When it comes to growing your business, a strong brand is everything.
Some businesses don’t focus much on branding. It’s difficult to determine how well branding efforts pay off in numbers. For instance, if you run an ad that costs $100 and generates $500 in income, you see exactly how your ROI breaks down.
With a great graphic on a web site or strong content on the other hand, well, it’s a little harder to determine exactly how much money that brings in.
Since many businesses can’t clearly see how a strong brand generates income, they choose to concentrate their spending on proven money makers letting branding fall by the wayside. However, this may not be an advisable way to go as recent studies are showing that intangible assets can bring in tangible results.
When it comes to strong branding, one of the most important ways to get your company noticed is with a good web site. A web site is often the first impression customers will have of your company and it can help you rank highly on search engines.
Read on to find out more about the ROI of branding and how a well-designed web site can help you boost those numbers.
What the Experts Are Saying
The importance of strong branding is becoming more obvious to business owners due to a 2017 study released by Ocean Tomo.
The study showed that whereas in 1975 intangible assets accounted for 17% of the S&P 500, in 2015 it rose to account for 84% of assets. That’s a whopping increase.
Intangible assets include things like patents, trademarks and branding with branding making up an average of one quarter of Intangible Asset Market Value (IAMV).
But branding is not only about boosting sales. It’s also about how a company is perceived by its stakeholders. With these people controlling some of the purse strings, it’s essential to show your business in the best light possible.
The Proof is in the Pudding
While the numbers may sound impressive, the importance of strong branding is further evidenced by the fact that the businesses with a strong identity consistently outperform others in the market.
For the past 19 years, Interbrand has been releasing a study titled Best Global Brands.
They choose 100 brands they feel are strongest based on the following characteristics.
The brands that lead on their list are living proof that intangible assets are the key to business growth.
Kanter Millward Brown is a multinational research firm that points out strong branding characteristics that include the following.
- Meaningful: A meaningful brand provides products that hit home with its customers
- Different: Strong brands stand out from the rest and set trends for the industry.
- Salient: A salient brand becomes synonymous with their industry.
Prophet is a global consultancy firm that releases their own list of most relevant global brand. Here are the traits they measure.
- Customer Obsessed: A strong brand provides products that add value to the customer’s life.
- Ruthlessly Pragmatic: Companies that lead the pack make sure products are available where they are needed and they make it as easy as possible for customers to make purchases.
- Distinctively Inspired: These are brands that are driven to make a connection and serve a higher purpose.
- Persuasively Innovative: Persuasively innovative companies are constantly upping the ante with new products and new ways to connect with their customers.
How it All Adds Up
Now let’s take a look at how these strategies are effective in increasing a business’s bottom line.
The simple truth is that brands that have established themselves are able to charge higher prices.
Think about it. If you’re in a store and you’re buying a product that you have to count on to be effective, wouldn’t you spend extra money to go with a brand you can trust? And if you look at the characteristics listed above, these are all part of what you look for in a reputable brand.
Milward Brown conducted a study measuring brands’ ability to make money based on power and premium.
Power is the prediction of volume share a brand can capture based on how likely a customer is to buy a product.
Premium is the price index a brand can support based on how likely the customer is to buy their product.
The end result? Brands with more power capture more sales volume and brands with high premium can charge more.
Branding is a Long-Term Goal
Another reason many companies turn their backs on branding is because it’s a long-term goal. Branding can take months to build and it will continue building over time.
Brands that don’t realize this may look for immediate satisfaction and choose to focus on things that will get faster results such as ads and social media marketing. However, they don’t realize that branding has a more cumulative effect that pays off in lasting results.
However, it’s not advisable for a company to completely turn its backs on shorter-term goals. According to a study titled Media in Focus, it’s ideal for brands to achieve the right blend of focus on long and short term goals with a 60/40 split. 60% should be dedicated to long-term branding while 40% should be devoted to marketing activation.
How to Sustain an Excellent Reputation
Reputation and branding go hand in hand. Here are some things you will want to consider when boosting your brand reputation.
Trustworthiness: According to Edelman Trust Barometer Respondents, the most important thing a brand can do is earn a customer’s trust. Brands should go out of their way to be transparent with customers when representing products and dealing with incidents that may arise.
