If you’re planning on building and launching a new website in 2022, it’s important to understand the role that public brand perception will play in the success or failure of your new site. A great website can propel your business and your brand to new heights of success, while a poor website can damage how potential customers view your business and your brand, potentially driving them to your competitors. The quickest way to learn how to develop a great product (in this case, your website) is by studying one of the most popular and successful American businesses of today – Apple, and its legendary co-founder, Steve Jobs.

Apple Branding Strategy

There is no denying that Apple is one of the most successful companies on the planet and at least part of that success is due to their branding strategy. Marketing experts all agree that Apple brand awareness has more to do with emotion and customer experience than their Macbook or iPhone products. The Apple brand supports creativity, imagination, innovation and design.

Apple marketing executive John Sculley is credited for helping make the company the largest computer manufacturer in the world and is also quoted as saying, “People talk about technology, but Apple was a marketing company. It was the marketing company of the decade.”

The Apple brand finds repeat customers because they sell experiences. Apple customers love their products and therefore create deep bonds and loyalty by promoting free thought and togetherness. The heartfelt connection keeps customers returning.

For The Public, Positive Experiences Are Key

How does the public perceive your brand? To effectively answer that question, it is important to understand how the public – which most notably includes past, present and potential customers – discovers and interacts with your brand, and what they take away from that experience. It’s obvious that a bad customer experience with one of your employees can lead to a negative perception of your business and, by extension, your brand, which is why you invest time and resources in hiring the right employees and training them effectively. However, it is much harder to determine if your website is driving down the public’s perception of your brand, simply because while customers will often report poor customer service, they usually do not report a poor website experience.

Test Your Own Accounts With Your Users In Mind

The simplest way to determine if your existing website and social media accounts are hurting your public brand perception is by testing them yourself, or by asking a colleague, friend or family member to act as a potential customer and visit your website. Most common problems include poor design, a poor user interface or unresolved technical or design issues that make navigating the website difficult. It’s also possible that your brand isn’t represented properly by your website or social media accounts and posts. It’s important to request that those testing your website note every issue they have, whether they believe it to be trivial or not, or even if something just doesn’t feel right. If your website utilizes E-commerce features or an online store, it’s even more important to ensure that every page and element of your website is working properly, so ask your test subjects to complete the order process and note every issue they have with the process.

New Websites Take Work

Once you have a strong list of any problems, issues and errors that were encountered, communicate these issues to the individual or company you’ve hired to build your new website. Don’t just compile the list in an email, instructing the designer on what not to do with the new website – overcoming these hurdles requires an ongoing dialogue and a mutual understanding of how you want your new website to offer a better customer experience.

“He Loved Doing Things Right.”

Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, Inc., was a perfectionist who was obsessed with quality and design. After rejoining Apple as CEO in 1997, he led the company to an epic resurgence over the next decade with the introduction of widely-successful products such as the iMac personal computer, the iPod media player, the iPhone and iPad. Jobs tragically passed away in 2011. Apple still designs and releases products with the same style and attention to detail championed by Jobs, and their public brand perception remains very strong to this day, over three years after his untimely death.

”He Knew How To Build Anything.”

In an authorized biography of Jobs released after his death, he recounted to biographer Walter Isaacson a lesson he learned from his father: “He knew how to build anything. If we needed a cabinet, he would build it. When he built our fence, he gave me a hammer so I could work with him…He loved doing things right. He even cared about the look of the parts you couldn’t see.” Jobs noted that his father refused to use cheap wood on the inside of a fence or cabinet, refusing to compromise the quality of his work on components that would be hidden from view. It isn’t a stretch to see how Jobs applied this early life lesson to his work at Apple, directing the development and creation of many ingenious products adored by millions of customers and fans around the world.

Although your next website isn’t going to be the next iPod or iPad, paying close attention to the details, especially the design and usability, will ensure a better user experience and a stronger public perception of your brand.