The first thing that springs to mind when we think of branding is likely the large; cultivated brand imagery such as Apple.
The reality is that branding is borne out of any identifying features. And is used to create a persistent identity for products and firms. Wikipedia describes it as ‘the most valuable fixed asset of a Corporation. Firms like Apple, which capitalize on branding so effectively; understand the importance of a successful brand. They have built their fortunes on their incredibly consistent styling. Despite this being the result of billions of dollars of research and advertising; branding arises with or without intervention, with your customers having opinions on your business.
A branding platform, often known as corporate image; is the umbrella term for the number of tools you have to improve your branding. So what are these tools?
Your name is the biggest identifying factor of your brand. It embodies those emotions the user feels about your site or product. When the iPhone is mentioned; Apple’s customers understand that name to mean sleek, beautiful, intuitive; a number of very positive reactions that Apple have carefully nurtured over the years.
This follows from a successful Positioning Statement, looking at how relevant your site is. Does it appeal to the right market segments? Does it achieve your primary focus and follow your values? Is it contextually relevant? is your site up to date and consistent with current browsers and web development advances? Once all these questions are answered or resolved; you can move onto the more complex area of your brand. The ones the users are going to see.
This is the overall feel of the visual representation that your users will see. It’s important to keep this consistent across all branding to promote a cohesive brand that your users will recognize.
With Apple, this style has evolved into very simple materials and block colors for its products; such as glass and aluminum. The website reflects this through the use of white space and elegant fonts. Their minimalist attitude leaks into their short taglines; Their brand has become known for what is essentially negative styling. Cutting back everything to make for a more elegant product.
They have previously experimented with reducing the color-palette available for their products; and on many products this philosophy still stands. But the brand transcends color now in order to allow for a brighter palette for their iPod products. The natural progression of style is having a consistent graphical standard; your logo, fonts, color palette should all reflect your positioning statement.
This is the visual representation of your business, your site. After your name, the next biggest identifying factor for your brand is your logo. It should be styled to represent your positioning statement, and is important as an at-a-glance reference point to put on anything your site is associated with, and for links.
Finally, the tool that combines all of the above into one online space, your website. This is a vital part of the branding platform, and it’s important to understand that your website isn’t a just medium for your branding platform, it’s part of your branding. Website branding, for instance, extends beyond having your logo on an unbranded template site.
Companies like Apple understand that the website is an extension of their branding in the way they style it and sell their products on their site, whereas many frankly antiquated and out of date firms still believe that a website is somewhere to dump details and directions under their logo and leave it there, conducting all of their business and branding the old fashioned way, through the storefront and advertising on hoardings.
HOW DOES THE WEBSITE STRENGTHEN THIS?
As we outlined above, a corporate website is the sum total of their branding platform, an accumulation of all the aspects that have come together in various ways previously in an easy to access format. So let’s look back at the branding platform and see how each aspect is enhanced by the addition of an online presence:
There’s a reason that good SEO is so valuable online, your name, or perhaps your web address, needs to be either at the forefront of users thinking about using your service, or to be at the top of the list when they search for the sort of thing you’re offering.
Having a good online presence means you don’t need to be number one on Google. Users will just type in your address straight away, however this isn’t guaranteed and the two need to go hand in hand; having a short, easy to remember URL is as essential as being the first site to come up in a search engine. Having a name outside of the online world is no guarantee of safety against online competitors, this is evidenced by the online boom in book sales and the subsequent redundancy of large-chain bookstores around the world.
While Waterstones in the UK is floundering, having adapted and joined the online space too late, its business being poached by Amazon, a site which would not have been considered a threat ten years ago to Waterstones is now likely the reason for its impending closure. Barnes and Noble in the US, by comparison, expanded online very early and made a name for itself as an internet store, meaning it has survived the threat of other online booksellers.
Having a consistent look across all forms of branding is important. Having your site reflect the design of your all other media; which should in turn stem from the positioning statement is important. Having solidarity between your demographic’s style; i.e. primary colors and basic shapes for a kid’s site, or perhaps minimalism and white space for a modern web design firm, your logo which should also reflect that, and combining that into your site proper is important in maintaining a cohesive brand.
This is especially important for older corporate brands that are expanding online. As they may have outdated, lower res logos that won’t work online. Online logos need to be recognizable and very portable; which means having an icon. An icon, such as the Twitter ‘bird’ or the Facebook ‘F’ is important for quick brand recognition. Also for favicons, which are useful to identify the site in bookmarks and tabs; what’s becoming more important is larger res favicons that are used as thumbnails on mobile devices; where users bookmark your site on their phone. Icons are essentially condensed versions of your larger logo. They are more commonly used online where screen real-estate is hotly contested.
The final point that the logo leads nicely onto is social media. This is of huge advantage to sites looking to raise brand awareness. It gives users easy access to share your content from your site. Enabling you to break down the barriers through a Facebook page, or Twitter account. Something many sites and firms are beginning to open are Twitter support accounts for users; in order to tweet their complaints to for quick troubleshooting or reference links.
A brand is how you choose to present your identity to your customers. A website on the other hand helps you display that choice and personality of the brand. It can get pretty sophisticated setting up the desired identity or brand; however, we at Adweb Studio promise to minimize the pressure for you. As we strive to treat your brand just as one of ours. Hope this blog has brought to you something new and something to work on. Goodluck!
For any queries regarding branding and website development for your brand, don’t hesitate to contact us on email@example.com