Website Branding: Experience Counts


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A bad web experience for new visitors to your website will kill your brand. Experience is critical. Examples from college and university websites.

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Website Branding: Experience Counts

  1. 1. Building Respect for Your Brand Online: Experience, Experience, Experience ©Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. 2008 Adult Students: You Best Option for Enrollment Growth The Aslanian Group Boston, MA November 29-30, 2008
  2. 2. Your brand is… What people think about you and say about you when they hear your name… Every organization has a brand… Even if it isn’t always what you want it to be
  3. 3. Sometimes you just know a brand… <ul><li>BMW is… </li></ul><ul><li>Harvard is… </li></ul><ul><li>Pepsi is… </li></ul><ul><li>New York City is… </li></ul><ul><li>France is… </li></ul><ul><li>Ikea is… </li></ul><ul><li>Superman is… </li></ul><ul><li> is… </li></ul><ul><li>Volvo is… </li></ul><ul><li>Notre Dame is… </li></ul><ul><li>Coca Cola is… </li></ul><ul><li>Los Angeles is… </li></ul><ul><li>Norway is… </li></ul><ul><li>Wal-Mart is… </li></ul><ul><li>Spiderman is… </li></ul><ul><li>eBay is… </li></ul>
  4. 4. Some colleges claim a brand position…
  5. 5. Experience… more important than the claim <ul><li>Experience often starts at your website… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The power of your website as a branding tool is determined by the experience your visitor has… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>your ability to deliver what people want from you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This means close attention to content and usability… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can people easily find what they want? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can they easily interact with you after they find it? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How fast will you respond to a question by email or Instant Message? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 8 tips for brand safety on the web… <ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul><ul><li>People are impatient </li></ul>
  7. 7. Eliminate frustration points… <ul><li>No broken links </li></ul><ul><li>Links that take people to what they expect to find </li></ul><ul><li>No out-of-date information </li></ul><ul><li>Content people can scan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No long blocks of dense text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subheads and bullet points </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brief inquiry forms </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines that work </li></ul>
  8. 8. Your brand promise on the web… Create your promise by defining elements of what makes you special…
  9. 9. First, find your distinctive points… <ul><li>What elements makes you special? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The people who enroll? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The way your courses are taught? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The way you treat people? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Success rate after graduation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A special mission that people can understand? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Something you really do better than others in your category? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The highest reputation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The lowest price? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The best location? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Then create your brand promise… <ul><li>The brand promise has to reflect reality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality is the experience people have with you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reality is the word-of-mouth people hear about you </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A clear statement of something special that can be both seen and felt by someone </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On their first visit to your website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In their first contact with real people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And in their continuing contact with you… in any form </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Stories to validate your brand promise… <ul><li>Stories must have credibility… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stories told by people enrolled in your programs build credibility better than anything else you can do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For ongoing engagement, blogs and social networks are the best way to tell those stories </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Must build on the strength of what you are </li></ul><ul><li>Must be relevant to your customers </li></ul>
  12. 12. Social networks expand the brand experience…
  13. 13. Ohio State and University of Phoenix…
  14. 14. Video story telling expands the brand…
  15. 15. K.I.S.S. Creating a friendly website… Keep the first page as clean as possible… Visitors want to quickly get someplace else
  16. 16. Peterson’s… old style website
  17. 17. Peterson’s new style website…
  18. 18. What we’ve just seen is… <ul><li>The power of a front page to connect from the first view </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is the most overlooked power of web branding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not many higher education sites do it well </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The faster you connect, the better you communicate </li></ul><ul><li>If you don’t communicate, you don’t create brand identity </li></ul>
  19. 19. Creating your branding tools… Website examples that create brand impact
  20. 20. Quick exit from the front page…
  21. 21. Brand statement + clear audience paths…
  22. 22. Brand statement continues… a story begins
  23. 23. Video expands the onsite experience…
  24. 24. Another strong experience…
  25. 25. Blogs aren’t just for teens…
  26. 26. Blogs… especially for adults
  27. 27. Easy to find academic programs…
  28. 28. 10 high visibility program choices…
  29. 29. Clear academic program presentation…
  30. 30. Easy to scan for key points…
  31. 31. Easy task completion…
  32. 32. Inquiry form…easy to find and complete
  33. 33. Another strong example…
  34. 34. Summing up points to boost the brand… <ul><li>Find and eliminate things that don’t work on your website </li></ul><ul><li>Stay with simple design </li></ul><ul><li>Identify key things that shape your brand identity </li></ul><ul><li>Learn the content that’s important to people visiting your website… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure you have it and people can find it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Program information is top rated </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Use students to create brand impressions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Videos </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Thank You! Bob Johnson, Ph.D. President and Senior Consultant Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC 226 Chauncey Court Marshall, MI 49068 248.766.6425 [email_address] Customer Carewords Research for Online Marketing Success: