Branding is extremely important. Your visual branding elements should be adequate and representative of what you want people to think of your company, products and services.
Recently I was asked to look at various websites of companies that were in a process of consolidation.
The group CEO asked me to make sure that the online presence is projecting a unified brand, as those companies are in the process of becoming a unified group,
Of course, the websites looked very different, and there’s some work to be done to consolidate them. I’ve done this exercise multiple times, both for local and global companies, so I’m rarely surprised by what I find. This time, however, I was taken aback a little, when I discovered a website of one particular member of the group, whose website was last updated in… wait for it – 2006!
Needless to say the website wasn’t up to date in any measure, and didn’t really work very well. It wasn’t even easy to find, as I was running a Google search for the company name!
If you’re already reading this article on Linkedin, I don’t need to emphasise to you the importance of the web, and the importance of having an adequate and representative online presence for your company. However, people may interpret “Adequate and Representative” in various ways. Here’s some of things you should consider as tell-signs that your online presence isn’t “adequate and representative” anymore, and you should do something about it:
1. Your website is optimised for BlackBerry. BlackBerrys (for the GenY’ers) were mobile phones which were (and in some developing countries still are) very popular in large corporates, as their email functionality was superb, yet their browser wasn’t as advanced as other mobile phones at that time. Websites optimised for BlackBerrys looked like that:
image courtesy of AllthingD – read the browser review of the Blackberry, circa 2010.
2. Your staff prefer Comic Sans to your corporate font – Comic Sans was a popular font at the early days of the internet. Some people still find it appealing, yet designers – generally gentle and nice people, may kill you for using it!
In many cases, people will use “creative fonts” instead of the corporate font, because either there isn’t a defined company font (in your brand guidelines booklet), or people just don’t know about it. Brands should fix very easily.
3. A Google search reveals 94 different versions of your logo – logo inconsistency isn’t unique. Many companies have undergone multiple iterations of their logos, and that’s perfectly fine. However, when you have to find a logo file to send to print, don’t just pick one you find in an old document and send to the printer. You are just perpetuating the problem.
Many companies (especially ones with frequently used logo, such as Google, Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, or Twitter) will have an approved version of their logo on their website. This allows people from within and outside the company to access and use the correct logo version. A couple of years ago Google has updated their logo, with the changes being almost un-noticable to the untrained eye. However – in marketing and branding – consistency is key, and companies should be very protective of their brand and branding elements. When a brand isn’t consistent, you’ll experience what I have: I was handed two business cards in the same meeting, by two employees working in the same office of the same company, which look like that:
Branding is extremely important, and your visual branding elements should be adequate and representative of what you want people to think of your company, products and services.
If any of the above sounds familiar – we need to talk!