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When it comes to sweet treats and there packaging, the classics stand out. And everyone has their own favourite. But sometimes they aren’t as effective as they could be with there design.

The examples below will give you plenty of ideas of how you could design your own sweet or chocolate packaging. Whether it be creating that emotional connection with the consumer that keeps them coming back. Or standing for your brand values through your packaging.

Using a strong packaging design can reinforce your brand through the packaging. And even open new avenues of which to extend your brand. Reaching new consumers which you might not have been able to do before.


Credit to Meeta Panesar

Le Temps Chocolate Packaging

For all the Le Temps chocolate packaging is concept work, it has a great idea behind it that is executed brilliantly.

Each bar has a percentage of cacao in it, which links to a decade, which in turn informs the design on the front. For example the packaging for the 24% cacao has a distinctly 20’s style illustration on the design.

Illustrations and colours bring a bold and simplistic style to the chocolate packaging. Linking to particular decades makes it instantly recognisable to everyone. Even if you weren’t born in them particular decades.


Credit to Hani Douaji

Trident Gum Packaging

Again this is not a live project but I couldn’t pass up talking about this particular packaging. Using a die cut printing technique each set of packaging looks like a mouth with a set of teeth on pink gums.

The idea is that consumers can interact with the packaging in a fun way. When it comes to packaging interacting with the consumer is key.

Whether that be in an emotional way, or a more hands on approach like this packaging. The consumer has to be able to use the packaging for its main purpose, and to feel a connection which brings the consumer back.


Credit to Will Echols

Markham & Fitz Chocolate Packaging

M&F went through a rebrand in 2017 from “Hello Cocoa” to Markham & Fitz. So some new chocolate packaging designs were needed.

Chocolate is supposed to be an inviting product. And using clean white paper with fun playful illustrations they hit this note. Along with this they have gave a real sense of class with the gold foil on the main logo and the script font underneath.

All this partnered together creates a beautifully designed set of packaging. Giving an elegant and silky feeling, much like what I imagine the chocolate itself to be like.


Credit to Carpenter Collective

Boehme’s Batch Toffee Packaging

This toffee packaging is a little bit of a blast from the past. In a world of corporations and design moving away from the family run style. Boehme’s Batch puts the owners name and an illustration of him smack bang on the face of the brand.

We love this and as we mentioned in an earlier example, creating a connection with the consumer is key. And bringing that family run feeling through is a great way to do that.

The heart and sole of the product is the owner himself. He has connections with everyone in his community so why not use those connections on the brand?


Credit to Cristina Reverté

Dusk Chocolate Packaging

Dusk uses minimal design partnered with an amazing product to create a beautiful design.

The design consists of a simple table with all the information. And a colour strip representing the extra ingredients added to the chocolate. The brown paper and minimal design gives it a rustic feel. As if you have been handed it from a cocoa farmer, straight from its place of origin.

Subtle design elements like the colour of the foil wrapping. The chocolate matching the ingredient colour and the labels bring the design together.

Sometimes a minimalistic design is the correct choice. No beating around the bush and pulling the wool over the consumers eyes with fancy design. Simply letting your product do the talking.


Credit to Veronica Lethorn

The Marshmallowist Packaging

The Marshmallowist is a brand producing you guessed it, Marshmallow treats. The whole brand is very sophisticated and upmarket.

Everything is about the flavour combinations, some expected and some more unexpected. So when it came to the packaging it had to reflect this. So using the hexagon shape of the brand logo as a window to the product. It allowed them to create striking angles of which coloured shapes. Each representing a particular flavour in its combination.

This creates striking colour contrasts. In turn making the whole packaging striking and recognisable. And what more do you need to pick it up off the shelf?


Credit to Mystery

Jom Candy Packaging

Jom create organic candy treats. So when it came to packaging, it needed to convey an organic, healthy and environmental feel. But also still be indulgent enough to class as a treat.

They created and simple, colourful and tactile design to match the products themselves. Using simple illustrations and playful text. They have brought an indulgent and environmentally conscious brand to life through the packaging.

Brand values are important when thinking about packaging. There’s no use in having a brand that preaches being environmentally friendly. But when it comes to their packaging they use non-environmentally friendly packaging. So always be thinking when it comes to your sweet packaging or chocolate packaging.


Credit to Cadbury

Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate Packaging

Now everyone should know the purple, gold and white of Dairy Milk. And when it comes to the packaging design not a huge amount has changed over the years.

It has been a consistent example of success. The purple bar has never went to far off the rails. It has made slight changes, but even then some people wouldn’t even realise unless prompted.

Dairy Milk is a perfect example of moving with the times. Instead of bringing down the brand and starting again. They have made tweaks to stay in line with design trends of the era.

This is something to take into consideration when it comes to sweet and chocolate packaging. Can you update the existing packaging? Rather than lose the design and brand equity you have already.


Credit to Maija Rozenfelde

Reserves Chocolate Packaging

This project is old but is still a favourite of mine. For the chocolatiers 100th anniversary this packaging was created to celebrate the brand. The chocolate packaging is heavily influenced by where it came from and where it is going.

Chocolate changes state and shape as the consumer uses it, so in the packaging the design needed to capture this. To do this, they folded textures from Austrian Artists (the brand is Austrian). Creating a new modern approach to the art, representing the past and the future.

The second big element of this chocolate packaging is the angular shape. It breaks the norm of what chocolate packaging look like. But the great thing about this design is that the angular shape, while it pushes the boat out, still stacks on a shelf.

So if you want to break the mould with your sweet or chocolate packaging design. Make sure it is still functional for consumers and retailers.


Credit to Giuseppe Migliaccio

Choko Chocolate Packaging

I love this Choko packaging. I am not sure about anyone else but it has a big resemblance to caramel wafers in my eyes and I am big on caramel wafers.

Now the Choko design utilises different colours and a different pattern that creates a simple but striking visual. So don’t worry about any copyright.

Now I am pretty sure Choko did not create their chocolate packaging design to stir up my childhood memories. But it instantly created that connection. Which is exactly what you want if a consumer is stood deciding what chocolate to pick.

When it comes to confectionery, everyone has their favourite and everyone remembers the packaging. So don’t be afraid to use the strength of that emotional connection to build a packaging design that engages consumers.


Credit to Brand Lab

Fruna Candy Packaging

Speaking of an emotional connection, when it comes to chewable sweets in Peru, Fruna is the only way to go.

The Fruna packaging brings a playful and colourful element which appeals to both kids and the “kids” who grew up with the brand. The packaging is wrapped in a stand out crisp white and bright yellow with a bold red typographic logo.

The fruit flavours make up the mouth of a cheerful face. Bringing the brand to life in a fun and playful way. Altogether the packaging is exciting and inviting for consumers.


Credit to Gabriela Dule

De Cana Panela Sugar Packaging

Now this may not strictly be a confectionary item, but we can let it slide. De Cana Panela is unrefined organic sugar from columbia with a delicious rich flavour.

The packaging has a combination of a typographic stamp, cork lids and some lovely illustrations of the sugar cane plant. This mixture of quality and class from the stamp, with the natural and organic feelings from the illustrations and cork lids. Creates an elegant and sophisticated design.

Everything feels handmade and handled with care. This can resonate with consumers. Feeling like they are being brought closer to the products origin.


Credit to Hatch

Smash Mallow Packaging

Creating an emotional connection or a sense of adventure with packaging is a strong driver for consumers. Smash Mallow does this brilliantly with its natural flavoured marshmallow packaging.

Particular flavours take the consumer back to certain memories or take them on a journey to create new ones. Matching these flavours and feelings with friendly illustrations and inviting taglines. You begin to create a conversation between the consumer and the brand.

They also utilise more natural looking colours to help bring the brand messaging through the packaging. This works far better for this packaging than bright vibrant colours would.


Credit to Biggie Smalls

Big Poppa Donuts Packaging

This is again another blast from the past. Big Poppa Donuts utilises a mascot for their logo to great effect. This is something in packaging design that doesn’t get used to much anymore.

The mascot appears on a tube with bright pink packaging instantly standing out on the shelves. They also have a sneaky technique with having each singular donut stacked on top of each other. This makes the consumer pick up the products one at a time. Making the experience all the more mouth watering.

Making your packaging design interactive and engaging for the consumer is key. This should give them a pleasant experience that no other brand does. Which in turn keeps them coming back to you rather than any other brand.


Credit to Little Boo Bakery

Little Boo Bakery Marshmallow Packaging

The Little Boo Bakery creates natural marshmallow treats in an abundance of weird and wonderful flavours. This is the sole product and the goal is very clear, make great marshmallow treats.

This thinking is reflected in the packaging, it has been kept very simple. Looking clean and using natural looking resealable bags. This embodies the brand values and is a great way to build up your brand’s story through your packaging.

The design on the packaging is kept to the same minimal standard. With a big bold title, the brand and simple message that reads “hand-made in small batches”. This again emphasises the brand.

On the back is a sticker with all the particulars on. When it comes to packaging, costs can rack up (I am not insinuating that the Little Boo Bakery was strapped for cash). But its worth pointing out you can save some cost by using stickers like this on your packaging.


Credit to Loukas Chondros

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Do you want to know how to drive traffic to your website?

Then you’re in the right place.

“How can I drive traffic to my website?” is a question we get asked on a day to day basis at Canny.

Afterall, there’s no point in having a great website, if nobody’s visiting it.

You need traffic to generate leads or sales, in turn, making money.

And whilst traffic is not the be all and all, it does play a huge role in the success of your company’s website.

If you can manage to tap into even one or two reliable streams of traffic, then you unlock a boatload of possibilities.

So, let’s dive in, and find out exactly how to drive more traffic to your website.

The 4 Main Ways to Drive Website Traffic

There are four main ways (plus one bonus) that you can use to drive traffic to your website.

They are:

  • Organic
  • Direct
  • Referral
  • Social

Helpfully, they’re all categorised and listed out as separate sources in Google Analytics too. This means you can easily see where your website traffic has come from.

Let’s have a look at what each of these things mean.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is the type of traffic that most people want when they ask “how can I get more website traffic?”

This type of traffic is the people who’ve been searching online for a solution to their problem, and ended up landing on your website.

It’s people finding you through search engines.

But it’s earned traffic, not paid traffic.

Usually, organic traffic comes into your site through well written blog posts, or pages that contain a lot of high quality, relevant information.

Direct Traffic

The direct traffic portion of your Google Analytics segment simply means “people that typed in your website address.”

That’s direct traffic in a nutshell.

So every time you go to Facebook.com or Google.com by typing in their address in the browser, you’re counting towards their direct traffic statistics.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic is pretty simple too.

If somebody has clicked on a link to your website, that’s a referral. This obviously excludes Google search, which counts towards your organic traffic.

See below from referrals from social media.

So if you’re on canny-creative.com and you click on a link within a blog post, which takes you over to ahrefs.com – that’ll count as referral traffic.

Referral traffic can also be driven from your email newsletter campaigns.

Social Traffic

Social traffic is coming to your website through social media.

Not exactly a shock!

Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or something else. Social traffic doesn’t count as a referral.

If you click a link on Facebook, to our website, that’s one visitor in the Social Traffic bucket, rather than than the Referral Traffic bucket.

If you’re utilising paid advertising, it still also counts as social traffic.

Admittedly, Google’s social traffic bucketing is quite broken and a little bit old school.

Marketing Land have a great article that aims to help you get that right.

Paid Traffic (Bonus)

Paid traffic is exactly what it says on the tin. But for Google Adverts only.

Again, social media adverts don’t count towards this bucket. You should track those using a UTM as explained in the above and below linked posts.

Paid traffic is simply your Google Pay Per Click adverts.

If you want a deeper dive on how Google sorts it’s acquisitions, this post from Social Media Examiner is for you.

Otherwise, let’s dive in to actually driving more traffic to your website.

Organic Traffic

You might be wondering “how do I get organic traffic to my website?”

We actually have a completely different post about increasing your organic traffic.

But let’s take a quick refresher:

Good Quality Content

Everyone is always looking for a “quick fix” or “magic bullet” to drive traffic to their website.

The only quick solution for traffic, is to pay for it. Which isn’t the solution for driving organic traffic.

The only way to get good quality, reliable traffic, is to produce valuable, high quality content.

We consume content in three different ways:

  • Reading
  • Watching
  • Listening

Which is ideal, because it means there are only three types of content we need to create.

Let’s explore each of them:

Blogs

Blogging has been our bread and butter at Canny.

We’ve tried a variety of methods and blogging strategies, but we’ve found creating regular, consistent posts, twice a week, works for us.

Google loves good quality, well written content.

By writing high quality posts about your topic, and other areas surrounding your business, you will start to rank organically in Google.

Over time, you’ll find good posts rise to the top, especially if you’re in a space with low quality content and competition.

Be aware:

If you’re in the financial sector, you’re going to need to pull a rabbit out of a hat, because big sites like Money Supermarket and Money Saving Expert have things sewn up. And going to head to head with the big boys isn’t easy.

But:

For businesses in sectors with less competition, creating high quality blog posts on a consistent schedule is sure fire way to start driving organic traffic to your website.

Videos

Videos offer a different feel to blogs.

They allow you to show more personality and behind the scenes action of your business.

We’ve experimented with video at Canny. And it worked a charm, winning us one of our biggest clients!

