Personify Your Brand
Typically a website is redesigned when a company has taken a new direction. This can be due to a rebranding process, a new marketing campaign or just an updated message to better reflect the goals of the business. These are all good reasons to redesign and update your website.
Your website is the most important tool to represent your business. But, does it reflect your business core values and who you are? This is a critical piece to succeeding online – having your online visitors experience the personality of your business when they are on your website. In order to get the right clients to become more interested in your company, it is important that your online presence mirrors your real-world business.
The website personifies the company. It is what makes a website stand out when the visitor experiences the company brand. When done right, the brand promise, company values, and personality comes through – I call this Brand Persona. For a website to be successful, it must speak to the visitor. The tone and look of the site must match the business. You want your visitors to be on your site and know who is speaking the message.
To come up with your brand persona, one of the first steps is to analyze and delve into what your company brand means or signifies. Your website needs to be reflective of the work you’ve done in creating your brand. But more importantly, your website should have a particular voice and tone.
So where do you start? For a small company the starting point is easy – begin by looking into the personality of the owner(s). Their personalities already personify the business to their clients – the challenge is defining it – giving it words and a voice – to create that same human connection with your online visitors. The goal is to extend your in-person qualities to your website.
Identify What Motivates You to Succeed
As entrepreneurs we want to make something better. We see a need, and through that see a potential to making life better. Our skills are only part of that equation. Underlying that skill set lays a passion that pushes past the WHAT we do for a living to WHY. Identify that which drives you forward. Putting it into words will help you better understand what images and messages best resonate with your online persona.
Construct Your Brand Promise
Your brand promises something to your clients. It defines a level of customer service, a commitment to connect with your clients. If this promise isn’t defined and understood from the beginning of your website project, how can the message on your website reflect this with purpose? Defining this from the start helps ensure that the information and actions as part of your website fit into this promise and communicates this to your online visitors.
Identify What Sets you apart
Your clients choose to do business with you instead of your competitors. There is a reason you were chosen. You need to understand what it is that sets you apart – why your clients are choosing you – and make sure it’s reflected on your website. Give your online visitors a reason to do business with you. This may be credentials and industry trade organizations to which you belong. Identifying and listing these on your website lends credibility to you and your business.
Another way to build upon your business strengths and exemplify your industry knowledge is to blog regularly on topics relevant to your clients. Write blog posts from your perspective and clearly mark what it is that makes you different than the others in your industry.
Make it come to life
Your online website has a huge potential to be cold and clinical – delivering facts in forgettable copy that does nothing to tell your visitors about the essence of who you are. I can almost guarantee that if you’re reading this, you are passionate about your industry, passionate about succeeding, and passionate about excelling in the business world. The question is does that passion come through in your website?
Defining the personality that you want your site to embody is the first step to creating a memorable online experience. Begin by listing personality traits that you feel you want your online persona to embody.
First, identify what personality traits have brought you to where you are. Next, identify the qualities you feel you must foster to ensure success. Lastly, identify the traits you want to be strong in your online brand. Identifying these traits is just the first step. Truly fleshing them out to humanize your brand persona is taking the next step.
Give it a voice
Your brand persona needs a voice. To define this, you must understand your visitor’s perception of you and identify how you want your brand to be perceived. Begin analyzing what you want your brand to be – and more importantly what you don’t want your brand to be. Take your characteristics of the past step and bring them down to the level of perception.
For example: Make a statement like “I want my website brand to be friendly, professional and strong”. What you need is the right mix of these traits. Too strong and the site can feel too pushy; too friendly and it won’t be considered professional; too professional and it might become stuffy. You get the idea. Give each trait on your list a number that reflects HOW much of that trait it should have. So for example, you want your website brand to be professional. Choose a number from one to 10. Where does your business rank in that range for each trait? You need the right mix of traits to create your brand definition.
Identify Who You Are Speaking to
Now that you have identified your brand persona and developed a personality for it, you now need to identify your target audience. Who is your website aiming to draw in? What are their main points, wants and needs? Also, identifying who you DON’T want to do business with is important. By identifying both your ideal client and your undesired clients can help a draw a clearer picture on who your website is targeting.
Start the conversation
Done right, defining your brand persona and successfully integrating this into your website better personifies your business, targets the needs of your visitors, and stands out from the crowd.
It’s time to put your message into action. Your content needs to be written from your defined persona perspective and as if you are speaking to your audience. Use images and fonts to support your defined brand persona. You’ve now done your homework and defined what it is that you need to map out a clearer picture of the VISION of your brand persona.