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>Amazon.com 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No out-of-date information 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… http://mysocialnetwork.umaryland.edu/
  13. 13. Ohio State and University of Phoenix… http://www.osu.edu/features/2008/socialmedia/
  14. 14. Video story telling expands the brand… http://realpeople.waldenu.edu/video-tim.cfm http://www.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/programs/emba/advance/balance.cfm
  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… http://www.petersons.com/
  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… http://www.pfeiffer.edu/
  22. 22. Brand statement continues… a story begins
  23. 23. Video expands the onsite experience…
  24. 24. Another strong experience… http://www.stedwards.edu/future.htm
  25. 25. Blogs aren’t just for teens…
  26. 26. Blogs… especially for adults http://blogs.targetx.com/umbssw/
  27. 27. Easy to find academic programs…
  28. 28. 10 high visibility program choices… http://admission.emerson.edu/graduate/
  29. 29. Clear academic program presentation…
  30. 30. Easy to scan for key points… http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/iMBA.shtml
  31. 31. Easy task completion…
  32. 32. Inquiry form…easy to find and complete http://www.mbaregis.com/
  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: http://www.bobjohnsonconsulting.com/customercarewords.html

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