Category : Branding

webdesign_header

On Good Websites

In today’s digital age, your customers are expecting a website, for branding’s sake!  (pun intended).  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again:  a website can make or break your brand.

So, what makes a good website?

Funny you ask—we were just getting to that.  Of course, what makes a website great depends partly on what it will be used for.  A school’s site, a personal webpage or blog, an e-commerce site — the quality is defined by different characteristics.  Below you’ll find a little insight from some of Strategis’ marketing and media mavericks on what they think makes a worthy website, regardless of the purpose it serves:

 

1)    Strategy

Design, meet Content.  Content, meet Design.  Marrying aesthetically pleasing, yet functional design to engaginstrategyg content rife with the appropriate copywriting is no task for the lighthearted, but as our graphic designer, Randi, put it: “content informs design.”   A good website knows that and isn’t afraid to shout it from the rooftop.  Consider implementing this content-before-design strategy for all of your online marketing efforts.

 

2)    Usability

Remember, you’re not creating a website for you, but for your audience.  You might have thought that a scrolling feature would keep all the important information on one page, you might have thought that that snappy video was absolutely necessary, and you might not mind stretching your fingers over your smartphone screen in order to read the text clearly.

dilbert comic strip - usability

However, I’m with Creative Director, Juli, when she says “usability comes before design.”  We love sites that are easy-to-read, easy-to-navigate, and easy-to-understand.

 

3)    Personality

We know – there are some really well-designed and inspirational websites out there; but, we’re more interested in what your site says about your brand.  uniqueMaybe you prefer light colors and straight lines, or maybe you want vibrant patterns or interesting fonts.  Clean and simple does not have to be boring, nor does colorful and patterned have to be cluttered.   Account Manager, Lindsay, stresses that “your website should tell your story,” and most importantly, “your website should be cohesive with your brand.” From the get-go, a well-designed website is more than a mere appendage of your brand, it is your brand.

4)    Purpose

Has anyone ever told you to stick to the point? Well, we’ll try saying it in a nicer way:

Your website ultimately serves a lot of functions from product or service information, questions and answers, and creative portfolio, to enrollment, transactions, and contact information…the list is long, however, while a website shouldn’t be ambiguous, Randi also suggests that a website shouldn’t have frivolous information, either.  If you want them to purchase something, provide a checkout page.  If you want them to learn more, give them thorough product descriptions.  If you’re aiming for brand awareness, consider including an RSS feed or links to your social media accounts.  Establish your purpose and make sure that your content and design support it.

 

5)    Functionality

Design?                  green-check-mark                                Usability?                 green-check-mark

Content?              green-check-mark                                   Personality?          green-check-mark

Now, did you double check those links?  Are all forms error-free?  Have any facts or statistics changed over time?  Have you tested the site on other browsers?  Does everything function? Our advice: stay fresh to keep frustration to a minimum.

There will never be a “perfect” website.  There will be, however, well-designed and well-built websites that combine visuals, functionality, usability and act as a great support system for your business.  For some more insights on web design and development, marketing, success, or maverick/ninja tactics, find us here!

Mobile Marketing

2014: The Year of Mobile

Seeing how the mobile explosion will affect your marketing campaign and your business is not simply a matter of building a mobile-friendly website.  Rather, it is a question of understanding how this shift towards mobile communications ultimately affects every corner of business, marketing and consumption.   Marshall McLuhan once suggested that “the medium is the message,” that the characteristics of the medium used are just as important as the content delivered by the media.  When taking the characteristics of mobile devices—cell phones, tablets and the like—into consideration, we are faced with questions of “who?” “how?” and “where?”

cell phone marketingImagine a young twenty-something year old commuting to work in the morning.  She reads her e-mail while waiting for a coffee at Starbucks, which prompts her to click on a link indicating a sale for winter coats.  Her coffee comes; she stuffs her cell phone in her pocket and heads to work. During her lunch break, she logs on to her e-mail on her desktop computer where she then revisits the winter coat sale.  She clicks around, maybe even “favorites” a few items and logs off.  Later that night she logs back onto the site on her tablet, shares the link with her friend for approval and purchases a winter coat.

