When you walk into a restaurant, what do you feel? Maybe the atmosphere sticks out to you. Perhaps the specific music they use creates this feeling of comfortable nostalgia, or the consistent smell of a particular food keeps you coming back.
The thing is, that feeling is exactly their goal. Businesses will often tailor themselves to stick in your head when you smell a certain fragrance or see a certain color by using carefully measured branding techniques.
In an exponentially growing environment with more than 1.8 million online retailers in the U.S., this tactic applies to websites now more than ever, but it’s a bit more complicated even though it’s rooted in the same logic.
Notably, understanding what makes your business unique and applying it to the most noticeable aspect of your business is crucial. It allows you to create a brand identity around your unique aspects to market your brand. Not only that, but in an increasingly competitive market you’ll need to collect and use data to your advantage in order to expand your brand.
We know it's a lot to take in. However, there’s a few key elements that we should shed some more light on while moving forward:
Let's start with the basics: Your brand itself.
There’s a few things to look for when evaluating your brand. Take a closer look at your logo. When doing an evaluation, start by checking your spacing. Read your logo slowly from right to left to force your eyes to concentrate on the inconsistencies.
Now, sit a bit farther than usual from your computer or phone and note any asymmetry. While checking for any inconsistencies, note how legible your logo is from a distance. If you can’t read it clearly, perhaps you have too many elements to your logo structure itself.
Remember, less is more when it comes to a logo. A readable, on-the-nose, font with a distinct subheadline goes a long way in showing off what your brand is capable of.
To go a step further, what makes your brand unique is much more than just a logo. It's how people perceive you and your business. So, ultimately, brand strategy is less of how you actually look, and more about how you influence your customers to think about your brand.
For example, let’s look at a company like Starbucks. When you see their logo, you immediately know exactly who it’s representing. The twin-tailed siren design accented by their iconic cadmium green color scheme is echoed through every design they use, from their uniforms, to their cups to reinforce the idea that the color scheme is one of their most recognizable traits.
Now flash back to your website –what makes you stand out? What shows that your brand is yours?
Circling back to the theoretical restaurant, nobody forces you to think "the food is good" when you walk in. Instead, the aroma, presentation, atmosphere, and service persuade you to think that way.
The entire process is like solving a Rubik’s Cube. Every step leads to another. Your logo, copy, imagery, colors, and even your core values come together to solve who you are as a brand.
They're your consistent answers to questions like:
Within these questions is a consistent, passionate answer showing off to the world why you care and why others should too. It's the basis for your brand personality.
How would you show off your brand’s personality to the outside world? The same way you would when walking down the street. The language you use, the way you dress, and even your demeanor can influence what people think about you. This idea applies to your brand personality, as it's an extension of who you are. You can consistently paint a bit more of that image of who you are from the copy you write to the images you use to even the colors you choose.
Consistency Is Key
Think of it like this: You’re donating money to a charity, and you have a choice between two different organizations.
The first one always publicly sends their money one way, and all their volunteers dress in the same vivid yellow vests, though the second organization won’t tell you where they’re sending their money, and everyone affiliated with them is indistinguishable as a member of that organization.
Which would you rather donate to?
This difference in presentation is like night and day between the two, and this also applies to your website. Your iconic colors, signature style, or even smooth transitions and in-brand copy make a world of difference in painting your self image.
Sit back and think, “Why is creating a brand identity effective website design?”
Consider it from the inside. When your brand is strong enough, your company becomes a mission statement. Things become streamlined when everyone knows what the person at the top is thinking.
Take a look at Southwest Airlines. They confidently present themselves as the low fare airline. That single mission statement is the driving force behind nearly every decision they make, funneling ideas to reflect that they will remain the low fare airline. As a result, their customers know what to expect, and so does the rest of the company.
So, let's spread that thought process a little farther to your customer base. When your customers see a brand rich in personality, they'll know what to expect from an accessible, recognizable service.
You ultimately don't want to become another company in a concrete jungle where even the slightest disconnect with your customer base can potentially lose you millions. Have a mission. Have a plan.
Take a look at a well known design flop: The Tropicana redesign. Initially recognizable and universally understood, their packaging was exchanged for a more simple and sleek design to pursue change. Unfortunately, this single decision confused their loyal customers. The new design lacked the previously identifiable features, such as the orange with a straw image, and went unnoticed on shelves as customers weren’t familiar with the new packaging. This decision resulted in a $20 million loss for the month the updated design was in stores, estimated to be a 20% loss in sales overall.
However, the Tropicana redesign doesn’t mean that you should avoid all change. Your change just needs direction. Much like how Herbal Essences completely redesigned their packaging to narrow their target market. They understood what stores sold their product, why customers bought it, and who was buying it, resulting in a $33 million increase in sales.
The main difference between Tropicana and Herbal Essences is their approach to brand strategy. Namely, Tropicana removed their advantage over competitors by changing their brand too much at one time. The emotional attachment customers had with their previous logo was lost, causing the packaging to blend in with the products around it. Herbal Essences did the opposite and made an informed decision to change to a bold and approachable brand aimed at a younger target market, creating that emotional attachment to become immediately recognizable on store shelves.
If you’re concerned about change, we at CreateApe can help.
Try looking at one of our case studies to see how we analyze brand strategies in your business.
What We Do Differently
We can do four things for you to make a difference:
By using a more UX approach to design, everything we do is research-based. Our UX consultants will take a look at your data and, more importantly, your competitors to strike up a comparison to see where their strengths and weaknesses are, so we can accurately put your brand in a spot your competition isn’t covering in order to set you up for success.
It’s a jungle out there, but we’re on your side. With our full-service branding team, you’ll have all the tools to succeed. Website designers to double down on brand strategy, UX designers for UX/UI evaluations, videographers for content, copywriters to polish your site – you name it. We all want you to succeed in your website branding process, it just takes one step to get the ball rolling.
Contact us for a website branding evaluation!