Branding pioneer Walter Lander once said, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in mind.” In a world where thousands of wantrepreneurs or entrepreneurs are trying to make a difference with their innovations, building a brand and sustaining it is no mean feat.
7 Essentials That Can Keep Your Website on Brand
Regardless of whether you sell pet accessories, run a content marketing agency, or author the next big design manuscript, you’ve to make sure to stand out from the crowd. And yet, that’s not the end to it. Once you create a brand, you’ve to figure out how to sustain it. A perfect example of this would be what the Beatles did with their brand.
During the 1960s, the band worked harder than most other brands but did not really taste success overnight. And by the time the band hit big, they had already played 270 nights, with some of them extending up to eight hours at a stretch. Once they were big, they were quick to transform themselves with changing times. From pop superstars, they went on to become psychedelic superstars in 1967 with their album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band”.
You get the gist. Right? Let’s now talk about the essentials that can keep your website on brand.
Keep Your Website On Brand – Focus on Your Target Audience
In the process of building your brand, the most important element is your target user. Irrespective of whether you create a phenomenal product, if it is of no use for your end-user, it marks the doom’s day for your brand. Make sure you reach out to your target groups and understand their pain points. Try and understand their passions, what drives them in their day-to-day lives, what their life goals are, and what their decision-making process looks like. Basically, whatever you need to figure about their lives and have a heart-to-heart conversation with them.
Once again, think of the Beatles here. They understood their teenage audience’s preferences, their passion for romance, and their inclination towards rebellion, and these are just two of the many elements.
Work on Your Unique Selling Proposition
How are you different from others? Or how can you make yourself or your brand different from others? These questions will help you create the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your brand. Irrespective of whether you’re a brand or an individual, you have something unique to offer to the world that no one else does. You need to cash in on that.
Many times clients fail to understand the fact that all businesses are different. They have different values to offer. So they cannot simply stick with this fact, “If this successful strategy works for XYZ brand, why will it not work for me?”
The answer to that “why” is in their USP. In fact, the brands should focus on making any strategy work in their favor by using their USP.
Keep Your Website On Brand – Share Your Core Values
What comes to your mind when you think of Apple? Or, for that matter, American Express or Coca-Cola. While the first brand shares its passion for innovation and excellence, American Express promotes its “user commitment value.” Coca-Cola, on the other hand, preaches and promotes diversity as its core value.
Now think of brands like Enron, WorldCom, FlowTex, and the likes. These brands are known for their infamous scandals involving financial frauds worth billions. Some of their directors and executives fraudulently concealed large debts and losses, while others used unfair means to push up the stock prices.
It takes ages to build the perception about a brand and even more if it is a bigger organization. Due to some of the employees’ wrongdoing or the owners, the brand is tagged as a permanent failure. The point here is if you’re able to build a brand and share the core values with your users, and if the users can relate to your core values, you’ll be able to build a larger fanbase in no time at all.
Discover the Unique Personality of Your Brand
When you create the USP for your brand and highlight your core values, the real personality surfaces, and let’s face it! Every brand has a unique personality. When you see Apple, you think of it as a tech-forward brand. Similarly, when you think of Amazon, it is known for its “customer obsession.”
Now until it’s a personal venture, it’s just a single voice or personality. As the brand evolves, multiple personalities get mixed. If not carefully considered, your brand personality may appear to be bipolar, which is definitely not a very good situation to be in.
While trying to promote your brand to a larger audience, make sure everyone involved understands your brand’s personality and carries the same message to the world. Whether it is the sales team or marketing, technology team, or the CEO, everyone should present the brand’s personality in the same way.
Ensure Consistency Across All Channels
Consistency is the key when you are working towards building and sustaining your brand. You can’t afford to have a different brand message template on varied social channels to communicate on behalf of the same brand. Not just the social media, it even applies to your blogs, email responses, PR campaigns, newsletters, as well as conversations you have with everyone regularly.
For example, Walmart offers a comprehensive branding guide on how the brand can be leveraged to promote its merchandise. Understandably, you may not have the reach of Walmart or Apple, and your branding guide need not be as exhaustive as theirs. A simple branding guideline also helps deliver a consistent message from the brand.
The other factor that works in ensuring consistency for your brand is the promises you make and if you’re able to stick to them. Steve Jobs was determined to change the world of personal computing. That was a promise he made, and he stuck to it. People relate that with the authenticity of the brand. Jobs didn’t just stop building one iPhone, and the consecutive and consistent efforts got them results. The team ensured that every new version has something different and better to offer.
Pro tip: If you’re looking forward to craft a perfect brand message for your organization, then consider the following quiz.
Talk about Endless Value Offering
This is a challenge faced by many brands, especially those that hit big within a short span. You can call it anything “me-talk,” “it’s-only-me-that-matters,” “my brand and me,” etc. This is irritating, to say the least. Agreed, it did work in favor of a few, but more often than not, the potential customers or the would-be fans of the brand are discouraged by these kinds of talks. It dilutes the value that the brand has to offer and limits the potential of further reach.
Typically you will see this happen more with many smaller businesses (read not all) because they intend to look at their biggest rival and kind of imitate what they do. The point we’re trying to make is if you’re able to focus beyond these talks and work on the value that you intend to create with your product, that, of course, is a win-win situation for everyone. The brands that can garner a strong brand identity and succeed are the ones that focus on their future and can communicate that rather than just boasting about their past.
Evolve with Changing Times
You’ve defined your brand, but how would you evolve your brand with changing times? It’s not always about knowing when to evolve your brand but the correct way of going about it. The first step in this direction will be to look out for the right opportunity. Determine what aspects you want to focus on and change and then reexamine your business, people, and culture.
As much as people like familiarity, they also like something new and shiny. How will you merge them without trying to dilute what you’ve built in the past? Once you’ve changed the face of the brand, the real test is to measure the impact. Are your offerings still relevant? What are you doing to ensure they are still able to meet your target users. And like always, remember, “what you did yesterday won’t guarantee tomorrow’s success.”
Keep Your Website On Brand – Concluding Thoughts
When people think of the iPhone, they think of Apple. That’s the brand value it has created for itself. Remember, when people have plenty of options to choose from, they become all the pickier about their choice. There could be a hundred self-development books out there or a hundred drinks from the cafe menu to choose from.
Your primary focus should be to create a brand that is the only option/choice. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes loads of practice, time, and dedication. These are some of the lessons that have worked for some top-notch brands, and there is no good reason why it shouldn’t work for you.
Share in the Comments section below if you’ve tried any of these tips while keeping your website on brand or a completely different strategy that worked in your favor.