Try and think of your company like a media company.

What shows could you put out on a regular basis?

Consider:

  • A short, two to three minutes, tips and tricks video
  • A longer form thought piece, maybe a review show or similar
  • Something that shows the day to day running of your business

For inspiration, check out our favourite YouTube business channels.

Podcasts

Some people aren’t comfortable in front of a camera, but want to give a voice to their brand.

If that’s you, then try podcasting!

I find it’s easier to get time to listen to a podcast than watch a video show. Namely, because I can listen to them in the car.

Podcasting is on the rise. And the busier people get, the more popular podcasting will become.

Business marketing experts are now stating that podcast is going to become the biggest way people consume media over the next several years.

We’re in the process of setting up our own podcast, and can’t wait to share it with you all!

How Does Content Drive Organic Traffic?

It’s quite easy to understand how blogging drives people to your website.

You write the content, Google ranks you for certain keywords, people search for those words, and your website comes up. Easy peasy.

But what about videos and blogs?

Well, the first thing you should do is transcribe them, using a service like Rev.

Then, you can them to your website in the same way as you would a blog post, reaping the same benefits.

Also, videos and podcasts are great for brand awareness. If you mention your business at the start and end of each episode, you can bet people are searching for your brand name.

Also, with YouTube being the second biggest search engine in the world, if people are finding you there, you can imagine the effect that could have on your traffic.

The Gary Vee Content Model

So, you’ve created all of that great content, what now?

Enter the Gary Vee Content Model.

If you’re not familiar with Gary Vee, he’s probably the world’s first celebrity entrepreneur. He’s brash, driven, and full of attitude.

But he’s great. And I love his content.

What he does, is create long form content based on one of the three ideas above. So either a blog, video, or podcast.

Then, he breaks it down into smaller chunks of content, which are then distributed across social media.

Doing this will help maximise your reach, and double down on the effort you put into creating great content.

And again, the more quality content that goes out, the more aware people become, and the more traffic you manage to drive to your website!

Easy

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic can be quite tricky to grow.

Afterall, how often is it you type a web address directly into the browser?

You only do it with the brands you know. So, growing your direct traffic, needs to be more about growing awareness of your business and brand.

How do you do that?

Well, there are a few options that could help get you there.

PR Campaigns

A lot of people think traditional media is dead, but getting yourself into a highly relevant trade publication or magazine can do a few things for your business.

    • It builds awareness of your brand within your space
    • It positions you as leaders and experts
    • It intrigues people and can often lead to people reaching out

After we’d been featured across the North East press for our export trip to Canada, we had several interesting opportunities drop into our email inbox.

More importantly though, if you can get your domain name into the press, you’re going to get people visiting directly.

Afterall, it’s easier to type in canny-creative.com than search “Canny” and end up with several undesired results!

Offline Advertising

Print advertising and other offline campaigns, can again help build direct traffic to your website.

Television, radio, and press campaigns, are an ideal way of doing this.

You can utilise clever print design to encourage people to visit your website directly.

And, with a catchy audio jingle (sonic branding) – you can drive people to your site.

Checkatrade TV Advert 2017 - YouTube

Think of the website CheckATrade – and you’ll instantly hear their domain name jingle:

“Checkatraddddeeee…… check a trade.com”

Offline advertising can work to grow your direct traffic, you just have to be clever with how you do it, and be very aware of your goals from the start.

QR Codes

Remember when QR codes were all the rage? It’s because they can land people directly onto your website.

Some people love them, others hate them, but they can help drive direct traffic.

If you have a QR code on your promotional and marketing material, or even on your stationery design, you’re making it exceptionally easy for people to land directly on your website.

Building Return Visitors

A lot of direct traffic is made up of return website visitors.

At Canny, around 25% of our website traffic is people that have been on our site before.

And when that’s the case, they usually come direct.

If they’ve seen an interesting blog post, or article, they could’ve saved it to their favourites, and returned to read it later. This, again, relies on creating great quality content.

Return visitors make up a large portion of direct traffic, so if that’s an area you’re looking to grow, try to hook people into your website and keep them coming back for more.

Direct traffic is possibly the hardest area to grow, but often, people coming directly either need your services right now, or have loyalty towards your brand, and are really interested in what you’re offering.

Referral Traffic

Referral traffic relies on getting other people to link out to your website.

And not many people are going to do that just because you asked. (And especially not if you’ve copied an email template to help you acquire backlinks!)

You need to be providing something of value.

Let’s take a look at some ideas:

Guest Posting

Guest posting on other websites is a great way to drive referral traffic back to your own site.

Sure, it requires a bit of time and effort to secure guest posting slots, and to write the post itself, but it can pay huge dividends in the long run.

You want to make sure you write a high quality post on the guest site, to make sure they get the maximum benefit.

Then, link out to one or two of your own posts, and again in your author block, and you should see a steady stream of referral traffic heading your way.

By producing quality content for guest sites, you maximise the chance of them having you back. And if it’s really great, they’ll share it out on social too!

Another bonus is that it scores you a highly coveted backlink to your own site too. So double points for guest posting!

Check out this guide from AHREFs about getting started with guest posting to build backlinks, in turn, building referral traffic.

Email Newsletters

Another great way to get referral traffic through to your website, is by producing a high quality email newsletter.

Again, this is another form of content creation.

One of our clients, Robbie Thompson, produces a great weekly newsletter that drives an insane amount of traffic to his website.

Every week, he shares tips, tricks, advice, and his best performing social posts, with his audience.

As a result, people click through to his site from the link in his footer, and check out what he’s been up to.

We’ve use a range of products at Canny to create our email newsletters, including:

      • Mailchimp
      • Convertkit
      • Active Campaign

All with a varying degree of success.

So, if you’re considering getting started with email newsletters, check out the options above, and see which is the best fit for your business.

Guestographics

Guest posting is one thing, but have you considered creating an infographic that you can then post on other websites?
This technique, pioneered by Brian Dene, is called using guestographics.

They infographics, that are also guest posts.

People love infographics, and having one to share on another website, can help you get a foot in the door.

Check out Brian’s post on Backlinko to help you get started.

Moving on…

Social Traffic

Social media is great. People are consumed by it. Such is life.

But the trick is getting people off your social channels, and onto your website. It’s no good if people won’t budge.

So, how exactly do you get people off their social network of choice, and onto your site?

High Quality Posts with a Call to Action

Remember the Gary Vee Content Model from earlier? That’s where this comes up shining.

You take your long form content, and split it down into bitesize, information, social media posts.

These high quality posts should be reinforced with a call to action, to drive people back to your website.

Afterall, it’s difficult to make a sale on social media, so you need to direct traffic back to your site.

Offers and Promotions

One great way of getting people to take action, is to run an offer or promotion.

Our client, The Shire Bakery, is great at this. During episodes of The Great British Bakeoff, they’ll run a flash sale, getting 10% off products at that time.

Clever promotions like this, that tie in with your user base are a perfect way to drive traffic from social media and onto your website.

Hit Them at the Right Time

If you run something like a restaurant, you might consider running adverts or posting around the time people are on their way home from work.

Catch them on their commute, and you can probably encourage them to book a table for that evening.

Being clever with timing your posts can help drive traffic.

The best time to post on social media is always up for debate, but Neil Patel shares some interesting results in this post.

You can measure your social traffic easily through Google Analytics.

It’ll highlight each channel, and show you where you’re getting most of your traffic from.

If you want to drive even more traffic from social media, then read on.

Paid Traffic

Paid traffic is relatively easy to grow, whether that’s through Google Adwords, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn advertising.

With Google Adwords for example:

You choose more keywords, set your bids, and invest more money.

Or on Facebook:

Refine your audience, create more relevant ads, and ramp up the investment.

Sounds simple, but how do you make the most of paid traffic when you have it?

Afterall, you don’t want your digital marketing spend going to waste.

Optimise Your Adverts

It’s no good just creating an advert, then forgetting about it.

The best adverts don’t look like adverts. Think about Instagram adverts. They slot right into your feed, and look interesting!

You should try and get your Google Adwords and Facebook ads to look natural too.

Once they’re set up, test them, test them, and test them again.

You can really squeeze your images, copy, and calls to action, to within an inch of their life, to drive you the best possible results.

And, then make sure you’re directing people to something relevant!

Don’t advertise “wooly socks” and drop them on a page that sells “wellington boots.” And definitely don’t send paid traffic to your homepage!

If you’re advertising on the words “wooly socks” make sure when they land on your page, they’re going to get a highly customised wooly sock shopping experience.

A/B Testing

And just like testing your adverts, you should be testing your landing pages.

A/B testing is where you test Version A of your page against Version B. The goal is to find out which of them converts better.

You can run a range of small tests including:

  • Call to action button colours
  • Text changes
  • Image changes
  • Layout and position changes
  • A different flow of information

To see which results in the best uplift in conversions.

Afterall, it’s no good having a website that doesn’t generate you leads or sales!

To make the most of your website, and make sure you convert as much of your traffic into leads, follow our web design tips.

Conclusion: How to Drive Traffic To Your Website

Learning how to drive traffic to your website is an important skill.

Especially if you’re looking to grow your business online. You simply can’t do that without a good amount of traffic.

Using the..

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Getting your website structure just right is a task you need to get right.

If not you will suffer consequences ranging from poor SEO, increased bounce rates, decreased conversions and poor user experience. This is simply the result of bad web design.

This blog post will inform you on how to get your website structure just right. You will then be on the road to having increased SEO, less bounce rates, more conversions and improved user experience.

Firstly we will talk about getting your website structure right on the design side of things, then we will talk about getting the structure right on the development (using your website design to inform your website structure) side of things.

Design Process Evaluating the goals of the website

Your website must have a set of goals. Some types of websites include marketing, sales, customer support, IT and HR.

Marketing websites should drive traffic, engage potential customers, generate those leads that you really really want and even re-engage with your existing (loyal) customers.

Sales websites should do the above but also includes closing those sales.

Customer support websites should allow you to improve customer satisfaction.

HR websites should be good at attracting and recruiting new employees and also support current employees.

IT websites should integrate with other IT systems whilst meeting security, performance and scalability needs/requirements.

These are just some of the types of websites that are available, as you can see from here, each website type has a different set of goals in order to achieve what the main purpose of the website is for – sales (should close sales), HR (should attract new employees).

Once the primary goals of your website have been identified, the next step in the process is to define the user journey.

Discussing the User Journey

The user journey is the path the user may take to reach their goal. Their goal should be what your website’s primary goal.

If your user’s intention is to buy a product, your website should be effective at closing sales.

Your website needs to meet your user’s intentions. To do this, you need to plan out the user journey.

This step entails understanding who is going to be using your website, map out the easiest journey, make sure your website can meet the user’s needs.

Before implementing the user journey on your website, you need to split each journey two categories. Awareness and consideration.

Awareness is the time your user finds you and your products. The discovery part.

Consideration is the part where your user is deciding if they want to buy the product/service. This is where a lot of touch points happen (a touch point is a time a customer comes into contact with your brand before, during and after they purchase your product/service).

If you’d like to know more about touch points, checkout our post on touch points. For this part, you need to make sure your users are highly engaged.

Acquisition is the conversion. The customer has made their decision and finally purchased your product/service. There are more steps after this, such as reconversion. (link/future post)

To create your user’s journey, you need to identify each step the user will take to achieve their desired actions. This is done by completing a user profile.

One example could be completing a user profile for shoppers (buyers who will be buying off your e-commerce site), from here you will be able to identify each step taken through the buying process.

A nice little example of a user journey for an e-commerce site could be:

User’s expectations:

    • The user thinks of something to buy
    • Expects to find a website with their desired product
    • Expects to add their products to the shopping cart
    • Expects to make a simple payment

Expects to receive notifications, tracking and finally their product.

Your website (mapping out the journey):

  • Home (awareness)
  • Category (awareness) – easy to find product
  • Product (awareness)
  • Add to cart (consideration)
  • Checkout (consideration) – eas checkout process
  • Conversion (acquisition) – your website is effective at meeting the user’s needs

There are many other examples, but this is enough to provide an idea of what this step entails.

Highlight key Calls to Action

If you have completed a user profile and have a good user journey plan in place, you should be able to highlight all the key call to actions.

Depending on your website’s goals, your website will have different call to actions, some examples include:

  • E-commerce – CTAs should be buy, add to cart, order, shop now
  • Newsletter – CTAs should be download, subscribe
  • Request more information – fill out this form, find out how

Not only does your website needs to have the correct call to actions, but they also need to be in the correct places. For example, your add to cart button needs to be in a clear and obvious place where your user would expect it to be.

Having call to actions in the wrong place have the potential to frustrate your user’s and they will simply not carry out your their goals (your website goals).

Create Site Map / Hierarchy

Now that your website goals, journey and call to actions have been discovered, the next step is to create a site map.

Creating a site map is a good way to start to organise all the information that is to be put on your website. Once this has been planned out, your site map will become your site’s navigation and URL structure during development.

To help with this process, it is important to:

  • Make a logical hierarchy
  • Improves crawling (we will get to later)
  • Have between two and seven categories
  • If you start to become flooded in categories it is time to reorganise your site’s information
  • Have a good balance of subcategories (within each category)

This can keep top-level categories between the perfect number.

Create Website Wireframes

A wireframe is a simple two-colour layout (black and white) that outlines the size, placement of page elements, site features/sections, conversion areas, editable areas and navigation.

