Web design is extremely important for branding. Don’t scoff - it really is. It might have been fine 10 years ago to have a basic website with the purpose of sharing your contact details and logo but that’s just not enough anymore. In fact, these days, design can be more important than overall content on your website. A study titles Trust and Mistrust of Online Health Sites found that 94% of comments regarding mistrust of websites were aimed at design rather than overall content. That is a scary number.
Why take notice of it?
It’s a competitive world out there, a matter of sink or brand, we would say. You need to stand out as a strong brand so your target audience picks you over all the others. One way to do this is by having a website that showcases your brand identity and gives your target audience something to connect with and trust. Good, consistent web design as part of your brand strategy (and as an important brand health metric) can play a big part in ensuring this and if you choose to ignore that… Well, let Johannes Ippen, Founder at Human Deluxe Design Studio tell you the damage bad web design can have on your brand health.
How Bad Web Design Can Negatively Impact Your Brand
Johannes agrees that the ability to do good branding means companies realizing that it’s not just about placing your logo and contact details somewhere on a website. “Good branding is more about what people feel when using the brand,'' says Johannes. “Think of a company like Tinder. Every action somebody makes on Tinder, whether it be clicking the X or heart icon, is a meaningful gesture. This is particularly so when we consider Tinder’s swiping function. This is something they associate with the brand, and I’ve often been asked can I implement “swiping like Tinder” for other companies”.
Let’s discuss gestures a bit more before we move on. How can something so simple as a gesture impact your brand? People want efficiency in the most minimal way possible, especially those who predominantly use their mobile phones for apps or browsing the web. Tinder provides this easy navigation. Now, what would happen if the swipe gesture of Tinder wasn’t intuitive? Most likely people wouldn’t bother with the gesture and perhaps even the app, and there would be a whole load more lonely people in the world.
Include gestures in your web design that make your site easy to use and navigate. No doubt you have a website full of valuable content that you want potential customers to see. If you can’t easily lead them to this content then it is not reaching its full potential. Failure to do this will most likely lead to confusion for people and ultimately they will click off your site. What’s the end result here? Potential customers associating your brand with confusion and dissatisfaction. Is that what you want?
Web Design for Branding is Not a One-Time Thing
“What some brands forget is that branding has to be taken into consideration every time something changes on their website,” Johannes told us. “It is understandable that websites will grow and change as the product grows and changes; it is just important that companies don’t forget to either evolve their original brand guidelines or to ensure the old ones stay in place. Make sure that changing any interactive elements or editing items that provide access to important information don’t lead to breaking features on the website.”
“Don’t forget things like font either. The importance of keeping the same font is something that becomes undermined over time. Likewise with buttons and sign-up forms. Don’t get me wrong, it can easily happen that it slips your mind. What you need to do as a brand manager is to ensure it doesn’t happen or, at the very least, fix any inconsistencies as soon as possible”.
Johannes is correct. Consistency is extremely important within the funnel in order to get positive brand effects. And that leads us to the final and most important point of web design and branding.
Bad Web Design = Bad Branding = Lack of Trust in Your Brand
Often companies use different integrations for their website and can only change so much with them. Let’s take the example of Stripe. Stripe is an online payment platform with a web design that is always recognized as great. Take the time to browse Stripe’s website and admire how wonderfully it was designed (and maybe get some ideas for your own website).
Now go back to Stripe’s homepage and click “Start Now”. The registration landing page you are brought to has a different feel, doesn’t it?
Stripe's registration page
That’s because Stripe have integrated a tool to create this form and there are only so many changes it can make to it. That is not to say that we are condemning Stripe for having an inconsistent website. Not at all. Sometimes integrations cannot be helped and it is apparent that Stripe’s designers have spent time on making this web page as consistent as possible. See the reCAPTCHA? That’s something that can’t be changed but Stripe have done a very good job integrating the branding of this reCAPTCHA into the rest of the page to ensure the highest level of consistency as possible and keep branding on point. No, we are not mentioning Stripe here to diss its web design in any way, it’s simply to show that even the best brands can’t have everything 100%.
Why even mention this point at all? Well, imagine a company using an integration that did not work as hard on its branding as Stripe did with their sign-up page. Imagine browsing a website with a strong brand identity and being convinced to submit your personal details, only to land on a page that looks completely different from what you have been accustomed to. What will the majority of people do? Click out of that page ASAP! Why? Because you have broken their trust.
The best brand managers will know that purchasing is more of an emotional decision than a practical one. And if you want to evoke the type of emotion that will lead to a sale you need to make people feel your brand can be trusted. People like predictability, they like knowing the outcome, and they want something that is dependable. If you can’t show yourself as dependable, you lose their trust and you lose their custom.
Branding Needs Web Design
At this point, you should be eager to return to your website to check for consistency and brainstorm where you can make the brand experience better. Good. Johannes has done his job in emphasizing just how detrimental web design can be to your brand if it isn’t done correctly, and why it should be included as one of your brand health metrics. Always remember that consumers have so much purchase choice these days it is somewhat overwhelming. Be the brand that stands out and provides a seamless experience. Including good, consistent web design as part of your brand strategy can help you achieve that.