Is your online brand consistent?

by Martin Reed on 10 June 2008 in Articles

Online branding consistency

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.

Your thoughts

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.

Share this community building advice

14 comments

Similar Posts

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 12 comments }

Amish Made Furniture June 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm

The points that you make are very valid for a community site. My submission is that the same applies to all walks of life. Even in normal day to day relationships, your very existence depends on your brand image. This may sound brutal, but sadly, that is what all relationships have now become. Extremely value based on impressions of appearance and behavior.

Yogesh Sarkar June 11, 2008 at 8:35 pm

Martin you are absoluetly right, maintaining a consistent image of your brand helps to make a lasting impression in people’s mind.

Nicole Price June 14, 2008 at 3:51 am

LOL! I liked the picture, a Colgate (?) tube with Coca Cola written on it!

Yes consistency is very important; in fact i am the sort of person who is unsettled by even a major revamping of a logo of a product that i use regularly. I find comfort in familiarity in a lot of things.

Mr Woc June 14, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Hi there

Some interesting points there, especially the perception of your brand section, I think its important to listen to the people within your community, but you have to be able to filter out the garbage, and as you say ” Stay truthful to yourself ”

Woc

Vincent June 16, 2008 at 9:31 am

Haha Love the tube of Coca Cola toothpaste.It’s spot on with the rest of the post too.

Amazing…

Anywho, I try to think of myself as a brand at my workplace. It’s a 2500 person place so your name gets out and about. It’s always important that what gets out is what you want to advertise about yourself.

Vincent

Chat June 24, 2008 at 12:54 am

I know that branding is an important part for any sort of “business” but I never really spent too much time on branding. I have changed my layout, color scheme and logo many times since I have started my online community. I still don’t know if I found the brand that I want to stick with. I think for newer communities it is hard to stick with a certain brand as usually things are very unstable off the start.

Martin Reed - Blog Author June 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Ramana – You make a good point. In a way, we are all walking brands – our personalities are our brands, and we need to maintain a consistent image if we are to be trusted.

Yogesh – Thanks, I’m glad you agree!

Nicole – Yeah, I thought it was quite an apt image!

Mr Woc – Yes, it is important to listen to people within your community. Perhaps the most important thing though, is to be truthful to yourself – you’ll find it much easier to maintain a consistent image.

Vincent – You give a good example of why it is important to always consider yourself as a brand; we are always selling and promoting ourselves and it is important to ensure our brand is consistent.

Cody – Why not ask your members what they think of your current layout, design and logo? It’s a good idea to find a design and logo then stick with them for a while in order to strengthen your brand. However, at the same time your community will have its own brand in terms of its personality – brands aren’t just visual.

TigerTom June 28, 2008 at 6:20 pm

1. Logo
2. Colour scheme
3. Simple design

Even having your own favicon.ico in your main web folder is important, as that’s what’ll come up in bookmarks.

MSN Nickleri July 2, 2008 at 6:25 pm

I know that branding is an important part for any sort of “business” but I never really spent too much time on branding. I have changed my layout, color scheme and logo many times since I have started my online community. I still don’t know if I found the brand that I want to stick with. I think for newer communities it is hard to stick with a certain brand as usually things are very unstable off the start.

Martin Reed - Blog Author July 17, 2008 at 1:30 am

TigerTom – I think having a favicon consistent with the rest of your branding is a nice touch, and is something I have on this blog.

Nickleri – The more often you change your site design, the more confusing you make your site for visitors. Spend time choosing a layout, colour scheme and logo and stick with them, at least for the short term. At the moment, you are not doing yourself any favours!

Emma April 5, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Great post – too often, I have seen examples of poor planning when it comes to brand consistency. It’s not just a case of using different logos or gravators or tone across various spectrums, it’s also a lack of common sense. As an example, just the other day I clicked on a Lawer Blogger’s Facebook banner, and was greeted by a gallery of pics showing him drinking from a beer funnel. A sure case of a BrandFail.

Christina March 19, 2010 at 6:53 pm

It’s important to stick with your logo,color pattern and layout. The brands we all have to come to know have done just that. People will get thrown off by any changes and eventually start questioning the stability of the website if there is constant change.

{ 2 trackbacks }