There is only one website that is great because it is bad, which is the Spacejam website that hasn’t changed since the film came out in 1996.
Should another company put together a website or really any kind of online presence in a similar way, they will simply be laughed at. Equally if a company goes the other way and over does their branding and online presence without taking precautions, they can lose credit.
Indeed many companies who have become pariahs in the online world having done so, due to their ineffective use of social media or complicated websites.
So with the balancing act between terrific and terrible being so slim, how can companies make sure they are staying on the straight and narrow?
We believe that there are four basic principles that make for great digital branding maintenance and growth and we have outlined them below.
Having a pixelated logo, with Times New Roman or even Comic Sans font is a guarantee to being laughed at. It does not matter if the product you are selling is the best in the world if you cannot present it in the correct way.
This is the most obvious way that production values can create issues for your digital branding, a less obvious, but equally important element is the production quality of your UX.
If your imagery is great, words concise and in a good font, but combined with unmanageable navigation, you will do just as much damage to your branding.
Social Media Outreach
Firstly, having the capabilities to actively engage with people through social media should be at the foundation of any of your online work. It should also not simply be seen as a way to quickly spread your products to more people, it needs to be seen as a way to gain a new audience and actively engage with them. This means having conversations and listening to people, rather than just talking at them.
It also allows you to protect your brand against people who often use social media to complain about it. Having the ability to turn a complaint into a compliment is often about stopping the roll before the snowball turns into an avalanche.
Be A Thought Leader
People want to listen to authoritative voices when reading content online. This means that in order to get your message across effectively, and improve the overall standing of your brand, you need to become a thought leader.
People are far more likely to buy from somebody who knows what they are talking about rather than somebody who simply provides a service.
Much of this comes down not to a single well written piece, but through a considerable volume of up-to-date content combined with collaboration with others who can lend their weight to your arguments.
It is important to not attempt to try to do too much too soon as this may damage more than grow your brand. Simply allowing the passage of time and creating a weight of work behind you, will improve your brand, especially if you are writing about pertinent subjects.
Own Your Name
This is a relatively new thing, but something that companies are taking seriously, those that don’t could face damaging themselves.
It can be relatively painless to make sure that you own all slight variations of your name, especially if you are a new company. Those who haven’t taken this seriously and grown have seen the potential damage it could do.
Take Apple as a prime example, after failing to secure the iWatch name (which would fit with their other products) they were forced to call their smart watch Apple Watch, which certainly does not have the same ring, damaging their branding.
Even new domain names can affect your digital branding.
New domain names like .porn and .adult are becoming available to the open market, meaning that not only could your SEO take a hit, but that it could destroy your brand’s reputation. Some have made the attempt to counter this by buying them to stop others doing so. This includes Taylor Swift who has bought taylorswift.porn and Microsoft who bought office.adult.
Digital brand enhancement and protection is about constant vigilance to sloppy design, poor social media etiquette or even the external threats coming from changes in the digital landscape. There have been many companies who have not taken notice when they should have and they have paid the price, make sure your company isn’t one of them.