If you want to make a success out of your website, it is essential that your brand message is consistent. There is a difference between your brand identity (how you see yourself) and your brand perception (how others see you). If you want to pursue a successful brand strategy, you need to make the gap between brand identity and brand perception as small as possible. One way to do this is to ensure your online brand is consistent.
What does your online brand include?
Your online brand includes everything within your website, and very often everything associated with you. You need to ensure that the following aspects of your site reflect the attributes you wish to convey:
- Your logo
- Your colour scheme
- Your writing style and personality
- The personality of your community
Let’s say that you are running a website based around insurance. The chances are, you will want to be aiming for a brand message that is professional, serious and trustworthy. In this case, you don’t want a cartoon-like or amateur logo. You don’t want to use ‘childish’ colours. You’ll want to adopt a serious writing style, and ensure that you come across as someone that knows what they are talking about.
Online communities influence the perception of your brand
You should have complete control over your site’s design; this enables you to offer a consistent brand message to your visitors. If your site involves a community element, you need to be aware that you will have less control over this area of your site. If you fail to pay attention to your online community, it could negatively affect the perception people have of your brand.
Having an excellent site design and excellent content won’t be enough if your online community is full of bickering and negativity. Similarly, some may doubt your claim to be a popular site and a trusted resource if your community is void of active members. Never add a community element to your website as an afterthought.
You influence the perception of your brand
Even if you have a fantastic community that complements the rest of your site, you need to be aware of the fact that your behaviour and actions away from your site can also influence the perception of your brand. If you claim to be an authority on a subject but are seen asking basic questions on a topic you claim to be an expert on, people may feel that you can’t be trusted. If you claim to have a firm view or opinion about something but are seen contradicting this claim elsewhere, you risk doing immense damage to your site’s (and your own) brand.
Remember – you are often perceived as a brand, just as much as your website is. Everywhere you go you need to ensure you maintain this image. Stay truthful to yourself, and this shouldn’t be too difficult.
Do you pay attention to the messages you conveying whilst both on your site and away from it? Do you strive to keep a consistent brand image? How do you ensure your online brand remains consistent? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.