobile devices. They do their research and they demand more from businesses than ever before.
Blis, a mobile-location data company, conducted a consumer survey this spring that disclosed some interesting stats and insights on consumer relationships with brands. Of important note is the revelation that brand loyalty is growing. 52% percent of the respondents expressed greater brand loyalty today than they felt half a decade ago. This highlights the need for your business to both create a brand and work to encourage loyalty to your products or services through your branding efforts. But how do you accomplish that? Start by learning what’s involved in today’s branding strategies.
How Branding Has Evolved
Brand marketing used to be fairly simple. It was largely visual and typically tied closely to a company’s products. Businesses developed names, colors and designs that identified their company’s goods. They used branding with logos and trademarks to focus on developing name recognition and brand identity to encourage consumers to buy their products instead of their competitors’ goods.
The main goal in branding then was to establish product superiority in the minds of the consumer and link this opinion to their brand, so that consumers saw your name, design and colors in stores and purchased the item based on brand identity. Back then, consumers had their favorite toothpaste, soda, laundry detergent and peanut butter, and those were the brands they bought when they shopped. Consider Kleenex and Q-tips. Their branding and trademark efforts were so successful, that consumers began using the brand name in place of the products they represented. And they were no longer called tissue or cotton swabs!
By the 1980s, branding was going through an evolution. It began incorporating more intangible properties, like feelings, motivations and a sense of community. “Just Do It” by Nike demonstrates this change well. The California Raisins Advisory Board used this approach with their famous musical raisins ad spot, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” E&J Gallo Winery hyped their Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers by appealing to “plain folks.” It was no longer enough to simply market a product, companies had to offer consumers an experience as well.
This evolution has continued on an upward trajectory, and today’s branding efforts must incorporate identity, values, messaging, consumer interests, economy, ecology, relationships, storytelling and several other criteria. Your brand has to identify far more than just your products or services. It must reveal who you are, what you believe in and stand for, and how you share your values and company culture with your community.
Website Branding Integration
With the ubiquitous use of the internet comes the need to share your brand identity online via your website. This is your calling card, and most often the first interaction a consumer has with your company. A successful brand doesn’t just convert leads to customers – it establishes a personal connection with your visitors and communicates a value your customers prioritize. Mix this with excellent customer service and you are well on your way to securing loads of loyal customers.
When you build and design your website, branding should be an integral part of the process — from the planning stages through content creation and your marketing efforts. Everything about your site needs to reflect who you are, what you stand for and why you inspire customer loyalty. Making branding a part of your web design ensures consistency, which supports authenticity. This approach also extends to integrated tools for engagement, such as your social media accounts, blogs and vlogs. It is important to be consistent and promote a cohesive brand identity across all platforms.
Establishing your company’s brand identity can be challenging, but integrating branding with your website is an essential step that can make a huge difference in your efforts.