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Your Website and your Brand

By: Dom Moreci at Plumbline Studios, Inc

Submitted on Wed, Jul 26th, 2006 12:00 am

Don't rely on technology alone to create a great Website for you or your company. It's great to have cool technology but you need to leave a favorable impression on your user. Instill confidence and create an engaging and memorable experience for your user. Do that, and they will stick around, buy something and come back another time. Use good design to bolster the great content and cool technology of your site. The user will remember the way all three elements work (or fail to work) together.

When designing your Website, be sure to look to established design elements for inspiration. Your Website needs to function as a part of a greater marketing and brand positioning package.

USING YOUR IDENTITY:
At the core of any company image is the brand identity system. The identity system is really a set of objectives and ideas that manifest themselves in the form of a tangible piece of artwork, like a logo (the Nike swoosh, or Apple's apple symbol for example). This system includes information about the company's perceived image, it's audience and their expectations, the company's position and differentiation in the marketplace etc. etc. etc.. The logo, corporate mark, product system, the trademark, whatever you want to call it, is the single most important way to identify the who, what and why of a company, brand or product.

Because the identity itself is so vital, it becomes the starting point for all other forms of brand communication. This includes, brochures, business stationary, advertising, annual reports and most recently, Websites. All of these elements need to communicate a similar if not the same message, and to communicate the same message, we need to speak the same language. A company with a high-tech brand position would not do well with a traditional, corporate looking brochure. A company with a feminine image would not do well with a high-tech Website treatment. Picture a Website like women.com done black and day-glow green! Or IBM.com done is pastels with illustrations of flowers and waterfalls.

Maybe it would help to think of it in terms of an established brand... like the GAP. The attitude of the identity, the feeling of the stores, the look of the print ads and the essence of the TV ad campaign all speak the same language. And the Website is a direct reflection of all of these other elements. In fact most brick and mortar companies that have moved to the Web are relying on the essence of the established brand to influence the look of the corresponding Website.

This is not to suggest that everything looks exactly the same. The identity is the starting point, but the annual report, the Website and the print ads are like different children of the same family. Not exact knock-offs of the original but similar enough show they are related.

The bottom line is that the Website should look like it is a part of the company or product it represents. Fonts, color, voice, and attitude should all be related across the marketing board. Similarly, the site should communicate in the way a Website needs to communicate. It needs to feel like a Website, but it need to represent it's company's brand and image effectively. It must retain the integrity of the brand.

Dom Moreci is the president of Plumbline Studios, inc. a brand identity and design firm located in Napa Ca. You can learn more about plumbline at http://www.plumbline.com

About the Author

Dom Moreci
Plumbline Studios, Inc
Plumbline Studios, inc. a brand identity and design firm located in Napa Ca. You can learn more about plumbline at http://www.plumbline.com

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