By: Tshepiso Phaho
Have you ever visited a website looking to buy a product but couldn’t find something as basic as their contact details? The website may even be so beautiful that you are almost afraid that clicking a button might “break” it, however, the website is so difficult to navigate that you end up opting for a competitor’s website which may not be as beautiful, but works.
Every brand has its own unique identity. Ideally, this identity is translated into everything the business does – from product packaging, the store, website, social media and also its customer service.
A brand is a promise made to consumers. Therefore, the way in which consumers experience your brand determines whether you have lived up to the brand promise or not.
Designing for your customers
Design is a critical element in brand building and you need to ensure that your design does not deviate from what you stand for.
Who are these “people” that you are meant to be designing for?
These are the PEOPLE who interact with your brand. These are PEOPLE who are interested in buying your products or services. These are PEOPLE who sell and grow your vision on a daily basis.
People are emotional beings and your brand (through design) needs to connect with them. When “your people” are happy and satisfied, chances of them spreading the word about your brand are increased.
Here’s what to keep in mind when designing a website to suit your brand:
Design for outcomes
What are your objectives? Are you looking to generate website leads? Then your website needs to be designed in a way that visitors can actually be converted into leads.
This could mean including forms, “buy now” buttons, online chat, etc. However, if your objective is for visitors to spend time reading blog articles, the design will be different.
Design for actual use
As a business owner or designer, you probably have an idea of how your consumers are using your products and services, right? But, do you know how they are actually using them? Or, in fact, how they would like to use them?
I completed a UX Design course at Red & Yellow a few years back and it was interesting to learn that when most people visit a website, the first place they look is the top right corner. Therefore, for a website hoping to generate leads, placing call-to-action buttons at the top right corner makes sense.
Design to create a positive experience
What do you want people to feel when interacting with your brand? Happy, intrigued, special, etc.? Believe it or not, how your brand is designed has the ability to create a positive or a negative experience for people interacting with your brand. You should aim to create positive experiences through design. There are tons of benefits that come with this – word of mouth, brand ambassadorship, brand loyalty, etc.
Whatever the look, remember that you are designing for PEOPLE. Invest in understanding what they want and then make it a reality through design. The trick is to design in a way that speaks to who you are as a brand, as well as what resonates and connects with people.
About the author: With a vested interest in the development of African SMMEs, which is demonstrated in her Hons research paper, titled “Exploring the value of brand identity amongst black-owned SMEs”, Tshepiso Phaho is the founder and CEO of The Canvas has been in the Marketing, Branding and Digital space for close to 10 years – having worked in both agency and corporate environments. Her experience varies from account management in traditional agencies, digital account management in a digital environment as well as social media brand specialist as a part of a corporate in-house team.
Her career has afforded her the opportunity to work with brands such as Grolsch, Total, DHL, Rosebank College, Pedigree and Whiskas, VISA, The Perfect Hair, amongst others where she gained her brand management, digital marketing, client relationship management, project management, marketing and strategy development skills.