Thanks to mobile-optimized websites and responsive design, consumers are able to enjoy the convenience of their mobile devices without feeling hindered.  To the extent that an integrated marketing campaign aims to be consistent across all platforms, a mobile strategy as part of this plan should without a doubt be considered.  Both responsive design and mobile applications are ways to boost e-commerce for small businesses by allowing consumers to move seamlessly between devices and match and meet conversion goals.

local search by device

The growth of mobile users also has significant implications for search engines and local search results.  While on the go, the likelihood that a search inquiry for a local service or business will be on a smart phone or a tablet is high. Local businesses, small or not, looking for ways to incorporate an SEO strategy or a pay-per-click campaign into their marketing plan should undoubtedly infuse their ads with local name-dropping and data.

Unlike my father, who refers to Internet Explorer as the “internet folder” on his “screensaver”, Millennials—the generation of people born between the 1980s and early 2000s and on the verge of ruling the world—use mobiles to do more than search.  For Millennials, mobile platforms are a source of social interaction, a way to engage brands and boost sales.

MTV millennials

The growing popularity of mobile applications such as SnapChat and Instagram imply that image-based mobile experiences are thriving.  Pay attention to the way this consumer demographic behaves, for it will provide a light into the way images, words and products are shared, perceived and used.

Lastly, less is more.

“Excuse me?” you must be thinking, “they’re talking Integrated marketing plans, responsive designs, interactive mobile applications, local search content and mobile optimized and trying to tell me that less is more?”

We sure are.  Life is chaotic – why clutter it any more with flashy design and hard-to-use and inconsistent features?  Consumers are much more likely to return to a website, blog or even a store when the experience was positive.  Distracting visuals and over-wordy copy has no place on a mobile site and is more likely to leave a consumer frustrated.  Mobile optimization should offer easy to read and even easier to use experience that is only enhanced by a simple design.

Your mobile optimization speaks about your brand – if you don’t provide mobile access/support/optimization, what does it say about your brand?  If you are interested in mobile marketing and optimization services, contact Strategis today!

BP-branding

Important Steps When Rebranding a Company:

Whether it’s because you made mistakes in your previous business, sales are low, or your market has shifted, it’s important to know the steps it takes to rebrand a company. You may not know what rebranding entails, but GUESS WHAT?! You will! So, without further ado, here are the important steps you should be aware of!

1. Be Ready For Change: Rebranding a business requires you to shift your way of thinking, meaning a clean break. You need to be open to adjusting the way you currently do business. After all, if you are only making subtle changes that aren’t apparent, then what’s the point of rebranding? Exactly, there is none.

2.Determine Who You Want To Be: Be clear about the problem you are trying to solve, so you can take the steps to figure out who you want to be. Why doesn’t your current brand fit who you are? What is the purpose of the business, and what are the goals? How do you want customers, staff and the industry to feel when they see your brand? How do you think you are perceived in the market place, and how do you want to be perceived? These are important questions you will need to answer.

3. Talk to People: You will need to ask your customers, employees, business partners and industry experts their opinion about your current company—it’s products, services, and brand. You will need to find out what they like and don’t like.

research-competitior4. Research Competition: First, you will obviously need to know who your competitors are. Ask yourself, “How do we want to be seen when compared to them”? What do you like about their brand? You will need to figure out what makes you STAND OUT from your competition. You will need to do both quantitative and qualitative research. Find out who your customers are based on age, location and gender. Rethink your customer base. It’s important to understand your market!

5. Create an Action Plan: Write down what is currently wrong with your business, how you want to fix it, and the timeline for implementing all these changes. Identify your niche in your market place. Identify who is going to manage this process. MAKE SURE YOU COMMUNICATE! Get employees to contribute because the new brand is going to touch everyone in the company. Be realistic with costs, and if you don’t have the resources DO NOT do it yet!

6. Inventory List: Make an inventory list of all the things you will need to update and change as your rebrand. You will need to change your logo, business cards, letter head, maybe your e-mail address and URL (if you do a name change), your website, and social media pages.

7. LAUNCH Your New Brand: You will need to set a date for an external launch. It is important to launch the rebranding internally first. Plan a “roll out” for all the items on your inventory list. Announce the rebrand with a Press Release and through social media for your customers, prospects, and local and industry news.

It’s safe to say, rebranding requires a lot of time, effort and resources, but it is sometimes necessary. Take your time, do it right and hopefully you have a good outcome!

References:
http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/11/how-to-rebrand-your-business_pagen_2.html
http://www.fastcompany.com/1771299/rebranding-101
http://blog.studiothink.com/2013/03/how-to-brand-your-business-5-steps-to-rebranding/