Brand identity is one of the most important aspects of any website. So, here are a few key practices to help ensure your website properly reflects your brand.
Your website isn’t just an online brochure, it’s a digital representation of your entire brand identity. For the majority of visitors, it’ll give them their first real impression of who you are, what you do and how you do it. And it’s not just customers; anyone from potential employers to industry rivals could be getting a glimpse of your digital flagship.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that brand identity plays such a vital role in an effective website. If visitors can’t see the bigger picture, then why would they want to work with you? Invest their talents in working for you? Or, in the case of a few trailing competitors, envy you?
While it’s important to have a website that’s visually pleasing, it’s just as important that it accurately reflects your organisation in ways that are unique and fully representative of your brand.
If you’re not quite sure how to accomplish this, don’t worry. We’ve put together a few best practices that every website should follow when incorporating brand identity.
Being consistent: on and off-line
First of all, it’s imperative that your website aligns well with your pre-existing branding. This is the foundation of any successful website – creating a consistent message across all forms of media.
Your website is one of many touchpoints that prospective customers can come across before deciding to work with you. As such, it should present the same look and feel that they’d expect from an in person meeting, email or advertisement. This is particularly important for brick-and-mortar shops and businesses that rely on in-person connections as much digital ones. If everything is consistent in tonal, visual and messaging aspects, then it will not only reinforce your brand, but it’ll also instil trust.
This is often referred to as ‘bridging the offline / online gap’. One example of a website that does this effectively is Lacoste. If you’ve ever stepped into one of their retail stores, you’ll quickly see how closely they’ve stuck to the exact same aesthetic, providing online shoppers with a coherent experience across platforms.
How about an example that’s geared more towards driving customers in-store? Asian restaurant chain Wagamama’s website perfectly encapsulates the spirit of its food with its combination of high-end photography, clean design and deliberate use of colour and white space.
Want an easy way to quickly sabotage your website? Throw in a bunch of off-brand images! Think we’re being a little dramatic? Maybe, but it’s still a bad thing!
When it comes to photography, graphics or illustrations, they should always be used to reinforce your brand identity, and NEVER be used for ‘filling space’. Stock photos can feel dishonest, or even lazy, and graphics can seem glaringly out of place if they aren’t in keeping with the rest of your brand.
Many brands have built up familiarity around the way they use imagery. Mail Chimp is remembered for its use of quirky, hand-drawn illustrations, which feature prominently on the company’s website and across their other marketing channels. The result is an immediately recognisable website that also stands out from the crowd, in an intentional manner.
It’s not what you said…
Brand identity isn’t always front of mind when considering a website’s copy — often the focus is more commercial or technical instead. But your tone of voice and language are just as important as any other part of your brand.
What you say and how you say it can engage different people on different levels, but it all needs to match up with who you and your customers are. Apple have set a great example of how to use words in a way that exemplifies the products they sell and services they provide. Using clever, creative and simple messaging, they draw in their target market using enticing tone and style. Rather like a premium smartphone made of steel and glass.