Been to Santa's website recently?
Before you decide to go clickety, click — Santa doesn't have a website. You knew that didn't you? But what if Santa came to you and said, “Hey, I'd like to create a website. Can you help me?
So let's go about creating a brand for ol' chubster
You'd have navigation. You'd have graphics. You'd have content. And Santa's website would be like any website. Or would it? What would differentiate Santa's website from any other website on the planet?
Santa's website would rock, wouldn't it?
You'd put in stories of Rudolph. Of Dasher, Vixen, Prancer and all the deer. Santa's personality would bubble through. You'd feel happy and generous and full of good cheer once you stopped over at Santa's website, wouldn't you? His personality and giving nature would shine through and you'd really like this fat, cheerful chap who brings so much cheer to the world.
Imagine we then tramped over to your site…
And we run into similar navigation. Similar graphics. Similar content. But there's something missing. And it's only when you compare Santa's site to yours that you find what's really missing.
Your site has little or no personality…that's what's missing
And if you don't have personality, you haven't really started down the road of creating a brand. Brand? What brand? Where do you start looking for a brand? You start looking for a brand in your character; your personality. A brand is all about personality. It's you being funny or serious or wacky or confident or pedantic. In short, when the world takes a good look at you, they decide who you are, based on your personality.
Look at yourself as your best friend would. Does she consider you serious? Or funny? Or wacky? Perhaps you come across as being confident? Or maybe pedantic.
Then transpose your personality onto your website
Just be yourself. Not everyone is funny. Not everyone is serious. Not everyone is pedantic. You just have to be who you are and your personality will shine through. Your customers will come to recognise you for who you really are. The more you stick with your personality, the more you'll attract raving fans, who'll love your style. They'll love the fact that you choose to be different from all those me-toos.
When we set up 5000bc, I went against my personality. My nature is to give information as freely as possible. It's not meant to withhold information. (And I'm not patting myself on the back here…just stating my natural bent of mind). Yet, I created links that went nowehere. When you clicked on the link, it would say ‘Restricted Information' and force you to sign up for membership. About ten clicks later, you'd be frustrated and leave.
The feedback from potential/existing customers was swift and brutal. This isn't you they said. “Where are the cartoons?”, they said. “We love the cartoons.
So instead of me ranting, let's go over to real, live customer feedback…
“I like the cartoon — would like to see more of them throughout the site. In fact, have you thought about creating a character for the site, an avatar or persona for your brand? Since it's a membership site, it might be a great way to create a more personal connection with your customers. The little cartoon guy could be the site's host and show them around the “cave”, so to speak.”
“After reading your posts, for the better part of a year, I KNOW this [restricting articles and information] is not you at all.”
On a clear day, you can see branding forever
It's more than clear that we'd have to stick to our true personality. As Santa would have done. As you should do.
How do you create your own branding?
Call your best friend. Ask her to describe you in a few words. Then look at your website and make changes to reflect your brand. If your friend stumbled on your website and didn't know it was yours, would they say, “Hey someone ripped off my best friend's website!” And they'd zap you an email in indignation.
Would your best friend do that? If not, you'd better start working to make sure your website really reflects who you are. And it stands out. Just like Santa's website would, if it existed.
1) Your best friend will help you find your brand.
2) Stamp your brand (personality, not logo) all over your website.
3) I didn't mention this before, but your About Us page is probably the best place to start creating personality and branding
Next Step: Want to learn more about branding? Find the entire branding series in text, audio with cartoons!
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Brilliant, Sean! I loved this – and it really made the point about ‘branding while being yourself’ far more clearly
Oops! deleted the last bit of my message inadvertently…
It should have read … far more clearly ‘than any other million bits of advice I’ve read’:-)
Sean D'Souza says
Ooh the pressure 🙂 Glad to help, Paul…
Chris Palmer says
Really loved this one Sean!
The more I study brands and go through business headaches of the ‘me toos’, I find that the more human we are with a brand the better.
Today it seems as though people are buying into IDEAS and FEELINGS and not PRODUCTS. Any one can produce a product, even me! But for someone to transfer their spirit into the digital world is where the real art comes from.
Thanks for your contribution! I’ll stumble this for ya’.
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