The main focus here is to get down the site’s structure, like the HTML (structure) with no CSS (presentation/styling).

This makes it super easy to see how the website is made up and what each page is intended to do.

It is like the blueprint of a building, from where you can really start building the real thing.

In short, wireframes:

  • Display the site’s architecture visually
  • Clarifies any features
  • Makes sure each webpage is usable
  • Identifies updateable areas

Identifies any flaws in the design (prevents strenuous rework down the development line).

If you get the wireframing just right, you can confidently move onto the next step. Create the hi-res mockup.

If you are in the process of having a website designed, you need to make sure you have all the correct website features. This is a separate topic to this post, but we happen to have a post on just this called 50 must have website features for any business.

Create hi-res visual of design

Once you have your website’s structure nailed down in the wireframe, you can begin to add style, colour, shape and finally flesh out the unique design of all the components of your website.

Completing a hi-fidelity mockup of your website will make sure the structure works with the styling.

If something does not work, that section can easily be reworked in the wireframe, or the styling can be completely changed, with ease.

Having a wireframe and mockup will allow your client to see how their website could look and function through a visual perspective. This is simply better than explaining it to them.

We have discussed the importance of wire framing and hi-res mockups to get your website structure to where it needs to be. But, you simply need to have a good design if you want your well structured website to be effective.

Development Process (using your website design to inform your website structure) Website Handover

A website handover meeting usually entails the designer handing over their design to the developer (the one coding out your website).

Giving the developer the design is all well and good, but they need to know how each element works, what pages are for what, and where all the internal links link up to and what assets are for what.

For example, the designer can discuss with the developer how the primary navigation works on desktop, tablet and mobile. This may seem obvious from looking at the design, but a feature such as a drop-down menu can be difficult if not explained properly.

This is because the designer will want smooth animation effects to work in a particular way. This simply cannot be seen from a static mockup. Unless a prototype has been developed, but this can drastically eat into project time.

In short:

  • It gives your developer a design to work from.
  • It allows the designer to compare the developed website against their design, making sure everything is correct.
Website Hierarchy URL Structure that follows the hierarchy (permalinks)

Getting the website hierarchy correct during development is essential in order for your website to take your user’s through their journey.

Having incorrect links will lead users to the wrong place and may end up frustrating the user and having the incorrect hierarchy will confuse the user.

All links throughout the site from the primary navigation (parent and child links) as well as links from blog posts and call to actions need to go to the correct place.

For example, each individual blog post must take the user to the correct single page for that specific blog post. The contact call to action must go to the contact page (if that is the hierarchy of the website).

Not only this but the “hierarchy” of the permalink must match the hierarchy from the design. To make this simple if your website’s hierarchy from the design stage is:

yoursite.com/blog/blog-single

When you go to the blog single page, it must follow the same hierarchy structure, this means you need a parent blog page that houses all the individual blog posts.

This needs to be corrected as it lets the user know where they are currently on the site. This can be made even more obvious through the use of breadcrumbs (we will get to this soon).

On a final note, having the correct URL structure also affects SEO. We will get to this soon.

Semantic HTML

The first your developer will be doing is writing HTML to create the structure of the website.

You could compare this to the designer creating the wireframe – the structure with no styling, but in this case, the structure is the HTML with no CSS (styling).

To make sure your website complies with regulations, HTML needs to be well written. A simple example to make sense of this, is, providing labels for forms – labels aren’t always visible, but are important for accessibility software such as screen readers, as they read these labels.

Other semantic HTML includes paragraphs and headings.

Putting content in these tags allow the developer to identify what content is what (what’s a heading and what’s a paragraph), allows the web browser to render the elements at the appropriate sizes (heading text is generally larger than paragraph text) and allows search engines to pick up important headings and paragraph text.

Simply put, having heading tags means much more than having a simple span tag to style the text.

Meta Tags

As well as having semantic HTML, HTML meta tags must also be implemented.
A meta tag provides data about the HTML document (webpage) and is used by search engines, social media platforms and your browser.

For simplicity and clarification, we will use a social media example.

People like sharing content on social media, and if they see something they like on your website’s blog/post, they will probably want to share it on their social media platform.

When they share posts on social media, take Twitter as an example, it generally shows up with a nice large image with a bit of introductory text below it.

This is achieved using what is known as Twitter Cards. A Twitter card allows you to attach photos, videos and media experiences to Tweets.

Twitter cards are created using HTML meta tags, so it’s important that your developer implements the correct tags for your website’s needs (determined in the early stages – website goals and user journey).

SEO (development) SEO URLs

First things first, let’s talk about the URL structure as it’s fresh in our minds.

If your site has a good hierarchy and your site’s URLs follow this hierarchy, you will have well-formatted site links listed on Google. The links that are shown on Google SERPs (search engine result page) are your site’s main page along with several internal links.

This is a major advantage because they increase the usability of your site’s navigation, show user’s the most relevant information, increase click-through rate and shorten the conversion funnel.

If your site has a poor hierarchy or the site’s URLs do not follow the hierarchy, this will reflect on Google’s SERPs, either the wrong links will be present, or they simply won’t show at all.

SEO Better Crawling

A good site structure also means better crawling. Google’s web crawler Googlebot will crawl your website’s structure and index the content which shows your website on Google.

The better your website’s structure, the easier it is for Googlebot to crawl your site.

This is because according to Google, their site crawler may not discover everything on your website.

There may be pages that are not discovered or if URLs are not discoverable, Googlebot will not find them.

As long as your site has a good structure, it will have a better chance of discovering all the important content.

SEO Keywords

Keywords are words used throughout your website content that makes it possible for people to find your site on search engines.

For this to work, you need to know how people are searching for a product or service (your product/service). From here you include the keywords they use in your site.

The Most Optimal Site Structure

Now that we have talked about your site structure at a base level (wireframes, Hierarchy and URLs), let’s talk about your site structure on a higher level.

This includes what to have on your homepage (the content that will include site URLs) and categories (the elements of your site that will change the structure of the permalinks) as well as the individual pages that make up the rest of your site.

In short, you need a home page that displays the most important information that you want your users to see, then categories that will house the inner pages.

So let’s get to it.

Homepage

Your homepage should act as the main navigation “hub” for your user’s.
You do this by adding relevant URLs to the content of the homepage that link to other sections of your site.

These are what is known as internal linking. This is because they link to other sections of your site.

This can be achieved by using call to actions, and by adding links into the content of the text.

If done right, your visitors will end up going to the pages they need to go to (the pages that you also want your visitors going to).

One thing to keep in mind, do not include too many links on your homepage – just the relevant, most important ones

Simply put, your homepage should have sections that allow easy access to other areas of the website.

This could be smaller sections or snippets that make up other inner pages. One example could be three featured products listed on your homepage that link to the single product pages.

Inner Pages and Categories

To keep your inner pages (blog posts, products) organised, you need to include categories on your website. These categories will hold relevant blog posts or products.

For example, if you have a shopping website and have an inner page to list ski boots, you would have a category for ski boots and the URL structure would look something like this:

yoursite.com/shop/ski-boots/ski-boot
If you take away the category, you would just have:

yoursite.com/shop/ski-boot

This means if you have many other products such as hats, snowboards and accessories, these are all going to fall right below shop with no organisation.

What this means is your users and Google will struggle to understand the content of your website making it harder to navigate and list on Google’s SERPs.

However, if you have a well-planned structure from the beginning, organising content should be a breeze.

Taxonomies and Tags

On top of having categories to organise your content, you need to have taxonomies and tags.

Taxonomies are used to group relevant content together.

Tags are used to label something about the content (could label all the specific topics within the category).

To make the difference between categories (taxonomies) and tags clear – categories are like the table of contents of your website and tags are like the index.

Let’s list out what this could look like:

Categories:

  • Blog
  • Web Design
  • Web Development
  • Digital Marketing

Tags:

  • Website design
  • Website development
  • SEO
  • Blogging
  • Branding
  • Business
  • Logo design
  • E-Commerce
  • Blog site

If you are writing about a web design article, you could include website design, e-commerce, blog site and branding tags as these can all relate to the content of the web design post.

If you have good tags in place, you can allow the user to click through the tags to take them to other posts that also include website design, e-commerce, blog site and branding.

Navigation

It is all well and good having a good website structure and well-built homepage. However, you need to have clear top-level navigation that can easily be discovered/seen.

This consists of your top-bar (menu) and breadcrumbs (for large sites).

Menu

Your menu is the most common way your users will navigate your site. It simply shows them what’s on your website and helps them understand the structure of your website.

For example, if the top level pages are visible at all times such as the homepage, about page, blog page, services page and contact page. You would have the lower level (inner pages or child pages) links as child links.

This will generally take the form of a drop-down menu, where you hover over a link and more links are revealed.

An example of using this type of navigation could be the services page. You would have services listed on the navigation and any sub-services listed under this navigation.

So if you provide IT services, you could list IT services. Then under this, you could have cloud solutions, security and communications.

As you can see, this if you have structured your site well, it will also show in the navigation.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are handy for larger sites. It makes your site’s structure/navigation even clearer.

Not only do they show the structure of your site, but they change depending on where you are currently on the site.

This means breadcrumbs show your visitors where they currently are on your site.

Take a shopping website for an example. If your user was currently on the single product page, the breadcrumbs would reflect this as:

Yoursite.com – shop – ski-boots – ski-boot

From here they can click either ski-boots, shop or yoursite.com to go back to where they where. This saves them from having to use the menu in the top bar to navigate back to the shop page if that’s where they want to go back to again.

Contextual Internal Linking

We all know by now your site’s structure is made up of URLs/permalinks,..

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Getting your branding design right isn’t an easy task.

That’s why professional agencies that offer branding services exist. To take care of your company branding design for you.

Your branding design (or brand identity) is the visual representation of your brand strategy. It’s what you believe in and what you stand for as a company, brought to life.

Your brand identity is designed and developed to communicate directly with your target audience.

And it’s important to remember that throughout the entire branding process:

Your branding design is not for you. It’s for your customers.

You need to reach them directly, and if that flies in the face of the design you like, then so be it!

Remember, branding design and your brand identity is a marketing tool, and should be treated as such.

Whether working with a design agency, or going it alone, you should be looking to create a great brand identity for your business.

Let’s dive into our top branding design tips!

Start with Your Brand Strategy

You shouldn’t even be thinking about your branding design, or brand identity, until you have your brand strategy locked down.

If you’re unsure about your brand strategy, then check out our handy ten step guide to developing yours.

As a quick overview, you want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are our values?
  • What is our mission?
  • What story do we want to tell?
  • What does our target audience look like?
  • How will we reach them?

This should give you a good starting point.
At a bare minimum, you should be completely clued up about your customers;

Who are they? When do they come to us? Why would they choose us? Where do they shop? What do we do that’s different?

These are all questions you should be able to answer without hesitation.

However, do check out our brand strategy post if you need more assistance in creating your brand strategy.

Draw Out Your Branding Deliverables

With every branding design project, comes a list of ideal deliverables.

This list of deliverables can then be used to take to your branding agency, to help them put together a proposal for your project.

When creating a list of deliverables, break them into two categories:

  • Must have
  • Nice to have

Then, depending on your branding budget, you’ll be able to decide what to progress, and what to leave until later.

We have a longer post of branding deliverables coming in the near future, but as a quick overview, consider:

  • Logo design (vertical, horizontal, full colour, single colour)
  • Stationery design (letterheads, business cards, invoices, quotes, proposals)
  • Marketing materials (flyers, brochures, giveaways, roller banners, exhibition stands)
  • Online marketing materials (social media design, adverts, ebooks, whitepapers)
  • Website (design, development, ongoing maintenance)

It might sound strange considering your website as part of your brand – but there’s no bigger shop window for your business!

You should however have a separate website design budget.

Your branding deliverables will impact the cost of your project, but a good design agency should be able to help you split the cost over time.

At Canny, our one of our brand values is “partnership over profit” meaning we’ll always aim to help our clients maximise their spend.

Branding design services don’t have to cost the earth, but remember:

You’re investing in your business, when hiring an agency to design your brand identity.

By scrimping and saving, you’re setting yourself up for a rebrand in the future.

Remember to Research, Research, Research

Research is the key to good branding design.

Every single branding or web design project at Canny starts with a Discovery Session. Then, we move on to visual branding research.

We create a brand board, which is essentially the same as a mood board.

To do this, we use Pinterest.

We find Pinterest is great because it makes suggestions based on what you’ve pinned. It’s also a more familiar platform for our clients than the others.

What’s important to remember in this early stage, is that it’s equally important to pin things that don’t work, not just things that do work!

This brings several discussion points to the table, and helps to make your branding design project more focused.

Inject Your Personality

Repeat after me:

There are no original ideas. Again, there are no original ideas.

From Mozart, to Taylor Swift, from Warhol, to Bansky. They’ve all taken ideas and concepts by others.

So what makes them so successful?

It’s the way they inject their personality.

Andy Warhol famously painted Campbell’s Soup Tins, Marilyn Monroe, and a banana. But he injected his own style and personality.

And it’s the same with your branding.

What makes your business difference, is you. So try to reflect that in your branding design.

There are thousands of bakeries. What makes your bakery different? It’s you, and your personality, not your service offering.

