What is ‘Brand’?
More than Pretty Pictures
These days I hear a lot about how a company is ‘reinventing their brand’, or doing a ‘rebranding project’. 90% of the time, the person making this statement means that they’re redesigning their print literature and web site. To them, their brand is all about how they look.
Your organization’s brand is the gut response generated in your customers when they see your logo, hear your name or use your product or service. That response comes from a lot more than pretty pictures.
Don’t get me wrong – a good design is critical to a strong brand. But brand, per se, means more than graphics. It’s really a mix of elements that help you start and maintain a conversation – electronic or otherwise – with potential customers or members. On the Web or off, these elements include:
Function. What does your web site, or your business, DO for people? The biggest part of your brand is what you offer that makes someone’s life easier, more profitable, or more fun.
Structure. What information do you feature first? What do you show last? Online or in print, the way you organize content makes a statement about your focus as an organization.
Design. Last but definitely not least is how you represent yourself in print, online or in other media. But this is more than the graphics. ‘Design’ may also include the sounds you associate with your web site (music or others), the font you use, the amount of text on each page, the way that text is written, or a host of other factors.
This isn’t supposed to be an exhaustive definition of brand. But I think the message is clear – good, strong online branding requires a web site that provides a complete experience for your users.