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February 27, 2008

Create Consistent Branding

When you think of branding, you might think of logos, colors, taglines, and names relating to a given product, company, or service. Although branding encompasses those element, true branding is a far more powerful and subtle issue than you might expect.

Successful branding is about creating an emotional relationship between an individual and the representative company or product. This means that good branding creates a response in people—whether a tagline makes us feel comfortable, or a logo makes us feel energetic, or a color scheme makes us calm—these responses are the desired results of effective branding.

Branding can be achieved using a variety of techniques. Contemporary marketing theory breaks down branding into two types:

  • Direct Experience. In direct experience branding, the emotional relationship is one-to-one. If you have a great burger at Ye Olde Burger Shoppe, the satisfying results of that meal relate emotionally to the product and brand.
  • Indirect Messaging. The indirect method uses slogans, sponsored events, and promotions to connect people to product brands. The key to successful indirect messaging is repetition, usually in the form of TV and magazine ads, and billboards.

Websites can benefit from both forms of marketing, although websites themselves are almost always going to be a direct experience for people these days. You go to a site for a reason—to read aWeblog, purchase copies of a favorite author’s books, and so forth. You interact with the site, and your experience there creates the emotional one-to-one feeling found within direct experience marketing.

When creating a lasting relationship between an end user and a product, company, organization, or service, Web designers need to plan the direct experience to have a specific emotional result.

For example, my bank’s website provides excellent service, useful management tools, and provides me with an emotional sense of security. This kind of bonding between a site’s visitor and a product can be accomplished using a range of specific usability techniques.

But we can also draw from indirect messaging techniques to enhance our goals. All of the following things can work on the indirect level by providing repetitive images:

  • Using consistent placement for logos from page to page
  • Using consistent color and graphic styles

Ads on websites are considered indirect messaging, but the actual website itself is a direct experience.

  • Typography
  • Iconography

Combining an effective direct experience and consistent statement of brand will help you to bond your site visitors to your site, creating lasting, rewarding relationships. When you embark on your branding efforts, be sure to checkout our corporate branding mistakes post to ensure you dont make the mistakes that many others do.

Author:  Andy MacDonald, CEO of Swift Media UK, a website design & search marketing company. For daily tips on Blogging, Marketing, SEO & Making Money Online, Checkout our SEO & Marketing Tips for Webmasters blog or Subscribe by RSS.