Welcome back! Andrew from ZoCo Design here again. If you tuned in last week, you’ll remember we broke down how to know when it’s the right time to evolve your brand (if you missed it, check it out here). This week, I’ll walk you through how to apply your brand evolution to a new website. Let’s get started!
So now you’ve determined that your brand is not pulling its weight. You confirmed your values, defined your audiences, and outlined your business objectives. How do you bring all of that to life? And how do you do it well? Where does it live? On products? TV? Clothes? Packaging? Books? Business cards? Apps? Billboards? Anywhere you want?
There is, of course, one place that your brand has to exist*—the world wide web.
*98% of the time.
A website is the most accessible place for people to engage with companies. That means it’s the most vital place to ensure your brand is firing on all cylinders. Your promise, objectives, and values all need to prevail—and that’s a challenge.
There are so many elements to think through with websites. What does the website need to achieve? What is its purpose? How does is support offline business activities? What part of your audiences journey do they interact with it? What are their concerns? The list goes on and on.
We ask websites to do a lot of things. At the core, four simple things should always prevail to serve your brand effectively. Websites should, without question:
- Define what you offer.
- Back it up.
- Connect with your audience authentically.
- Spur users to take action.
Define what you offer.
What you do should be crystal clear on your home page. Visitors should leave your site knowing what you do—even if they just read the headlines. The design is important, but your content is king. Understanding your audience’s pain points and why they’re coming to you is key to capturing their attention to learn more about what you offer.
For ZoCo, this meant addressing our clients first—not talking about ourselves. Clients come to us because they have a problem. Guess what? We get that. We know your business is anything but simple and we’re ready to jump in. This also meant communicating the variety of services we offer and design challenges we are best suited to address on the home page—not buried somewhere else. Prospective clients should know if we fit their needs quickly.
Back it up.
You’re likely not the only company they’re considering—so backing up your promise is essential to building credibility. At ZoCo, we wanted to provide a detailed look into our process. This transparency bridges the gap from the problem our audience is having and the steps we would take to solve it.
Another great way to back it up: results. These can demonstrate the breadth, uniqueness, and quality of your work. For our site, we extensively refocused our case studies to echo the process and story we told throughout the other pages.
Connect with your audience authentically.
Be true to yourself to build trust. While your audience might find your promise and experience compelling, at the end of the day, we’re talking about interpersonal relationships. Embrace what makes you different. It leads to stronger partnerships and better collaboration.
A lot of our work encourages our clients to dissect their organization, business objectives, and assumptions. This can be an intimate task—so trust and comfort are required to be successful. Through our studio page, we show off our fun, quirky personalities. We want clients to connect with us as humans. Yes, we do great work, but we like to think we’re great people too.
Spur them to action.
By now, you’ve built the case for visitors to buy in or not. Make sure they know how to proceed. This doesn’t mean a call to action on every scroll, but it should be present at logical moments throughout the content. Our website was built as a validation tool, not for lead generation (which may be true for you too!). But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it here.
This process is personal.
I’m going to be honest for a minute—building our new website was difficult (any agency that has developed their site can attest to this). It tested our understanding of who we were. It became a much more intimate experience than the work we do for our clients, but because we truly believe in our promise to deliver effective solutions, we know the value there is to be had in this challenging work.
So that’s what we did. We built our site by identifying our biggest problems. It turns out, our biggest problem was that we weren’t clear to our clients about how our approach was different or had we defined the breadth of services we offer. Focusing on the client pushed us to create something that isn’t necessarily groundbreaking or trendy, but something that is genuinely and uniquely ZoCo. It is an amalgamation of our quirks paired with our clients’ needs. Our messaging was born out of our values and promise. The user experience was a manifestation of how our clients think. The interface and design are a result of our collective personalities—and we’re proud of it.
There you have it.
Next week I’ll dive in a little deeper on the process of evolving a brand’s visual identity system and explore opportunities for creating more immersive storytelling moments focused on building authentic connections.