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The Do’s and Don’ts of Branding Online

Whether you are starting a new business, or reinvigorating an old one, your online branding should flow consistently from any offline activity.  These tips will help guide you through the process.
1.  DON’T be a people pleaser When you are talking about design in any form, realise that everyone, and that is everyone, has an opinion. From the receptionist through to the account manager, friends and family, they all want their say. Remember though, that they are most likely not your target market, so be objective about their commentary.
DO make considered decisions based on market and industry information Engage experts, research the competition, and understand the target market.  Be clear about what exactly it is that you do, and your business objectives. Listen to the online branding and web development professionals.  It is in their best interests to make your brand, and your website, superb.
2. DON’T be all things to all people Resist the urge to offer everything to everyone through being too generic, or broad. If you entertain the possibility of communicating to vast numbers of potential customers, you may well fail to connect with even one, particularly in an online environment. 

DO understand your star customer Who is your ideal customer, the one who’s life you can vastly improve, and who will act as a champion for your business?
Identify them, understand them, and speak to them directly, clearly, and specifically. Be concerned about what THEY perceive from your brand, no-one else. Know how to solve their pain, and they will visit your website time and time again.
3. DON’T use technical lingo The temptation to build branding around listing technical features rather than benefits can be overwhelming for some, but resist! Doing so may very well intimidate or confuse potential clients.  Business owners who use industry lingo often think this positions themselves as experts. Not so, particularly on your website where you have less than 7 seconds to engage a customer. Your language has to accurately hit its target, and fast.
DO use language which invites interest and indicates the benefits Create taglines and key communication statements that are welcoming, warm, and more focused on the customer than the business. Employ words that are about the client while retaining a clear link to the actual business. Marry these words with images that are inspirational and emotional, and you will see results.
4.  DON’T be inconsistent with your branding – ever Just say you receive a business card or brochure about a service you really need, and it looks professional and credible.  So, like over 80% of people do, you check out their website.  But it looks different… Now, you have doubts about the authenticity and credibility of their business.  What are you going to do?  Look elsewhere, most likely. Don’t let this happen to you, make sure your branding is consistent offline and online.

DO look absolutely the same everywhere Avoid losing potential clients and sales by investing properly in the foundations of your branding. Ensure that your business is presented seamlessly no matter where, when or how. Websites, business card, brochure, billboards, vehicle signage, social media, presentations, letterheads, email signatures, press advertising …. EVERYWHERE.
Never be tempted to creep outside the rules and messaging of your brand. Without exception. Follow these tips and you will find the online branding and web development process enjoyable, rewarding and educational. Additionally, your brand and website will connect with your target audience, build ongoing relationships, and deliver results for your business across all platforms.
By Phoebe Wright
Posted on May 22, 2013

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