Consumers are used to being hit hard by Branding. Logos are thoughtfully designed and even fine-tuned over the years with small, subtle changes, either to bring the logo into line with the desired message of the Brand or to match changes in its style and content. Theme tunes, jingles, advertising, and marketing catch-phrases are equally treated to soul-searching discovery and review by the companies behind the brands.
Sometimes the companies change entirely, such as in the case of a buyout or takeover, but the Branding itself is too precious to change. It is an asset in its own right, has a value in the accounts ledger and is instantly recognizable to millions. This is true of clothing companies, coffee shop chains, toy stores, and food and beverage companies. Where this is true in packaging, signage, labeling and traditional media such as television and radio, it is equally valid of the internet and specifically the Brand’s website. It must be Iconic, that is to say, instantly recognizable.
Logos, images and colors must match those seen elsewhere on the Brand.
This might seem like an obvious point, but consumers are highly aware of imitation, forgeries, and copies. The slightest change in shade or tone, in proportion or a spelling detail, will trigger an alarm at the subconscious level if not consciously with the buyer and may send them running to the competition. A brand’s website must be an online reflection of their offline presence, which is harder to achieve than one might think. For example, if you are a clothing store and you show images of your clothing and an easy way to purchase it, then you have achieved the objective, as long as the other conditions above are met. However, if your brand is a chain of coffee shops, how exactly are you going to translate the experience (the smell of freshly brewed coffee) or sell the product online?
Such websites must provide the user with a sense of belonging to a classy group.
Brands are all about belonging, about quality. If there are any glitches in the performance of the website, Lord forbid any dead links, and this detracts from the consumer’s experience. Being Iconic means being Great, and the site and everything about it must be great. If there are videos, they must load quickly and add excitement to the production, and entice the buyer to buy. There should be nothing out-of-date about the site, whether it’s the technology that makes it work or the items that are being promoted. The internet is the fastest-moving form of media invented, and consumers want to see what is hot now.
The Brand’s iconic website must be unique and promote the uniqueness of the Brand.
Websites and online content are frighteningly easy to copy. What’s created today in Silicon Valley, CA can be translated to Chinese, Arabic or Russian and with the slightest of alterations, used to sell a lookalike product for a competitor’s corporation. We don’t want that, do we? What we want to do is conquer the world (of coffee, clothing, toys or toothpaste) and eliminate or at least beat the competition. It’s called the World Wide Web for a reason. Everything must be scalable to a worldwide level and translate effectively into any language of any culture you wish to sell your products to. As such, the website and its content must be unique enough to stand out from any competition.