If you’re always upbeat and positive, perhaps each of your donuts are glazed with a smiley face.

Then, maybe your smiling donut becomes your logo. Maybe you have badges made to give your customers. And you seal each box with a smiling donut sticker.

Or perhaps you’re a goth, and you go down the whole Voodoo Doughnuts route.

Either way, by injecting your personality into your business and brand, you can differentiate yourself successfully.

At Canny, we’re a friendly, relaxed, and approachable team. As a result, we find we attract clients with the same attitude towards business.

Injecting your personality into your branding can help attract customers and clients that resonate with you.

And that’s exactly what you want. You’re an extension of your customers, like a 3rd arm or leg.

That’s how you drive your brand loyalty through the roof!

Communicate and Connect with Emotion

Following on directly from injecting your personality into your branding design, don’t be afraid to show emotion.

You should strive to:

  • Be the first you, not the next someone else
  • Be innovative in your space
  • Be emotional.

Show some life behind your corporate face.

Behind the scenes videos, company profiles, waving email signatures, and smiling faces are great ways to use emotion to communicate on a business level.

But also think about connecting with emotion.

One of our favourite clients, Robbie Thompson, uses emotion perfectly in communication.

Rather than saying:

“I can help you lose weight.”

He says:

“Are you ready to look and feel the best you ever have?”

It’s emotive.

Remember:

People buy transformations, not services. And by using transformative language, you’re tapping into your audience’s emotions.

Don’t Over Egg the Pudding

Here’s a mistake that a lot of amateur designers, and people attempting to create their own brand identity, make:

They put their logo everywhere. And there’s really no need for it.

On your business cards, you don’t need your full logo and business name on both sides. Try going for the full logo on the reverse, and maybe just your logo mark on the back.

Try to be selective about what you use where.

Unless you have a brand identity based around bright colours (like Easyjet) – then try to hold back on the bright stuff, to really make an impact when you use it.

Rather than putting your full logo everywhere you can, try using subtle nods to it.

Does your logo feature dots? Or straight lines?

Why not create a pattern from that, and utliise the pattern, rather than your logo design again.

Something else people do with their branded products, is make their logo design as big as it can be. And nothing screams amateur more than that.

Whitespace is a godsend. Use it properly.

Keep It Simple

Speaking of whitespace…

Keeping everything clean and simple is often the best way to quickly add a professional feel to your branding design.

You’ve heard “keep it simple, stupid” over and over again. It’s relevant in branding design too.

Why?

Well, first of all, let’s look at your logo mark.

It needs to be simple, so it can scale down to a tiny little square for social media. But then, it also needs to be simple enough to be easy to understand as you whizz past in on a billboard.

If you have staff uniforms, it’s going to need to be easy enough to either print or embroider onto those.

The more fussy linework or colours you have, the more tricky and costly things like having uniforms made will be.

We’ve already wrote about creating an effective logo design, and the tips we share there are still true today.

Be Easy to Understand

To have an effective business or brand, people must understand you.

Don’t tell a complicated story.

In fact, when writing your brand story, write it once, throw it away, then write it again.

You need to make sure your brand story packs a punch (preferably an emotional punch), in the shortest amount of time possible.

Then by the same token, you need to make sure your branding design is also easy to understand.

The best brands in the world, have some of the most straightforward brand design:

  • Apple
  • McDonalds
  • Nike

There’s nothing complex about their main business branding. And that’s why we always refer to them as the pinnacle of the branding world.

In our fast moving world, the easier something is to understand, the better. Remember, keep it simple, stupid!

Don’t Confuse Your Logo or It’s Purpose

In the spirit of being easy to understand, you need to make sure your logo isn’t confusing.

Your logo is meant to be easy to understand and easy to recognise. It’s the mark that your business can rally behind.

It’s also not the only part of your brand identity.

A logo rarely has meaning by itself. It needs backed up by the rest of your brand identity.

For example:

Nike’s swoosh, is simply a tick.

Without their advertising spend, it would have no meaning.

Your logo design is your symbol, but a symbol should stand for something.

Make sure you have a strong business that sits behind your brand identity. Afterall, you can’t polish a turd!

The best branding in the world wouldn’t save a business that was doomed to fail from the start.

Consistency is Critical

One thing you need to do across your brand, is ensure consistency.

Inconsistent branding can ruin your integrity and professionalism.

You should strive for consistency in everything you do.

Make sure that:

  • You use one logo file when sending things to print
  • You use the same printers where possible, to ensure your colours stay consistent
  • You don’t chop and change things at will

To stay as consistent as possible, always refer to your brand guidelines.

Use Your Brand Guidelines

Your brand guidelines should be handed over to you by your branding agency on conclusion of your project.

From there, you’ll have a reference guide for all of your branded material going forward.

As a minimum, your brand guidelines should include:

  • Logo sizes and dimensions
  • Logo usage
  • Spacing
  • Colours
  • Typography

This is the bare minimum that will help you to ensure a level of brand consistency across your business.

Create Templates for Your Branded Items

In line with staying consistent across your brand, you should be creating templates to use across your business.

By having key document templates set up from day one, you can ensure a consistent brand experience, and make your life easier.

At Canny, we have templates for several key documents, including:

  • Invoices
  • Contracts
  • Presentations
  • Stationery
  • Marketing Materials

One thing we don’t template, is our proposal. Because each design project is different.

However, we do have a front and back cover that we use each time.

There’s nothing wrong with this type of templated document. It’s templated websites we have a problem with!

Make Your Social Media Sexy

Social media has risen to heights nobody ever imagined. People seem to spend more time on Facebook and Instagram in a day, than doing anything else.

Your business’ social media channels should be a “go to” for your customers.

By posting news, blogs, and insightful thought pieces, you’re putting out great, highly targeted, relevant content that resonates with your audience.

But you need to make sure your social channels look good too!

Without a well branded channel, you’ll look instantly amateurish.

So on each channel consider:

  • Your avatar
  • Your header
  • What your posts look like

The aim of your social channels, is to drive traffic to your website, and ultimately make sales.

Always remember this:

Social to site. Not site to social.

Your social media feeds your website, not the other way around!

Choose the Right Font

Let’s get into some specifics of branding design.

First, let’s look at fonts.

Fonts create feelings. So it’s important that you choose the right font and feeling for your business.

Sans-serif fonts tend to look more modern, while serif fonts look classic and traditional.

Some see this as “new vs old” but that’s not the case at all.

The Guardian do a great job of making a serif feel new, and modern. But it still gives them a classic, trustworthy edge.

You can find good fonts in several places, including:

  • Google Fonts
  • Adobe Typekit
  • Type Foundries

If you’re trying to keep the costs down, use a Google Font. Typekit comes with a subscription model. And by using Type Foundries, you’ll be getting into paying for a license per font family or weight.

Be careful with what you choose, as your font will impact the rest of your branding design.

Careful with Colour

Colours work the same was as fonts.

Colours play on psychology, and we all have a psychological link to each colour.

A lot of major bankings use blue, as it’s seen as trustworthy, which is what you want from your bank.

Green is eco-friendly and fresh, symbolising growth. That’s why a lot of natural products and companies use it.

Helpscout have a great article on colour psychology.

They suggest:

  • Yellow is for optimism, clarity, and warmth
  • Orange is friendly, cheerful, and excitement
  • Red is exciting and bold (but could also mean danger!)
  • Purple represent creative, imaginative, and wise
  • Blue is used for trust, dependency, and strength
  • Green is peaceful, for growth, and health
  • Grey is balanced, neutral, and calm

Colour plays a huge role in your branding design and brand identity.

Pay close attention to what you want to communicate, and choose colours that help with that.

Test It in Black and White

From full colour, to no colour at all.

It’s important that your branding works in both full colour and black and white.

Here’s the deal:

People still photocopy things and print documents at home. Usually, that’s in black and white.

So, make sure your branding design works in these situations too.

To do that, again, simplicity is key.

If you use all sorts of overlapping colours and gradients in your identity, you’re going to come unstuck when you need to strip it down to one colour.

Think carefully when designing your brand, and make sure it can work in one colour too.

Seek Feedback

Seeking feedback is a great way to find out whether your branding is hitting the mark.

However:

You need to make sure you’re getting the feedback from a relevant audience.

Here’s the deal, asking:

  • Your family
  • Your friends
  • Your dog or cat

Is not going to help.

If you’re looking for feedback on concepts, or visuals, then you need to run it by people in your target audience.

You can do that by getting out into the wild, and simply surveying relevant looking people. Or, use Facebook adverts to drive people to an online survey.

Feedback can play a critical role in a branding design project, it just has to come from the right place.

Keep a Reference Board

A reference board is different to the research board we created earlier in the branding process.

We keep a Canny board on Pinterest at all times. In there, we’ve sectioned it to include;

  • Office
  • Stationery
  • Marketing ideas
  • Advertising
  • Brochures

And when we come across things we want to remember, we drop them in there.

Then, when it comes to launching a campaign, or redecorating our office, we have a bank of ideas and inspiration to draw from.

Get Your Team Onboard

A key component in business branding, is your team.

Your team has to embrace your new brand vision for it to become a success.

How you involve your team in the launch of your new brand, depends on the size of business you run.

If you’re a small team, a pizza party and presentation often works wonders.

If you operate a bigger business, then consider a brand launch party. Free drinks, music, goody bags with new branded items etc.

You need to explain the strategy and vision, before you present the identity.

We’re going to post again in the near future about rolling out a new brand identity, but for now, the ideas above should help.

Explore Using Video

Video isn’t specifically related to the design of your branding, but as you can utilise video in some critical brand touchpoints, we thought it was a worthy inclusion.

With Youtube being the second largest search engine in the world, we’re recommending every single one of our clients start to explore using video.

According to Forbes Insight research, 59% of senior executives would rather watch a video than read text. And, of those people, most of them will click through to your website for additional information.

Video is friendly, and customer focused. It helps people put a face and voice to a name!

One of our favourite things we’ve seen with video, is people using it as a video signature.

A small animated GIF of you waving, that then links to a 30 second introduction to you as a person.

It instantly builds rapport!

When it comes to your branding design, you probably want to consider:

  • What an animated version of your logo looks like
  • How other branded elements could animate
  • What your brand sounds like

If you’re not sure how to get started with video, check out Wistia’s blog.

They share some great advice on getting started.

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When it comes to business rebranding, there are plenty of different reasons why it is undertaken. It could be an update to make the brand more flexible, it could be a total overhaul as the business has gone down a different route.

But other than looking presumably much better. The success of a rebrand also comes down to making a noticeable and profitable difference to the business.

Below we have brought together some successful business rebranding examples. Showing different ways to inspire your potential business rebrand.


Credit to Onwards Agency

Hussle

Hussle used to be a company called “Pay as you gym”, you might have seen their adverts on TV. This is a great rebranding example, showing how a drastic change can be exactly what is needed.

The old name is incredibly literal but the new “Hussle” branding brings a more conceptual and exciting brand message. Consumers likely to use this brand are on the go, savvy and like to make the most out of the time they have to exercise.

A name and brand visual that projects this in all its materials was the outcome. The old brand feels less thought through and unconsidered. Whereas the new rebrand is an example of how tapping into your consumers can really make your brand appealing. And not only to them consumers, but potential new consumers who want to be like that.


Credit to Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney at the moment seems to be taking over the world with movies, TV, streaming services and of course above all that, the fact they own Star Wars. But some of their branding in certain areas needs a little updating.

The Hollywood Studios logo looked very much the same as I imagine it did when I ventured over to Disneyland Florida many years ago when I was 6. To be honest I do like a multitude of old design styles but it did seem very dated.

This studio’s logo rebrand will bring a cleaner design approach to a younger audience getting to grips with Disney. Some may say its losing its charm. But it was a necessary update to help move the brand in line with a new generation of consumers.


Credit to Deezer

Deezer

Deezer has always been a slight outsider to all the other big music streaming services. It always looked a little less refined. But with this rebrand it has brought itself, visually at least, in line with its competitors. Looking to make a bigger dint in the marketplace.

Lowercase fonts are the go to option at the moment, bringing a more relaxed, friendly and inviting approach.

Bring this together with some more up to date colour choices, gradients and a more considered layout. They have rebranded very well in my eyes.

Even when you see this brand applied throughout the website. You get a much more inclusive and engaging website, allowing consumers to view and purchase easily, which lets be honest is what a company wants.


Credit to Google

Google Ads

If you have done any digital marketing or even dipped into using the full extent of google’s offerings. It can get pretty confusing. So Google has tried to remedy at least a small part of this with an attempt to simplify certain things.

Google Adwords became Google Ads and a few other products changed like Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager. This allowed them to take the opportunity to make some simple changes to the branding.

Bringing them all under a similar visual style of curved edges and similar colour tones. It may be a simple difference but it is amazing how it has made the full product range a more cohesive brand offering. They are now all part of the same tree rather than feeling like separate products.


Credit to Gulf Oil

Gulf Oil

Along with Google, the Gulf Oil rebranding example is nothing groundbreaking. It is tidying and sorting to make sure the brand is flexible enough to use.

Looking at the old logo is actually quite hard after seeing the new logo. The new logo typography has been tidied up and new bold outlining makes the logo stand out. The colours have also been softened becoming more friendly and inviting. In doing this it makes the logo more appealing in the process.

