Last week, a friend asked for an advice on where to “place” brand message on her site. She did not want people to miss it. That’s understandable.
Logically, you would think that “above the fold” area of a “home” or “services” page is your best option when it comes to placing important content. It sound easy enough: create a new section, add text, wish it good luck, click save and publish.
Not so soon.
While we can apply principles of good user experience (UX) to make sure website visitors do get to see whatever content we prioritize, it does not quite work as well when it comes to getting our brand message across.
It might seem like a good idea to put your message on the home page as a value proposition or a tagline. However, for true impact, your message should be present everywhere on your website (and beyond).
Think of your brand message as a soul of your company. It needs to be present and felt everywhere.
Easier said than done. Totally
Presenting your message on your website is a creative challenge. Hopefully, you are up for it :)
Visual Brand Elements
Most likely, your message mentions the type of clients you work with. Ask yourself, how can you express that you are working with those types of clients?
That’s where visual branding elements come in handy.
For example, if most of your clients are women, use feminine colors and design elements: pink, purple, teal, styled frames, pretty icons, etc. A.k.a. go for the “cuteness”.
If your clientele are young professionals, high-rise dwellers, city folks - use photos of dogs in the urban setting, bold fonts and bright colors to match the visual expectations of your client demographic.
Ask yourself, what problem you are solving for clients. Why do they need your services in the first place? Write your website copy from that perspective. Focus on the information that type of clients would need to see to understand that your company is the best choice for them.
For example, if your brand message is about dogs deserving to have healthy lives (and that’s why you offer daily walks / runs and hiking excursions), you know that your clients are obsessed about their dogs’ health as much as you are. You will get their attention and bring your brand message across by describing your services from the perspective of how they contribute to dogs’ health.
Remember, there are no hard rules when it comes to branding. Think creatively. Find what works for your type of business.
For example, if you also board dogs for the health-conscious humans, you might want to mention having healthy organic treats on deck. Or using natural and pet-safe cleaning products. This will further build confidence in your website visitors that you truly embody your brand message and not just use it to lure potential clients in.
You don’t want to be like one of those posh-looking Italian-sounding hair salons that loses all its European charm once you go past the reception desk and see dirty brushes, piles of hair in the corners and not a soul speaking a lick of Italian. A.K.A. false advertising.
Blog / Social Media
Your blog should have articles about dog health, nutrition, holistic vet recommendations, etc. It can cover any subject relative to your brand message to support and reinforce it.
I believe in organic and holistic branding. I believe that your brand message absolutely must reflect who you are and why you do what you do. It should never be just something to help you make more money. Your brand message represents you as a human being and a business owner.
This approach to branding makes blogging and social media quite easy. You don’t have to “think” what would someone want to see from you. You simply need to express what you care about to get the attention of people who care about the same thing. In the beginning, it can be lonely. But trust me, once you get used to sharing publicly what you are passionate about, people will find you. And they will follow you.
About Us Page
About us page is a perfect place to reinforce your brand message. If your brand message is based on who you are and what you believe in deeply (and not just what would be the best marketing angle to sell your services), then it should be connected to your personal story.
Think about your brand message as a theme. Then look at your life’s story to see where that theme has been present. Write your bio from that angle.
For example, if your message is about dogs deserving to be as healthy as their owners, then think about times in your life when dog health became important. Maybe your dog got sick and you started cooking him meals only to see his health improve dramatically. Maybe you are the biggest wellness advocate you know and healthy lifestyle is at the core of your being. Or maybe you changed your own life through a fitness program. And then did the same for your dog…
Even though your website bio is supposed to be about you, it is not. It is really for and about your clients. Where are you similar to them? What where the times in your life when you experienced what they might be going through right now? What had to happen in the past that led you to do what you are doing now?
Services and Procedures
You can take your brand message a notch further and make sure that your company’s organizational procedures reflect it as well.
If your company is all about making it easy for clients to book services (and that’s why you are using an online booking portal), do not make them fill out extra-long contact form just to get in touch with you, then print out an intake questionnaire, fill it out, scan it and email it back to you. This might be convenient for you and perhaps even make sense… BUT it does not scream “we offer easy booking experience”. It does not matter if your home page says otherwise.
Quite often I see another example of brand message being misrepresented within company’s procedures. A lot of times dog-walking businesses are offering “customized” services to their clients. However, they also require to book at least 5 days in advance, do not accept any last minute service changes, have very limited service hours, and no cancellation policy to speak of. Basically, there is nothing “customizable” about their service.
If this is you - don’t panic. You might have your policies in place for a reason. I get it, last minute calls and cancellations are a pain. And if that’s how you want to do things - no biggie. Just make sure that your website is not advertising the opposite of what you offer. Because not only it confuses customers and makes them distrust you, it also puts your whole brand message in jeopardy. Basically, it makes people think you don’t do what you say you do. And building trust online should be on any company’s list of priorities.
Presenting your brand message is a process that never ends. You make mistakes. Then you get better at it with time. So don’t sweat it if you can’t get it right from the get-go. Take small steps. Tweak one thing at a time. And most importantly, have fun doing it.