Maintaining Brand Identity, Part The Second

August 16, 2007

The post One Lovely BlackBerry Ad Equals One Lousy Web Experience by Matthew Roche got me to thinking about times I’ve experienced similar disappointment. It is already one helluva an experience protecting brand identity in the onslaught of MySpace, Facebook, and the blog universe, but it seems we are doing ourselves a tremendous disservice by ignoring the steps we can take to ensure successful branding in such a disparate environment as the web. A while ago I posted the entry Maintaining Brand Identity in the MySpace Madness, and I think that web design (in addition to targeted placement) can be another part of the solution to protecting the character and reputation of your product within the realm social media.

Although it’s difficult to measure, we know that branding has an impact. Consider a recent study that demonstrated a(n unsurprising) correlation between the McDonald’s brand and childrens’ opinion of food. How do you translate this effect to the web (the study showed that television sets augmented the preference for McDonald’s)? The realization that Design Is Identity. This means that from beginning to end, from advertisement to conversion, your user must have a seamless experience despite the difficulty in implementing such a goal. Why is this (costly and time-consuming) goal so worthwhile? I witness first hand the frustration and confusion that results from one company having an important piece of information that another company needs but but won’t get; this breakdown is simply a lack in communication, but it’s a problem that can manifest itself on the web, like with what Matthew Roche shared.

Investing in great web developers and designers who, with the help of other key members, can execute a vision from start to finish will become more and more crucial as the checkout register increasingly becomes a consumer’s mouse click. Losing money directly at the point of conversion because of confusion or dissatisfaction in the web experience should be nothing short of unacceptable. The added benefit of a seamless experience is that the web participation becomes an opportunity for effective branding, an opportunity that, in many instances, can outlast the 30-second commercial (in more ways than one).

Now excuse me while I rethink my career and seriously consider becoming a web design genius.

EDIT

Daniel at OM Strategy (thanks for the comment!) has a post that is particularly relevant to this topic, but developed along the lines of usability and the web experience. Great stuff… so read or perish. Just kidding. But not really.

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One Response to “Maintaining Brand Identity, Part The Second”

  1. daniel Says:

    hi, Adrian, nice post!

    I’m not sure whether to mention the irony of this being on a very standard-looking wordpress theme, but – as I’m guilty of the same crime – I’ll brush over it!

    To be honest, I think branding measurement isn’t as tough as you make out & that the web is a great place to start. Here’s a simple little idea to start out:

    1. implement a little brand survey post-checkout on your site – we’ll call this survey A
    2. put together a follow-up survey post-fulfillment (after they’ve received your goods) – we’ll call this survey B

    Group the respondents into 4 categories:

    1. lowA / highB (your site left a worse impression than your overall service)
    2. lowA / lowB (you left a bad impression overall)
    3. highA / highB (you left a great impression overall)
    4. highA / lowB (your site left a better impression than your fulfillment)

    Track those against ‘repeat visits’ & ‘repeat purchases’ and the results are really interesting.

    Hope that’s of some interest,

    daniel


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