A big thing with rebranding when you are a big company is to try and keep the brand equity you have built up over the years. Gulf do a good job in making a change but not pushing the boat out to much to lose the brand itself.

As we have seen with the first example in this post, making a drastic change can be just as successful. So its always worth exploring both options in the early stages of a rebranding project.


Credit to Trip.com

Trip.com

Trip.com is one of the world’s leading online travel sites. And there rebrand really gets down to the interaction side of dealing with customers. Yes a new swanky logo can do a nice job, but understanding your consumers should always trigger thoughts of rebranding.

Looking through the project outcome for Trip.com is amazing. They have got down to small things such as the motion of text on a screen. This extensive dive into your brand can take a lot of testing. But researching into how consumers interact with the brand can pay off in the long run.

So if you are doing a rebrand, make sure you know your customers and target audience inside out. You can then build a brand that works for them and keeps them coming back. But don’t forget, your target audience is constantly changing. So make sure your rebrand is flexible.


Credit to Glitschka Studios

Kiwi

The Kiwi brand has been around for tens if not hundreds of years (its main thing is shoe polish, you will recognise it). With the old brand you could tell it was looking tired and dated.

But the problem is making sure you don’t lose all that history and recognition in a rebrand while still making a considered step forward. Kiwi have done this by creating a bold and confident Kiwi character. Partnered with the bold brand name gives a much needed update to the brand.

Everything still holds its brand recognition with the bright red colour and the simplicity of the setup. Kiwi is a great example of a solid rebrand. Nothing to drastic but a considered approach to bring the brand into a new part of its history.


Credit to Staples

Staples

Staples in the US has been making an attempt to build on there office supply services since 2017. This prompted a rebrand to push towards expanding these services.

They have brought in a totally new brand identity with new messaging and its own product range. For all the logo is very simple it works in context with its messaging.

Staples have realised if they wanted to push a different side to their business. They need to market towards this and this meant changing the brand visuals completely to do this. So if you are pushing a certain service or moving into something new. Rather than a singular advertising campaign, think about a possible rebrand.

But don’t rush, this should not be a decision taken lightly. It needs plenty of thought. But it does offer another route, rather than dropping a single campaign.


Credit to Jones Knowles Ritchie

Dunkin

Dunkin is similar to Staples above. But they made a change after realising the coffee offering is hugely successful. So to not create confusion with customers the “Donut” was dropped. We have featured Dunkin in another post we did about food packaging design.

Some would say it is quite a simple change, some would say it is drastic. It has always been known as “Dunkin Donuts”. But as the brand has developed into one of the biggest food brands in the states, it no longer needed to build brand recognition.

As a brand grows its target audience also grows. And as businesses add offerings and services, the main contributor to the business can change, and with that change, a brand also has to change. So after a rebrand the identity needs to be kept on top of. This is why we offer a partnership rather than a project, we want to keep evolving your brand and so should you.


Credit to Collins

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is a marketing platform for small businesses and has been constantly expanding since it opened its doors 2001. As they continue to grow they have created a new brand.

The old brand had disjointed elements and hierarchy issues, which needed tidying. But the main thing for Mailchimp was to not lose what made them appealing to their first customers. But make sure they also look like a more coherent brand.

They wanted to keep the elements that made them… them. And there is nothing wrong with that. Don’t feel you have to step in line with bigger companies or anyone else because you want to get to that stage. You have to be you and a brand has to show you as you are and what differentiates you from others. Especially in today’s world where every consumer is looking for something a little different.


Credit to Wieden and Kennedy

Formula 1

Now most of the examples in this post will be very successful. To a point so will this Formula One logo, but the title of this post is “Course Altering”. And the new Formula 1 rebrand came with a lot of contention from fans and designers alike. If you want to read a little more about the rebrand. We have featured it in another post about sports branding.

An opinion we read was even though the existing logo was old and a little outdated. The F1 logo brought with it a seal of quality, similar to the olympic logo. Which we agree with, but I also like the idea of constant change, and nothing in this world is set in stone.

After seeing it all over for a couple of years now I have come to like it. But it is a reminder that the customer is always right. So if you are going to rebrand, make sure you have done your homework before you make the step.

In the same token, don’t be afraid to make a statement and do something different. If you understand some customers won’t like it but it is something you can deal with. Then make the step, just be prepared in a world where everyone has an opinion, how much the digital world can affect your business.


Credit to Only

The British Academy

Similar to the Formula 1 brand, The British Academy had an air of quality and academic pedigree behind it. The normal approach in a rebrand would be to make sure they hold onto that tightly.

And for all we still think they do, The British Academy took a different approach. In times of major division and the wrong information, they want to push past this academic pedigree. To get to the heart of problems and help people progress.

This approach opens the door to connect with its users on a more social level. In doing so they are interacting and reacting to users, pushing across a clear message. The British Academy does this with a foundation of strong typography.


Credit to Dragon Rouge

Macmillan Cancer Support

Although the new and old logos look very similar. The Macmillan rebrand is a big effort to make sure they can appear across every platform possible with no issues. Making sure that everyone who needs there support can access it and know it exists.

Simpler things like making the logo slightly smaller and creating a social platform logo can go a long way to extending your brand reach. A lot of big brands are creating more flexible versions of there branding to great effect.

This constant changing, from laptops to phones, from phones to watches. Means you have to keep on top of how your brand looks and be constantly developing it. Rebranding can be a small and large project, but it has to make sure you stay relevant.


Credit to Dinamo

MFO

MFO was in dire need of a rebrand. The logo itself reminded me of something from my big grey windows 95 computer from the mid 90’s. MFO is made up of 3 musical organisations coming together to form one company. Supporting any artistic professional through a multitude of ways.

Using elements that represent the movement, intensity and rhythm of the musical and artistic form. They have created a brand with many logos. This diversity in their logo sits perfectly with the organisation. Creating a constantly changing brand logo much like the constant change in the musical and artistic forms.

Although the logo has many different variations the same style is used throughout. Bringing through all the different emotive feelings you get from art forms in one style.


Credit to Lovers

Alexandra Palace

Often through years of business your marketing approach and your brand can begin to feel a little fragmented. With plenty of different styles and campaigns coming through. This can be a great time to rebrand. Bring a fresh face to the brand and consolidate all your efforts moving forward.

Alexandra Palace is a great example of this. Rebranding to create a more coherent brand strategy and visual. But a logo is not the be all and end all. You need to look deeper into how your brand is used throughout its consumer reach.

Setting up this strategy can seem a little silly and necessary. And surely when you have picked your fonts and colours everything will be fine? Wrong! How, When and Why you use your brand elements are key to a successful and coherent rebrand. Alexandra Palace has the main logo font and a separate display font.

Looking through there branded items you get a feel for when each font is used and how it is used. The display font being the larger heading option and the other being used to display information. This is the tip of the iceberg, you can delve deep into your brand and explore how it works.


Credit to Mr B And Friends

Bristol City Football Club

We have seen a lot of football teams take the plunge and rebranding the common coat of arms design. Some looking back to there history to inspire new club crests, like Manchester City. And some taking a different approach like Juventus. Most are successful updates, but some are met with a little more resistance. So much so they sack off a rebrand all..

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Digital marketing. Those two words alone have often left many business owners feeling a little out-of-depth, despite their efforts to tread waters in the marketing world.

It has been the topic of many blogs (this one adding to the masses), and still remains the one thing that all of us need help and guidance with.

For a quick explanation, digital marketing is how a business electronically markets its products or services to a target audience.

So, is a post on a social media platform like Facebook considered digital marketing?

Yes.

What about purchasing digital advertising services like Google AdWords, is that digital marketing?

Yes!

Are interactive product tutorials considered?

Yes! That’s digital marketing too.

Looking to get your business started with digital marketing? Then our Digital Marketing 101 guide is here to help you.

The Old Ways

Before we dive into digital marketing, let’s cover the old ways.

Over the years, business tycoons have used every trick-of-the-trade – in order to outsource their brand and gain a wider audience, enabling them to grow their business, and reach their lofty ambitions.

You’re probably aware of some of the long-standing marketing techniques of old:

  • Telemarketing
  • Newspaper
  • Advertising
  • Radio Broadcasting
  • Cold Calling

That’s just to name a few!

And the one that sticks in everyone’s minds is billboards.

Yes. I said it. Billboards.

But now, in this age run by smartphones and digital technology, those old marketing tools are simply a thing of the past. They are outdated and “old-fashioned”, lying somewhere between vintage and geriatric in the marketing world.

Not to mention that this is an expensive way to get your brand message across.

While we don’t feel that billboards are entirely useless when it comes to advertising your business, we’re here to let you know that there are other (perhaps more effective and cheaper) ways to market your business.

In order to make marketing a success for your business, you need to use strategies and techniques that will create lasting bonds with your target audience.

You need to make your name linger in their minds – so much so that they will come running to you to rectify their problems.

Let’s focus on marketing strategies that will enrich and extenuate your brand.

A Brief History of Digital Marketing

Digital marketing has been around for years which may surprise you, since most people associate it with things like online banner ads or social media posts.

Digital advertising began with the invention of the radio around 1900. Up until that point, the public didn’t have a way to access information outside of the written word, so to hear advertisements over the radio was a big deal.

The radio and its role in delivering digital messages is considered an “offline” digital marketing tool and was integral in shaping how people sent and received marketing messages.

Today, we buy subscriptions to radio services like Pandora and Sirius XM to avoid hearing these same kinds of commercials people marvelled at in the 1900s.

As time marches on, so too does marketing and how consumers prefer to receive information.

Hello, World Wide Web!

In terms of major milestones in marketing communications, the TV was the next big event giving marketers a black and white, then colourful, way to deliver messages about their brands.

The introduction of the Internet to the public in the 1990s was a huge milestone in the marketing world.

Since many homes now had personal computers, the Internet gave businesses seemingly limitless ways to engage and sell to their target audience.

This “World Wide Web” provided a 24/7 medium that allowed businesses to advertise directly to their consumers, not to mention the data mining possibilities, customer support, and social engagement opportunities that would soon appear on the horizon.

Enter the New Age of Digital Marketing

First things first:

It is important to understand digital marketing is not just “one thing” a new business owner must “do” to gain online attention and market share.

It’s a continual practice of presenting your brand through digital marketing assets and methodologies in an innovative way that grabs the attention of your consumer.

And to do it effectively, you need a solid digital marketing strategy.

According to Wired, the average adult Brit spends more time online than doing anything else in their life.

Their research shows that the average person spends nearly nine hours each day on media and communication, and at least 98% of homes and businesses have access to 4G Internet access from at least one provider.

That means your audience is ready and waiting to see some killer digital marketing from your business. The term “digital marketing” might leave you scratching your head, after all — what is it anyway?

Simply put, it’s when you make an effort to sell your products or services using electronic devices.

Your digital marketing efforts might consist of:

  • Your website
  • SEO
  • Local SEO
  • Online Ratings and Reviews
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay Per Click
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Chat Bots
  • Backlinks
  • Messaging
  • Marketing Automation

As this is Digital Marketing 101, let’s take a crash course!

Your Website

Some business may just have a social media page for their business portal. But, nothing can replace a good business website.

Follow our top web design tips to make sure your business website is doing the best job it can for your business.

This is the home of your business. People will go to your website when they want to find out more about you.

A website that’s been designed by a website design agency, offers a more professional and tailored experience than if you don’t have a website.

This is because you can have a site designed and developed exactly to your business needs.

Whereas having a social media page, may end up looking like other business social media pages.

It also ties you into a platform, making them responsible for your business’ online success, but that’s a different post altogether!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Being a sharp and savvy entrepreneur, you’ll know full well what is meant by Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Many online sites describe SEO as the array of techniques used to “increase the number of hits” on your website in order to get you high on the search engine list, as it were.

But this up-to-date marketing technique brings about many great things for your business. Especially if you don’t fall into one of the common website design complaints that real website visitors make.

You are optimising your online content and you are, in effect, getting your brand name to stand out from the rest by getting consumers to search for you.

You are exactly what they are looking for, and they can see that from the first few pages of Google.

So swatting up on the best SEO techniques will help you and your business to stream past other marketers, and get you in the visual line of your consumers.

You’re then just one click away from boosting your business.

Local Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Put simply, if you have a local business such as a shop, optimising your website also means making sure people can still find you in real life.

Let’s put together a scenario to gain a better understanding of this:

If you are not getting customers into your physical building, but are targeting an audience that is in your geographical area, you need to capitalise on local SEO.

First of all, claim your free Google Business listing.

Then, you can write about your local area, as well as mentioning other areas close by. You should also add your business to other local search directories and indexes.

Doing this is called using citations to grow your local SEO efforts.

Online Ratings and Reviews

Online ratings and reviews are a big factor when it comes to digital marketing. This is because people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Bright Local suggest:

86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses and 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers are the ones that trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

You can have your business reviewed on:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Trustpilot

There are more options, but you should start with these three!

Content Marketing

This is one of the most important steps when it comes to digital marketing, and it takes innovation and planning to get this right.

Content marketing is an ongoing, formulated plan that you as a business or company owner creates in order to establish strong, meaningful relationships with your objective audience.

Find out how we grew Canny into a six figure business through blogging alone.

It entails crafting first-class, usable content that speaks to your audience and holds meaning for them.

