— Written By Chloe Waddington —
In the digital arena, branding can often be a victim of neglect. A website is much more than your online shop front. Often, website design and build is requested as a quick win because the digital sphere is hot property, but before you rush into the investment, it’s wise to hire an agency that understands the importance of both Digital and Brand Planning before any designer gets to work.
It’s our jobs here at Grapple to consider serious digital thinking. It’s difficult to deliver any online output that fulfils commercial goals, without spending time delving into insight. Essentially you are shooting in the dark. Analytical rigour is now a core currency for any digital agency. However, knee-deep in data, it’s important not to lose sight of the subject and how audiences interact with products from an emotional perspective. There should be nothing different about planning in the digital space; ultimately planners should be interested in humans, whether that insight derives from Google Analytics or traditional interviews. It’s all relevant.
Your digital presence ultimately, is an extension of your brand and is increasingly becoming the first point of contact between brand and audience. It is vital to remember, without solid brand foundations for your platform, as our Planner Adam Irwin states here: you risk creating a flawed brand that doesn’t have the legs to fulfil your commercial ambitions.
Let’s face it, we are becoming increasingly bombarded with brands online every day. We now have more to filter through and out, but what makes us respond to the ones that do catch our attention? What are the single ‘stand-out’ reasons that we talk about, share and interact with the chosen ones?
Imagine you own a cupcake shop and you want to sell online. You need to tempt your target audience with your product via great online experience – not just a web presence. This is your opportunity to inspire the user to browse your site but first you need to know who you are talking to. How else will you know what experience to deliver? Why should the consumer think of your brand as different from the competition? Without a foundation (a proposition) to work from, you’ll end up creating a very generic, transactional website.
‘Here is our range of cupcakes. They come in a range of colours and designs. They’re made by hand with quality ingredients’
Now, I don’t feel that inspired, this is far too generic and not at all that different from other sites selling the same thing. Now imagine the proposition behind the website is:
‘Dangerous Cupcakes! We only make the most indulgent, disgustingly bad-for-you cupcakes.’
‘The Frankenstein Bakery! We create anything you ask us to! Mash up your favourite childhood sweets or your weekend treats.’
Here we start to see some personality that separates you from the competition.
Your website can look slick and be at the forefront of the latest tech which is very important, but your content and what you stand for needs to reach out and inspire too. Your content should be as remarkable as the rest of your brand, but if you haven’t built your foundation in the first instance, you’ll come across a content stumbling block later down the line and all that slick technology will be, well, just slick technology.