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3 Key Principles to Online Branding – Forbes

TL;DR.

Forbes recently released an article titled Why You Should Keep These Key Online Branding Principles in Mind. In the article the author John Hall noted on three key principles that you should be focused on when considering your online branding. Competition online is intense and one of the ways you need to innovate in to be competitive and stand ahead of your competitors is your branding. In this article we discover what these three principles are and how you can take control over them.


Introduction.

Branding can be harder for some companies over others. But it’s no secret that your branding is the key to making your business stand out from the rest online. Companies of all kinds and sizes are driving their brands higher and higher through more and more intentional branding practices. Why? It’s allowing them to stand apart from their competition. The competition is so high between not only different businesses but also it’s high to get the attention of consumers. So what are the three branding principles you should keep in mind?

1. A Robust Website Is Nonnegotiable.

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For each section we will first review a summary of the Forbes article to understand the original take. This is a Maven X summary of the article content. Following the summary, we will have our own Maven X take as to what it means to us and what it should mean to you.

The Forbes Take.

Without a website no one today will find your business. It’s close to impossible to function solely as a brick and mortar store. When consumers are searching for a business and they don’t see a website, this is an immediate red flag.

Additionally, if you website isn’t designed properly, isn’t kept up to date, products aren’t listed and updated, information is incorrect or stale, then your potential customers will more than likely leave.

The Maven X Take.

Web design can seem like a huge reach for a lot of businesses. This Forbes article hit on some really important notes with how current consumers are searching for businesses and interacting with businesses. Most business owners, maybe yourself included, does not have the capacity or desire to learn web design and let alone create and maintain your own website.

Maven Web and Maven Design are the perfect solutions for you. Maven X will handle the full web design process from start to finish and continually maintain the website for you. Maven Design will help your site and the site elements stand out from the competition through creative designs that are custom created and matched to your company branding.

Now there is one element to this point that is very hard to outsource. That’s your specific branding touch and business data. Why? You know your business best. Keeping a website up to date can include things like blog posts, specific buzzwords, writing and creating use cases, focused marketing, and more. The last thing that keeps a business innovative is keeping information in silos and performing manual tasks. Your website should work for you and not the other way around.

Writing things like blog posts can be outsourced to individuals on Fiverr or other sites, but this is your chance to directly talk to your customers and show why you can solve their problems. If you want to outsource the blog writing I would still highly encourage you to be heavily involved in the process. You need to ensure that you aren’t just putting out content to put out content. The content needs to be relevant and tied back to your business intentionally.

Finally, having data in silos and performing manual tasks is not the future. Websites have more integrations than ever before. For Maven Web websites we talk through the different use cases with our clients. Using the example in the article of keeping product inventories up to date, why utilize an internal tool that doesn’t have the ability to automatically publish to your website? If you are already doing the work in this tool you shouldn’t be manually copying numbers to your website asynchronously. Instead find tools that allow for these integrations. In turn your website stays completely up to date and you and your team are doing the work you have already been doing. This is key to building, managing, and keeping a robust website.

2. Design Elements Must Be consistent and Aligned With Your Brand Promise.

The Forbes Take.

Think of the biggest brands: Nike (Swoosh), McDonalds (Golden Arches), and Apple just being Apple. You will immediately recognize these brands due to their innovative marketing techniques. Flashy branding might be appealing initially but the impression is soon lost if it doesn’t hold a value and purpose with your brand. Consistency and being well aligned will make it memorable.

Research shows that brands have seven seconds to make a first impression on consumers. Design is important in maximizing these seven seconds. Ensure that your final designs align with your brand promise and reflects the brand tone and voice.

The Maven X Take.

Maven X was intentional about branding from our beginning. We understand that our clients need to be able to trust us and see that we are able to deliver the quality that they need and want for their own business. Every part of our own branding shows glimpses of who we are. We have a ton of blog posts talking about our designs and the backgrounds of all of our branding aspects.

In order to provide our clients with the same level of design excellence we created Maven Design. From logo design, to graphic design, to video design we have the branding services for you.

Regardless if you create your own graphics and branding elements or work with another designer, what are key elements that you and only you can be the ultimate decision maker of? Only you can answer if this design will align with your brand promise and reflect your brand’s ton and voice. Does it relate to your brand’s personality? No one else can answer this for you.

So let’s break this down visually. What is the responsibility of the designer and what is your responsibility? Now let’s assume that you are asking Maven X or another third-party designer.

You should first have a designer help you to create branding guidelines and have it documented. This will help any designer working with your brand have a clear understanding of what your brand is. By having it documented this helps you to know what your brand is, allows you to show others, and helps you to avoid straying from the original branding purpose.

Designer Responsibility

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  • Inquire and understand your desired outcome
  • Understand your business and current market design trends for the sector
  • Understand your specific branding tone
  • What should the design convey to customers
  • Understanding all elements to be created
  • Providing guidance into what other design elements should be created to aid to the requested design
  • Providing additional suggestions for horizontal designs (creating different elements from a single design based on use cases)
  • Thinking through future-proof designs to allow the potential to adapt the designs to other mediums and use cases in the future
  • Designing the elements!

Your Responsibility

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  • Provide clear and specific branding guidelines to the designer
  • Tell the designer the story you want your brand and the design to tell
  • Give the designer a starting point for what design elements you need created. Leave it open ended to allow the designer to recommend additional elements you might not be aware of. A good designer will tell you.
  • Be clear about your intended use and purpose for the design elements
  • Provide specific feedback on draft designs. Tell the designer where the branding is right and where it is wrong. Tell them what you like and what you don’t like. Document this so you know what you like and don’t like for future projects.

Remember, design elements need to be consistent across your brand. It’s ok to change them if they aren’t working, but make sure that they are reflected everywhere after a change. Update your site, social media, and other locations as well. We talked about Maven Design in point one. By combining Maven Web and Maven Design we work with you to ensure that you get this consistent design across your website in all design elements from your logo, to images, videos, graphics, color schemes, textures, buttons, and every site design element.

3. A Regular Social Media Presence Is a Must.

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The Forbes Take.

When consumers are searching for brands now more than ever their search starts on social media. This trend is shown with how social media platforms are expanding and integrating e-commerce solutions. Instagram has Instagram Checkout and TikTok has TikTok Shopping.

For social media, consistency is key. Brands need to post content regularly to stay noteworthy. You can use social media to inform consumers of new product launches, business updates, collaborations, and more.

You can also gain some valuable insights into your audience through social media. This can help you to develop better marketing campaigns to attract new customers. Learn what posts and types of posts work best to tailor them to your customers.

The Maven X Take.

Social media is definitely where it’s at. We have seen in the past where brands absolutely explode because a social media marketing strategy struck gold. Having a consistent schedule and content flow is crucial to being successful on social media. Why put in all the work to have a killer website and branding to let it sit there undiscovered. Social media gives you the opportunity to let your branding show through the static photo posts or even through video content. This is the fun part of running a business. Get creative and have fun making these posts!

Maven X currently doesn’t have social media service offerings but we do partner with some incredible marketing firms that can help you to add social media branding to your business.

Final Thoughts.

A lot of the time we overcomplicate branding. While branding is a big deal, it shouldn’t be overcomplicated at its core. I think that these three points provide the baseline to get you started with your online branding strategy. While thinking through your branding, if you’re just starting, be sure that the plan will integrate with these three principles flawlessly. If you are looking to update and modify your current branding, what do you need to change or keep the same to apply these principles to your new refresh?

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