They can see that what they are receiving from you is to their benefit, and you never let them down in this regard. It is reliable and consistent marketing that will reach the hearts of consumers and will get them using your services regularly.

Content marketing is about creating a story that will engage your target audience and make them feel a part of it – make them feel like the protagonist of your business.

The way you word your brand and portray yourself on digital media holds such a powerful influence on your consumer and will then be remembered by them.

That being the case, the visible design of all your content needs to be applicable to your audience and true to your brand.

Think about how the look and feel and design of your content will come across to your audience. This should be considered as part of your brand strategy.

Make sure your products and services are structured in such a way that will add volume to your content and increase how much your audience consumes.

Your content involves everything related to your business or company – your website, email features, print ads, blog posts and images – all of it!

Making sure everything is accurate and designed with the consumer in mind will fast track your business and market it right onto your doorstep. To ensure this happens, work with a professional design agency to help you!

Content marketing includes things like:

  • Blog posts
  • White papers
  • Ebooks
  • Social content
  • Landing pages

Each of these should provide valuable information to a specified target market so that when it’s time to buy, they know who to trust.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms or websites to market your business and sell whatever it is you sell.

It’s how you share with your audience the outstanding content you’ve created, and it provides a way to communicate with your target market so your brand remains top-of-mind when they do need your product or services.

By being the newest (and one of the most effective) forms of growing your business, marketing using social media can skyrocket your brand and draw you closer to your target audience.

Various entrepreneurs have used a variety of social media platforms to promote their services and products using simple, but effective, approaches.

It enables your consumers to share, comment and like media, products, and services you have produced. In turn, allowing you to start building a relationship with them through the small chunks of social media interaction you share together.

One huge plus in favour of social media marketing is that it is a less direct, more effective way of getting existing clients to take up your services or, even better, refer you to others.

Comparing social media marketing to email marketing, it’s true that the latter can seem a little overt and pushy (despite its track record of success), it is, in some ways, an older marketing technique when compared to marketing on social media.

Think about every time you get an email from a company that you may or may not have subscribed to.

How many times do you actually open that email? And when you do, how many times do you actually do something about it?

Exactly.

In comparison, social media marketing stands it’s ground when it comes to consumers viewing, reading and even sharing content.

It is so easy to do, and everyone’s on it!

Getting involved with new internet technology and media will streamline your business and get your brand into the viewer’s minds, hauling in more clients who will spread the word with just one click.

Email Marketing

To be honest, email marketing may be considered an older form of digital marketing and may seem a little dated in terms of how it looks to customers.

But, when done effectively, it can revive old clients that you haven’t heard from in a while. And it may even get them using your services again.

You are letting your target audience know what you are doing and how it can benefit them by sharing your updates via your email list. They see it and automatically think of you and what you can offer them.

If they are an old client, they may remember how you solved their business problems and got them to where they are today.

And yes, they may not do anything there and then, but your steady and consistent stream of updates will let them know that you are always there for them when they need you.

But, as stated before, some facets of email marketing are outdated.

You need to be careful not to come across as desperate by pushing your services like you’re selling groceries.

No one’s going to buy into a “you can’t do without it!” type slogan. That’s been and gone and is old news, just like those billboards we mentioned earlier.

Try to see email marketing as a way to keep your company in the minds of your audience and a way to gently knock on their digital door.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Pay-per-click advertising is exactly how it sounds:

Advertisers pay a fee each time their ad is clicked by a visitor so they essentially buy visits to their site.

When you use a search engine and the first two links appear shaded, or are a different colour or if they outright say they are an advertisement, those are PPC ads.

A business bids on keywords so that when a visitor searches for what they sell, their ad appears. Each time that ad is clicked, the business pays the search engine a small fee.

As a digital marketer, you may decide to invest in this form of technology by paying for your ads to be seen and clicked, therefore increasing traffic and readers to your site.

Here’s the deal:

In terms of digital marketing, it is a quick and easy way of winning traffic. Pay per click adverts allows potential customers to see your name above your competitors.

Again, this boils down to your content marketing and the design and user-friendliness of your ad being effective.

When executed correctly, you will source traffic instantly by the nature of the ad alone.

As with everything else, you are in control of how your brand translates to your audience; therefore how your ad is viewed online will depend on how you have created it.

Remember
The content and design of your advert will have a deep bearing on how your message transcends to your target audience. So make it count.

The best strategy for using PPC adverts, is to use dedicated landing pages for your newfound traffic, rather than directing everyone to your website’s homepage.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning money by recommending and marketing another business’ products or services in return for a commission if your efforts result in a sale.

Based on your industry, there are opportunities to team up with different enterprises like sellers, distributors, and manufacturers to promote what they have to offer in exchange for a percentage of the sale.

In simple terms:

You can increase your business earnings by generating income from other companies marketing for you.

You outsource your ads to others who then make the sale, and you then generate a steady stream of income from what they make.

Of course, it then means you have to be diligent when it comes to choosing others to market for you. Your brand and your clients are the most important thing, so no matter how you choose to connect with existing and new customers, you must keep in mind how you are visually appearing to outsiders.

Always think of ways to attract and retain your target audience!

Chat Bots

To engage with people who go on your website, you can use chatbots. These can engage with potential customers in various ways from helping them navigate your website to answering frequently asked questions.

This will save you time answering the same questions over and over again and can provide quicker responses than if you were typing the answers yourself.

We’ve secured several highly qualified leads through the chatbot we use on our website.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can dramatically help you with your digital marketing.

Here are some pros of marketing automation:

  • You can automate repetitive tasks such as following people who tweet about your business
  • It allows you to send emails to people who fill out forms on your website
  • You can even schedule your blog posts and social media posts.

If you are serious about digital marketing, you should consider automating some of the processes to make your life easier. But before you do that, you need to have a marketing plan put in place, which we will get to soon.

First, let’s take a look at a company who excel at digital marketing.

Ever Heard of TOMS Shoes?

Of course you have!

First of all:

A successful digital marketing campaign tells a compelling story through a variety of mediums. This story resonates with a businesses’ target market and keeps them engaged and interacting with the brand on a consistent basis.

TOMS do exactly that.

They operate a One for One® business model developed by the Founder Blake Mycoskie that helps a person in need for every product sold by the company.

TOMS Shoes has helped others by providing over 60 million pairs of shoes to children in need, and TOMS Eyewear has given the gift of sight to those who need help thanks to the same “buy one, give one” model.

The company also have initiatives to provide safe water solutions to countries in need and birth kits to remote areas to help women safely deliver their children.

How TOMS Succeeds in Digital Marketing

Every successful digital strategy starts with a story that resonates with its consumers, and as a company, TOMS has plenty of these heartwarming stories to share while promoting their product and brand.

Let’s take a look at an example of how they use digital marketing to sell and..

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Introduction

The 50 Must-Have Website Features For Any Business covers just that.

There are pages that your business website needs in order to be effective. These are the Home Page, About Page, Services/Product Page, Pricing page, Who We Help Page, Blog/Testimonial/Case Study Pages, Contact Page, and the general page templates that can be used for the legal information such as the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

These pages will always always have blocks (the features needed) of content that make up the page and the website as a whole.

These are the features your business website need in order to function and present content the admins and users expect.

The features that are to be discussed can be applied to any page. It is the design and needs of your business that will determine where these features are implemented, or even excluded.

An example for the home page would be Header, Hero Section, Service/Product Section, Facts Section, Who We Help Section, Contact Form, Testimonials, and the Footer.

We will also cover other features that are critical to your business website’s success that do not make up a webpage. So without further ado, lets get started.

Top Level Domain

The Top level domain name must be carefully considered. It what shows up on Google and is seen by everyone.

Your top level domain must be relevant to your business, aimed toward your target audience, be industry specific. As long as you have a well thought out Domain Name, it will go hand in hand with SEO as the keywords used throughout your website will match your domain name.

Search Form

Having a search form on your business website means your users can quickly search for the content they need on your website.

This is especially useful if your website is going to have a lot of content. This is because it can save the user going through pages and pages of pagination, thus, allowing the user to see what they need quickly. However, if your website does not have much content, it may not be needed.

Clear Messaging

Your website needs to be effective at getting the correct message across to your target audience, this can be what it is you do, the product or service you provide, and how you help clients/customers. This can be achieved with good design and well thought out content.

Your site needs to have the correct pages and have different sections that make up the webpage in the correct/relevant places. Further down this list, you will see the sections that are needed for your business website.

it is absolutely critical that you get the design of your website right. We have a neat post on our web design process, so check it out if you’d like to know more about this.

Readable (meaningful) URLs

There are different URL formats for websites, some simple examples include: including the page ID as a number, displaying the date, or just displaying the page name. In general, it is good practice to just display the page name. This is because it looks clean and concise and the user can easily see what page they are on.

On top of this, if they want to share the page or post, having a clean URL means users on other platforms can easily identify where the link will be taking them.

Good Content

Content is king. Content drastically affects SEO, it isn’t just about the focus keywords, you need the good content to go along with the keywords.

Good quality content can be added all over your website (from the home page to the blog pages). Simply put, if you have bad content, your users will likely leave the page they are on increasing your bounce rate, thus, reducing SEO. If you would like help with SEO, we provide marketing services.

Legible Font/Good Font Paring

If you have good content but have bad fonts your users will not read the information on your website. You need to have good font pairings that make up the brand of your business, don’t just choose a font because it looks good.

A good example would be choosing a good font that suits the design of your unique logo, if you do this, the font you use will likely become known as part of your brand – you can use it on your business cards, leaflets and merchandise.

Header – Logo

The header is a top feature of all websites and is displayed on all pages. It must contain your logo. This will be seen on every page. Not only does your logo need to be visible, but it must also contain a link to go back to your home page. Your users simply expect this.

Header Top Bar Call To Action

The next important feature that needs to be on your top bar is the call to action section. This can include your business contact details (number and email) and button with a relevant link. This will allow your users to instantly carry out an action if they don’t need to browse your website.

Header Responsive Menu – Desktop

The most important aspect of the menu on your website is, it must be responsive. It needs to work on all screen sizes. Your desktop navigation will generally have a horizontal layout with vertical submenu drop downs. This will keep your navigation tidy as your website grows.

Header Responsive Menu – Tablet

Your business website tablet menu will generally be the same as the menu used on your mobile menu, there sometimes will be enough space to accommodate the desktop menu, but your users use tablets just like mobile devices. This can be tricky because some users convert their tablets (tablet sized screens) to a laptop.

There is a fine line between when to use a desktop menu on tablet and when to use a mobile menu. If you are unsure, we provide web design services that can seriously help you.

Header Responsive Menu – Mobile

The mobile menu must allow your users to properly navigate your business website as well as clearly see all content on your website. This means it must be well thought out and collapse (hide when the user does not need to see any links).

Footer – Contact Information

Again, like the header, the footer is visible on all pages of your business website. It must contain contact information. This must be included so your users can get in touch with you after they have scrolled through the page relevant to them.

This also prevents the need of your users to have to navigate to another section of your website (increasing the chance of them leaving).

Footer – Short Menu

It is generally good practice to include the top most important links of your website in the footer, this means if your user is not ready to get in touch with you, they can easily navigate to a relevant section of your website before getting in touch.

Footer Contact Form

A contact form in the footer means your users don’t have to set up an email or phone you to get in touch, they can simply fill out the contact form and leave. Reducing the effort needed to get in contact with you.

Footer Social Media Links

Social media links mean users can navigate to all of your social media platforms from one place. We say from one place because social media links will sometimes be scattered throughout your business website on the single blog pages (to share the post) and on the sidebars. It will simply save your users traversing your website just to find the social media links.

Footer – Legal Links

Legal information must be included on your site, period. But you don’t want these links getting in the way of your main quality content. The best place for these pesky legal links to go in the footer. This is the place you almost always see these types of links, so your users expect this.

Footer – Logo

Having a logo in your footer will mean another opportunity to link back to your home page, this is almost like another form of a quick link, but in a more visual way. This means your user doesn’t have to scroll all the way back to the top of your website just to get back to the homepage.

Large Hero Section Hero Section – USP

Hero sections are used as part of landing pages of your business website. They must contain relevant content and be engaging to the user. This is the perfect opportunity to advertise your unique selling point to capture the user’s interest.

Hero Section – Blurb

Having a blurb is a good way to include a short introduction to what the page is about. This is helpful because if the user happens to click on a wrong link by accident, they will know this before they start scrolling down your webpage. Not only is it good to display what the page is about, but a chance to talk about you and your business.

Hero Section – Image/Graphics/Video

The hero section of your website needs to have something that sets it apart from the content on your webpage. Adding visual content will increase the engagement of your users (grabbing their attention). It is also the perfect opportunity to show off your product or service in action.

General Hero Section

We have discussed what to include within the hero sections for landing pages of your site, but you need a hero section that can be used on generic pages (could be the about, contact or legal pages). These pages don’t have any child pages. So, this type of hero section will generally be shorter and just include a title, and an image. It should be kept short and sweet. It does not need to take up all the user’s screen space.

CTAs

You need to include call to actions across the different pages of your website. These need to be where the user would expect and not surprise them with a glaring CTA.

A good place of a CTA could be below the service section, a contact form could be included so the user can get in touch with you after reading the product/service you provide.

Also, another good place to include CTAs is the hero section for landing pages. Having a call to action in the hero section of your business website allows users to carry out a relevant action after they’ve read a bit of information about your business.