High-Quality Products: A brand that has high-quality products will earn customer trust and continue to gain business.
An Understanding of Themselves and Their Customers: A brand must focus on what sets them apart and how they can give value to their customers.
Business Decisions Reflect Company Values: Part of building trust is establishing values for your brand. Once these values are in place, they should come through in everything the business does, including business decisions, marketing materials, interactions with customers, and more.
How to Make Your Branding Message Come Through on Your Web Site
So far, we talked about how important branding is, and we also discussed how essential it is to have a well-designed web site.
Now let’s focus on how to create a web site that sends a strong branding message. Here are some tips.
Have a Clear Goal for Your Web Site
The goals for your web site should align with your brand’s goals.
Before creating a web site, think of the message you want to send to your customers. Determine what makes you stand out. Focus on the value you can give your customers.
Your web site goal should come through in every aspect of the site including the images you use, the content you add, the layout and your conversion strategies.
Invest in a Good Logo
Every great company has a strong logo.
Think about Coca-Cola. As soon as you see that red and white circle, you know it’s Coke.
A logo is what defines you and a unique logo can even set your brand apart.
While a logo will come into play in everything you do, designing a great logo is an important step to take before creating your web site. Once it’s complete, you can integrate it into your web site design to send a strong branding message.
Choose the Right Theme
Every web site has an overall theme. For instance, if you sell children’s products, you will want a theme that’s fun and vibrant. If you’re creating a news web site, you’ll want to forgo the fun stuff and images and concentrate on readability and navigation.
It goes without saying that you will want your theme to align with your brand image, but you will also want your page design to be responsive. Make sure it loads quickly and works well with a variety of devices including mobile and desktop.
The Colors You Use are Important
Every brand has certain colors that represent it. Colors work in a psychological level affecting people’s emotions. For instance, blue promotes loyalty, green represents nature, black is great for luxury….and so on.
Once you have selected colors that are right for your blog, make them the main color template for your website.
Think About Layout
When people view your web site, their eyes will be drawn to certain hot zones. For instance, since people read from left to right, they will be likely to notice text and images placed on the left first.
If the entire page formats in the screen, the center is another good hot spot.
Use hotspots to feature important tidbits of information such as items you want them to buy or CTAs that will bring them further into the site and increase conversions.
Optimizing Your Web Site
Once you have created your web site, there are steps you can take to optimize it making it appear on the top of search engine pages and increasing online visibility in general. This will also contribute to helping you build a strong brand.
Provide the Right Content
Once you create a web site, it’s a good idea to include a blog section.
A blog gives you the opportunity to provide valuable information to users which will further establish you as a thought leader and trustworthy source.
Blogs should be written clearly so they are readable, scannable and engaging. Including relevant keywords can also help your web site rank higher on search engine pages.
The right tools can give you the analytics you need to determine what’s working and what isn’t. You can find out what pages readers are landing on most, what articles are being read and what’s driving them to make purchases.
Study analytics on a regular basis to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Make improvements as needed.
Create Landing Pages to Gather Contact Info
Landing pages are single pages that appear in response to clicking on a search optimized search result, marketing email or online advertisement. These pages are designed to show customer the important aspects of your site and draw them in to find out more about your company.
You can also use these pages as a way to gather contact info. Offer a free downloadable resource or access to exclusive material in return for them signing up. Then you have a way to stay in contact and you can send them valuable emails and newsletters that will build a stronger connection.
Speed Up Your Web Site
No one likes a slow web site. If your pages aren’t loading quickly, consumers can get impatient and move on to a competitor’s site.
What’s more, if your web site is slow, it will negatively affect search engine ranking.
Tools like Google Page Speed Insights will let you know how quickly your site is loading. If it’s moving slowly, work on design elements to make the necessary improvements.
Share on Social Media
Cross promotion is a valuable marketing tool. Use your social media platforms to advertise your web site and share links to blog articles you have recently published.
Not only will this increase your engagement and online visibility, but it will also help your SEO rankings.
You may not realize how important branding is without seeing an immediate payoff, but the right strategies will produce long-term results that make you a leader in your industry. With a website as your main way of connecting with customers, you’ll want it to send your brand message loud and clear. How will you be upping your website game to boost your business?