As the Creative Director at One World, I am sometimes asked why we put so much emphasis on branding when we build websites. Shouldn’t we spend our time writing a bunch of content and getting as many pages as possible on the site? While it’s true that having lots of content boosts your search engine rankings and helps you get more visitors to your site, visitors aren’t the end goal, clients are. And clients are looking for more than information, they’re looking for a partner they feel they can trust. That is the role of branding, to create a feeling of trust.
The question isn’t “Should we focus on content or branding?” The question is “What sets us apart as a company and what kind of content will best express that to a potential customer?” But it’s not enough to give a list of facts that differentiate your company. A brand organizes those facts into a story that communicates the meaning behind them.
When I buy a cup of coffee, I’m not buying a hot brown liquid. I’m not even buying an “expertly roasted from fair trade organic beans” hot brown liquid. Describing a product and the attributes that make it better than your competitors isn’t enough. When I buy a cup of coffee, when I buy anything, I’m buying a feeling. “Fair trade organic” is a feeling, a feeling that I’m an affluent person who is doing some good in the world. I buy that cup of coffee because I want to feel alert, refreshed, wealthy and generous all at the same time. And when a brand delivers that experience to me reliably, I learn to trust that brand and become loyal to them.
How do you want your customers to feel about your company or product or service? What is the story you can tell that will give them that feeling? What are the elements of that story? Once you answer those questions, you’re well on your way to creating your brand. And then you can build content to your heart’s content with the confidence that it will land clients.
If you’d like to talk websites or brand strategy, or even high-altitude African coffees, please drop me a line.