This is particularly important if you do not have sticky navigation – meaning your top bar call to action is not visible as the user scrolls down the webpage.

Service/Product Section

Your website will have a service or product page(s), but you need a way for your users to get to this page from other areas of your website. You also want a way for your users to see what you offer if they are not on the product or service page(s). A way to do this is to include a short service or product section outlining what it is you offer along with a link to the relevant product or service page.

Benefit Section

The benefits of your product or service will be on your product or service page. Again, just like the service/product section, there should be a dedicated section that can be used on other pages of your business website outlining the benefits along with a link to the service/product page. This is particularly important as providing the benefits will basically show off to your users how good your product or service is as they are browsing the website.

Facts Section

On the topic of showing off how good you are, you should include some tasty facts about you and your business. This can range from the number of people who use your business to the clients you have. This is the perfect time to really grab your users attention.

How We Help / Who We Help Section

You are providing a product or service, after all. Your business website should tell your users how you help them. It is also important to state who you help (your target audience). This is the time you can really make your target audience they need your product or service.

Team / Author Page

Having a team or author page allows your potential clients/customers to put a face to who they are talking to. It also allows your visitors to find out a little background information about each team member. It can also allow your visitors to get in touch with the correct person straight away.

Contact Form

If you provide different type of services or products, it is important to provide specific contact forms relevant to the product or service. This way you can really customise each form individually. This will also mean you can have a clean, short and concise general contact form and a more in-depth services form with extra form fields.

In short, if you don’t’ have well thought out contact forms, you simply won’t be collecting all the information you need from your clients.

Testimonial Section

The testimonial section is the perfect way to show off what people really say about you. This reinforces to potential clients/customers that your product or service is truly good and genuine.

Case Studies

If testimonials are not enough for you, you can go as far as case studies. Here you can simply collect more than just what people say about you, but a full “report” on how you helped another person (could be another business) as well as what they say about you.

Links to other pages

We have discussed the importance of including links to relevant pages from sections that can be used on any page of your website. But you should include general links to other pages from different areas of your business website. These can consist of call to action buttons and can be included in the sidebars.

A good example is a contact call to action in the blog sidebar that takes the user to the contact page.

Child Pages

Child pages are a very good way to categorise your content under a parent. This provides good structure as your website grows and provides meaningful navigation (URLs) to users and for anyone who shares your website pages. A prime example includes the services your business provides.

If you have five services, you could have a parent service page that contains these five individual services as child pages. This can drastically tidy navigation as instead of having a ream of horizontal links, you can have a parent “service” link with drop down links (five services you provide).

Legal Pages

We have talked about the importance of providing legal links on your website footer. But what are all the specific legal pages you need? Well, some include privacy policy, terms of user, data protection, data retention, cookies, responsibilities for you and clients/customers. You as a business need to identify what legal information your website needs.

FAQs Page

Providing a frequently asked questions page or section on your website means users do not have to get in touch with you just to ask a simple question. They can get answers to any queries they have, then get straight to the point when they come to actually contact you.

Blog Page

A blog page is a perfect way to talk about your business and other relevant topics that relate to your business and customers without bloating out other sections of your website. This can be the go-to place to really talk in depth about a topic and generate quality content. If you do this, over time, the SEO of your website will improve.

The blog page is crucial part to your digital marketing (which can mean the difference between the success and failure of your business). If you really need some guidance on this, we have a blog post on How To Create A Digital Marketing Plan For Your Business.

Side Bar

The sidebar will generally be included on your blog pages. This is a good way to put small bits of extra information or extra functionality on your website. Some of this extra stuff can include contact call to action, social media links, adverts, calendars, notifications messages and much much more.

Because we have mentioned contact call to actions, it is absolutely critical that you include these throughout your site. it would be a mistake to miss these out. There are of course many other mistakes that can happen, check out our blog post on the Top Website Design Mistakes (And How To Fix Them).

Sliders

Media on websites generally takes up more space than text and can really bloat out webpages. You can really show this content off on large desktop screens, but you want a good compact way of displaying media to users on tablet and mobile devices. A way to this is by using sliders. These allow users to swipe through individual media pieces without much webpage space or screen space being used up.

Responsive layout

We have talked about responsive navigation and providing sliders on tablet and mobile devices for media. but, in general, why is a responsive layout needed? Every single inch of your website needs to be accessible on all devices. The content needs to adapt.

For example, three columns for desktop, two columns for mobile and a single column for mobile. This keeps navigation tidy and improves the readability of your business website on small screens (you do not want three columns of text on small mobile screens).

Map

Providing a map on your website is particularly useful if you have a larger business and have multiple locations. A prime example could be a restaurant business. You want people to know if your restaurant is available in their area and how far they need to travel. It is simply a good consolidated place to provide such information.

Share Links

You don’t just want links to your social media platforms, you want users to be able to directly share content from your website to social media platforms. This can help generate traffic to your website as your users’ target audience will have the chance to link back to your website.

Comments

Comments provide a way for you to communicate with your target audience on a higher level – you can engage in debates and really find out how your target audience behaves. Having comments on your website also shows that you have nothing to hide and welcome any constructive criticism. From here you can do nothing but improve.

BreadCrumbs

Breadcrumbs are particularly important if you have a large website or an e-commerce site. But why? Well, breadcrumbs provide an easy-to-way for users to navigate your site and allow them to instantly understand your website structure. On top of this Google likes breadcrumbs. So be sure to use them.

Also as e-commerce has been mention, we would like to mention we offer e-commerce solutions using WordPress and WooCommerce, so if you are thinking about a shopping website, please contact us. To get an idea of what we can do, please see our work on an e-commerce site called SnowJunkie. A website for outdoor enthusiasts.

Live Chat

Live chats provide a real-time convenience to customers to get in touch with you. There are many benefits to using live chat and some include competitive advantage, increased conversion rates and sales and the opportunity to build long term relationships.

Subscriptions/News Letter

Subscriptions are a perfect way to notify your mailing list of any offers you have or any new blog posts, posted. This saves your mailing list from having to manually check your website every day for any potential updates. One good benefit to having a mailing list is the opportunity to build relationships with your customers.

SEO

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Branded packaging design looks fantastic.

As the owner or marketer of a company with a physical product, having awesome packaging design is key to your success.

Whether that’s food packaging or product packaging – having fully branded product packaging will kick your business up a notch.

Imagine if Cadbury’s didn’t use their trademarked purple. Or Coca Cola’s bottles were different each time they made them.

Things just wouldn’t be the same.

So, how can you power up your business with branded packaging design?

Let’s dive in.

Your Brand Strategy Must Come First

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again.

When it comes to design, no matter what type of business you’re in, your brand strategy must come first.

It’s fundamental.

Your brand strategy runs through your entire business. From your values, mission, and story, to the way you look, the way you dress, and even how you speak.

Your brand strategy is the foundation of your business. It should be respected, especially when designing branded packaging.

Creating a brand strategy isn’t easy, but it’s essential.

Think about this:

If your company is all about green, sustainable living, then you’re going to want to use recycled and recyclable packaging.

If you’re all about the cheap and cheerful approach, then sure, you might opt for cheap and nasty plastic packaging (please don’t!) but you could.

Your brand strategy highlights what you care about as a business. This in turn, informs your brand identity and packaging design choices.

It’s important to get your branding right at this level. Your brand strategy is the bedrock of your business. It has value both internally and externally.

Your products sit on top of that foundation, and are more consumer focused. They’re all designed and aimed at a particular type of customer.

But to do that effectively, you have to understand your brand at it’s core.

You Need to Create a Brand Identity System

A lot of people make the mistake of creating a brand identity, but not considering it’s wide range of applications.

It’s rare that you’d see a brand identity laid out in a neat looking PDF. It just doesn’t happen.

Your brand identity is tactile, and will be seen in the most weird and wonderful places!

It’s important your branding agency creates an identity system, rather than some sexy standalone visuals.

Your branding system should contain a range of deliverables, from logo designs and stationery, through to patterns, textures, and other repeatable, reusable elements.

When combined, your brand identity system should be unmistakably yours.

For example, look at McDonald’s:

They use red and yellow as their main brand colours, and the Golden Arches are their famously trademarked logo.

But they extend that out to create branded packaging with ease.

Their fries are served in red cartons, with the Golden Arches front and centre.

Drinks are served in white cups, with the famous arches wrapping around them.

Cheaper burgers like the cheeseburger are served in a white wrapper, with the McDonalds logo, and the word cheeseburger in uppercase. A similar approach is taken with hamburgers.

Premium burgers like the Big Mac come in a box, still featuring the iconic logo, and some simple text.

McDonalds change their packaging design frequently, but because of the strength of their brand identity system, it always fits seamlessly into their franchise operation.

Consider Your Whole Product Range

When it comes to actually designing your branded packaging, you need to consider your product range as a whole.

And if you have multiple product ranges, how they work together.

It’s important that single product packaging isn’t designed in isolation.

Your products form an important part of your brand architecture.

For example:

If you’re launching a range of fruit snacks, and you’re going to be offering six types of snacks, you need to start with that in mind.

Imagine this:

You start designing the packaging for your grapes. You choose a large typeface, it fits the packaging, edge to edge. It looks great!

But now, you need to design the packaging for strawberries.

You’re in real trouble.

The word is a lot longer, and to make it fit, you have to scale it down. That then has a knock on effect on the rest of your product range.

And that’s just one example.

You’re really up the creek when you want to add “Japanese Plum” or “Blood Orange” into your product range.

That’s why it’s important to consider your product range as a whole when creating your branded packaging design.

Product Marketing is Campaign Driven

Once you have your branded packaging designs ready to go, it’s time to bring your products to market.

And there’s a big difference between marketing a product, and marketing your business.

Marketing a product often works on a campaign by campaign basis. But, your business brand should still have a presence within the campaign.

Let’s again look at McDonalds:

They rarely create adverts to promote the business. It’s always product driven.

Their latest adverts for “healthy fruit and salad snack packs” tells a story about their product.

And then, right at the end, you get that five second flash of the McDonald’s logo and their instantly recognisable brand jingle (more on sonic branding coming in the future!)

Each of their adverts tells a different story, and features a unique style, depending on who they’re trying to reach with their adverts.

From “peely peely” to the ever creepy Ronald McDonald, they base their adverts around a product or promotion, and their business brand has a lesser presence (usually right at the end.)

On the flip side, you have Cadbury.

Cadbury went for the all out bizzare, gorilla playing drums to the tune of Phil Collins. Then, with racing airport trucks set to the tune of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now.

Both are advertising Dairy Milk. Cadbury’s premier product.

Yet, the adverts worked more in favour of the brand, than the product itself.

The adverts were so abstract, they garnered a lot of mainstream coverage.

The product was then slotted into the end of each advert, the same way McDonalds slip their branding in.

When it comes to product marketing, each product, or product range, tends to get it’s own advertising campaign or unique marketing effort.

Again, the business brand is the pillar that the campaign is built on top of. Without a solid brand strategy, it’s hard to imagine any sort of product marketing moving successfully forward.

Don’t Be Tempted to Skip Ahead

The message of this blog post is essentially:

“Don’t skip ahead to designing your packaging, if you haven’t got your branding right first.”

If you do, there are several things that could happen:

  1. You get your packaging design wrong, and don’t sell any product
  2. You then have to go back, and start the branding and design process all over again
  3. You cost yourself a lot of money as a result.

Do it once, and do it right.

Packaging costs can be quite outrageous, especially if you’re printing something bespoke.

Make sure you get the fundamentals of your brand in place. Then, work on bringing that brand through into your packaging design.

Then, before going to print, try user testing.

A Note on User Testing

User testing is great. But it needs to be executed properly.

When creating product packaging, it’s tempting to run off and seek feedback from as many sources as you can.

You should, but consider these three things of the people you’re asking:

  • Are they your target audience?
  • Are they friends and family? (They’ll never give you the best feedback)
  • Do they understand the brand?

When user testing with product packaging, it’s important people understand the brand first.

For example, let’s imagine you’re all about sustainable living and recycling. You present your users two options. One with a white background, one with a paper background.

It’s important people know that part of your brand story, so they can make their judgement call with that in mind.

Context is king when it comes to user testing.

It’s no good showing packaging design options, without showing people what your brand is about first.

Another thing to keep in mind, is try not to overwhelm people. Show them a maximum of three options at any one time.

Just like A/B testing – you need to test and iterate on small changes to make sure feedback doesn’t become clouded!

User testing is valuable, but make sure to give people context before you start.

How to Bring Your Business Brand into Your Packaging Design

We’ve talked a lot about using your business brand as the foundation for success when it comes to your product packaging.

We’ve also talked a lot about food, but this advice is relevant to any business with packaged products.

So, how do you bring your business brand through, into your new packaging design?

Use a Similar Visual Language

Think about your brand strategy and the image you want to portray to potential customers.

Do you use cartoons and illustrations as a business? Or are you more upmarket and sophisticated?

Whatever feeling and vision it is you’re trying to evoke within your customers, is the way you want to design your packaging.

If you use a beautiful serif typeface in your logo, make sure you take a similar approach with your packaging. Make it delicate, and precious. Like you’re being given a wonderful gift.

Apple’s packaging is a great example of bringing their brand through into their packaging design.

