Every company needs a website, but the really successful sites are usually well branded.

  • What does that mean?
  • What are some guidelines to branding a site?
  • What tools are available to do so?
  • How do you tie it all together to create a successful branding of your company?

In this next series of posts, we’ll attempt to answer these questions and hope it will help you understand how a great online presence is essential to growing any business into a great brand.

What does it mean to brand?

It’s a common misperception that a logo or an identity is a brand. A logo is really more like a nametag for an organization or a product. It’s a graphic representation meant to convey the essence of a brand.

An identity is formed by the logo and its application, i.e. the elements used by the company such as stationary, signage, vehicle graphics, uniforms, etc. An identity system is a comprehensive plan for how the logo and all of the elements get used to create an experience of a brand.

By creating a well-designed identity system, we begin to create a visual voice for a company. But a brand is so much more than the visual.

Your brand is not what you say it is; it’s what everyone else says it is. So, it’s everything about you – your quality, service, value, as well as your integrity, your work ethic, authority, what you stand for – everything that can possibly contribute to the way your company is perceived.

Brands happen; great brands are created

The public will form their opinions whether you take the steps to define your brand or not. Creating a great brand requires you make the investments needed to develop a visual voice that is consistent with who you are. Define it, control it, shape your brand and then expose it. If you can differentiate your company, be relevant, and control the public’s experience, you’ll sell the company as a whole and not just your product or service.

The benefits reaped from branding are numerous. Here are just a few:

  • Helps you gain sales and market share through familiarity and trust
  • Results in future and current customers remembering your company name
  • Differentiates you and clarifies your position in the marketplace
  • Builds loyalty and enthusiasm
  • Allows you to charge a premium price
  • Aligns your visual identity and public perception with your vision, mission, strategic priorities, and internal culture
  • Creates expectation and communicates a promise of value

The best reasons to brand

The process of creating a brand requires you to examine who you are and why you do what you do. It is deeply introspective and yet requires that you look at the world around with new and unique perspectives. This can only be a healthy process.

Scott Bedbury expresses perhaps the best reason to brand in his book, A New Brand World. He wrote, “The challenge of being seen, heard, and remembered – not to mention desired and respected – amid the evolving chaos of change will not just test but will bring out the best in every one of us.”

So how do we brand a website?

By now it should be clear that when we talk about branding website, we mean much more than creating a logo and look. A branded website gives a clear picture of your company through the information that’s presented, the way it’s presented, and the user experience of the site.

A branded website gives your organization a great foundation for an online presence, a platform from which to communicate everything you do, everything you stand for. It’s the place where you can tell your story and engage your customers. The process of developing and creating your branded website can be the best thing you do for your business.

So how do we brand a website? What are some guidelines we can follow to brand it well? Join us next time as we discuss these questions in “Guidelines to Follow for a Branded Website”.