Clean white backgrounds, simple black sans-serif typeface, small Apple logo.

There’s no mistaking their packaging, because it’s built on top of a strong brand strategy.

Concepts Can Add Consistency

Another approach you could take, is taking a high level brand concept through to the rest of your packaging.

For example:

When designing for one of our recent clients, My Orchard, we had a design concept that used fields and ploughed fields as part of their brand identity system.

This means that for all they’re only producing fruit now, when they produce vegetables in the future, they could still use the fields concept in their packaging.

Taking a concept from your overarching brand, and applying it to your branded packaging design, helps build consistency across your brand touchpoints.

Avoid Colour Separation as an Identifier

This is more of a “don’t” than a “do.”

Don’t use colour to separate product ranges or products within your brand.

For example:

If you run a pet food brand, dog food could be green, cat food orange, fish food blue, and so on.

But don’t do it! In fact, you should avoid it at all costs.

Using separate colours to define products and product ranges will create you problems further down the line.

First of all, only select colours look good on packaging. And before you know it, you’ll run out.

You’ll be using blue, dark blue, light blue, in-between blue, nearly blue, and so on. And then there’s really no differentiation!

There are a lot of better ways to create differences between your packaging ranges.

Try using different shapes, sizes, patterns, icons, photography, arrangements, and typography, before resorting to colour.

It might sound like a good idea now, but trust me, it always causes issues later!

Choose Your Materials Wisely

Like anything else in life, certain materials cost a lot more than others.

Certain materials also tell certain stories.

If you have an entirely gold box made, it’s going to look high end (if it’s designed properly!)

Alternatively, if you have a white plastic packet made, it’s going to look quite cheap.

The materials you use for your packaging design should resonate with your target customers and help enhance your brand story.

Consider Your Print Finishing

The same can be said about print finishing, as can be said about materials.

Embossing, debossing, and foiling, can all make your product look high end.

By using huge areas of neon print, you’re probably going to cheapen the look of your brand. And that’s okay, if it’s appropriate!

The way you print onto your packaging can have a huge impact on the finished product, so choose carefully.

We never recommend using cheap or low cost print suppliers, and a good printer should be happy to print samples for you.

Just make sure they do it on your actual packaging material, as different materials can effect printing in different ways.

Branded Packaging Design Examples

We’ve already talked about McDonalds, Cadbury, and Apple in different places throughout this post.

But let’s take a look at two more examples.

Jo Malone

Direct from their website:

Jo Malone London is a British lifestyle brand known for its unique fragrance portfolio and luxury products for the bath, body and home.

And they’ve absolutely nailed their branding, product packaging, and in-store experiences.

Everything they do with their brand is consistent.

Just look at their product range above. It’s super high-end. And it’s relatively simple in it’s approach.

But everything matches. From their perfume labels, to their candles, to the boxes and bags everything comes in.

Their in-store experience follows a very similar pattern. A straightforward, upmarket experience.

Jo Malone’s brand comes through in every piece of packaging design, their website, and their stores.

If you’re going to go for high-end simplicity, this is how you want to approach it.

Kono Coffee

Kono Coffee are a client of ours that we worked with on a branding and coffee packaging design project.

We really had to reign them in. They wanted to dive straight in to creating products and product ranges, without exploring their main brand identity.

We forced the issue, and made them focus on their top level business brand, which was then used to guide the design of the products, rather than the other way on.

Once we started exploring African patterns, we realised that “from Sierra Leone” was in fact the heart and soul of the Kono Coffee brand.

Usually coffee comes from the South American region. Having a brand identity focused around African ideas and patterns was a top level brand decision, that could have only come from working on the business branding.

We were then able to take the patterns and use them to apply to Kono’s product packaging.

If we’d have started with the packaging design rather than the branding, we’d have never ended up using traditional African patterns, and the result wouldn’t have been the same.

Conclusion: Power Up Your Business with Branded Packaging Design

Your branded packaging design plays an important role in the development and growth of your business.

But it’s important that you don’t favour your packaging over your branding!

You must start with your business brand first. Then, you can move on to your packaging design.

Without the fundamentals of your business branding in place, it’s unlikely your packaging design will be a success.

Your brand strategy, and resulting brand identity system, is the foundation of your business. Your packaging design should be layered upon your solid brand foundation.

Your brand strategy and brand identity need to run throughout your entire business, as well as your product range.

Branding first, packaging design second.

That’s how you power up your business with branded packaging design.

What do you think? Did you create your branding before your packaging? Let us know in the comments below.

The post Power Up Your Business with Branded Packaging Design appeared first on Canny.

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School websites can really lack in creative flair when it comes to design.

Possibly one of the reasons for this is that they have lots of things to consider and let’s be honest, money is probably better spent on actually schooling the students.

But some schools and universities have really excelled with their websites, making them not only look beautiful, but making them simple and easy to use.

We have picked 13 examples below that really work in our eyes, some with great design, some with great functionality, and some a little quirky.

So let’s see what we have:


Credit to HHX Aarhus Business Gymnasium

HHX Aarhus Business Gymnasium

The HHX Aarhus Business Gymnasium has a great homepage, big, blue, and straight to the point with a stand out menu on the left.

You can’t scroll down the homepage, which I think is a great feature, you don’t feel like you are lost in a mass of information, it is clear you have to pick one of the options.

Once you’re deeper into another page, for example the Main Course page, you are confronted with a scrolling page with plenty of information. Some may think this is busy and crowded, but I like the fact it is displaying course information in a totally different way, it’s more interactive and intriguing.

This website for me breaks away from a basic and methodical way to view course details. They have pushed the boat out and I think have been successful in doing so. This unconventional approach can make you stand out from the crowd and aid the school in recognition.


Credit to Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech University

As web designers, we have seen video become a massive part of content for people’s websites, becoming more accessible to clients. Along with this we have seen a trend to replace a big hero “image” with a hero “video” at the top of a website.

We have seen some really good ones and some really bad ones, and we think a hero video is a project in itself nevermind just the website. Cornell Tech University have nailed theirs, with beautiful footage of the University and the surrounding area. It doesn’t so much explain all about them but more accompany the text, which goes into more detail.

I think this is key to think about when you are pondering on a video for your hero.

Is the video going to do the talking or the supporting? The answer to this question can dramatically change the design.

Now you’re starting to see why we think a video is a project in itself. But don’t let this put you off, just make sure you really think it through.

The rest of the Cornell Tech Website does the talking but the video is a crisp and professional introduction to the University.


Credit to St James Catholic School

St James Catholic School

With technology constantly on the rise, it is now touching every industry and trying improve everything as it goes. Education is no different.

St James Catholic School has a few simple quick links on their website, that go to; “Parent Pay”, “Parent Portal” and “Show my Homework”.

This may not seem like much, but integrating your school website design with some technology that makes it a more engaging and useful site for both students and parents can only be a good thing.

We are currently working with a client who has software for nurseries and schools that allows you to log a students progress online rather than by paper and allows parents to engage more in the child’s learning. Keep your eyes peeled for this project!

A website can be a great tool for any business, but you need to use it properly. St James is a great example of how with some thought this can be achieved, for all it is a subtle menu, the site is transformed into a hub for both parents, students and staff alike.


Credit to Harbour Space

Harbour Space

Harbour Space has a website that really pushes the visual aspect of web design. There are interactive elements animating all over the place, but it doesn’t seem to be “too much”, even though there’s sometimes a great big blob of purple coming onto the screen.

As a web designer, making a website look great on a flat design is all well and good, but knowing how the website and its users are going to interact while actually live on the web is key. For all the big animations on Harbour Space, it also has some subtle ones, like the slight increase in size of the apply button when you hover over it.

These micro interactions may seem a little irrelevant but these small subtle changes can make it easier to navigate a site, letting you know what is clickable and where you are.

We recently shared some website ideas that touch on this sort of thing.

These user experiences on a website are a bit of a thing in design now, so much so you now have User Experience designers. Now I would say if you are any designer you should be designing for the user’s experience but I can see how many things can be done in that particular aspect of design now.


Credit to University Of Sydney

University of Sydney

Recently I wrote a post about school prospectus design and I featured the University of Sydney as their prospectuses were great.

Along with its prospectus, their website is also lovely.

It’s clean, easy to use and it looks great. Unlike a couple of examples I will go through on this post, the University of Sydney has not tried to reinvent the wheel or break the boundaries of design. Instead they have created a stunning and completely functional site.

Now this may not seem worth a mention, but this is really satisfying to me, if you have read any of my other posts you will constantly hear me say functionality and purpose over anything else. This approach is often overlooked for a more exciting design that maybe doesn’t work well on mobile, or is hard to navigate.

But think about this decision before you opt for a design that reinvents the wheel.


Credit to The University of California Humanities Research Institute

The University of California Humanities Research Institute

The UCHRI uses their jagged brand visual beautifully through their website, bringing in shapes throughout the website to outline important information, house imagery or simply just to book end the footer.

This is a great example of pushing your brand identity through into your website and not just the logo mark. This is what creating a visual style and identity system for your whole brand is all about. It’s not just a logo design, but everything else encompassing this visual style.

As I mentioned in my post about school branding examples they have ditched the usual path for schools, representing their core values of collaboration and industry changing ideas, translating this into there website very well.


Credit to University of Technology Sydney

University of Technology Sydney

Along with the University of Sydney, there is also the University of Technology Sydney. They’ve used a data visualiser to create their brochure covers and brand visuals.

They have taken this style and applied it to their website, using assorted shapes and colours throughout the site with a clean, easy to navigate design on both desktop and mobile. Your mobile website design is a very important part of your school website, but even more so for universities and higher education facilities.

The base of users will be using their mobiles to view your site and to view the important information about courses and your institution. Now if they have a bad experience and can’t find what they are looking for, they could already discount you as an option.

Sound fickle?

Think about it. We’ve all had a bad experience on a website and never went back.


Credit to UPTEC

UPTEC Science and Technology Park of University of Porto

I pondered for a while on whether to include this example or not. It is quite amazing how good just navigating around the site feels and looks, using various animations and interactivity, some subtle and some very noticeable.

I imagine some of these would take a while to load on some slow internet connections and some of them are a little temperamental on mobile.

For example:

I had a little trouble on the landing page when it asks you to hold to continue, if it wasn’t in the correct position it was just prompting me to save an image.

This is an incredible looking site, but could be confusing for some people, but I think the fields and industry this school is in merits the more far stretching design.

I think it is important to stay true to yourself and your brand strategy.

If you are a high end university and your potential students expect nothing but that, then steer into it. Or if you’re a creative college, you need to find a more creative solution for your brand and website!


Credit to MIT

MIT

MIT is renowned worldwide for their industry changing students and ideas.

They have created a website that matches this status with a different approach to the usual website layout. Normally a website would have the big hero, with a statement that explains what the place does.

MIT have opted for a search bar and a testimonial from a current student. This has been thought about and designed specifically to help a user find what they are looking for, and gain a sense of ambition from the testimonial.

If you are wanting to become a student there, what better way to get some involved and excited that having a current student telling you what their big idea is and how MIT is enabling them to pursue this big idea?

The search bar to the left also can’t be overlooked. If you know what course you want and just want the information, this is a great way to get to it quickly.

In my eyes this design may not have the typical hero video with beautiful spanning shots (that can work really well by the way!) but it has a sense of function, which considering MIT is all about building a better world, works perfectly.


Credit to Cambridge International School

Cambridge International School

Similar to MIT, the Cambridge International School has a slightly different layout, although they do have a hero image. They have also identified the four main sections they think people will want to drop into, and have them visible and clickable on the main hero.

They use a four column grid for the layout. Now all websites tend to be designed to some sort of grid, whether that be a basic twelve column grid or something else. This style of visually showing a grid on the front end is something that seems to be happening more and more, giving a certain level of structure to the website.

Using this structured approach in an education environment is quite a nice touch. Considering the education system is quite a structured system no matter what country you are in.

One thing I struggle with is how this partner of Cambridge University can have such a designed and functional website, when the original university site appears to be somewhat lacking.


Credit to Westbourne Grammar School

Westbourne Grammar School

One thing I kept thinking about when doing my research for this post, was how when it came to non-higher education institutes, mainly anything under University or College in the English structure, I realised a lot of the target audience probably had to be at parents rather than the students.

Yes the students could jump onto the website, but if parents are wanting to make a decision on where their kids go to school, then the information would have to be tailored towards them.

The Westbourne Grammar School website does this very well.

It keeps everything incredibly professional, while getting across exciting or important information about terms dates, enrolment, student success, and the culture of the school. But I can also see a potential student being able to navigate this site and be engaged by the content.

When designing a school website, you have a tough job of balancing the content and visual style to appeal to a varied target audience. But with plenty of thought and persistence, you can create something that is engaging for all your users.


Credit to Ravensbourne University London

Ravensbourne University London

Ravensbourne University is a leader in creating opportunities in the digital media and design industries for their students. So if you are a leader in a creative industry, your brand and website surely has to be creatively fueled as well?

Ravensbourne’s website is just that, it is big and bold with big chunky text and buttons, bright colours and moving gradients. In a creative industry there is a need to be able to make a statement and Ravensbourne definitely do that, even on mobile, everything is still chunky and in your face.

The menu on Ravensbourne in particular, is almost overkill but it works right on the edge. Functionally, it navigates really well through the many pages and sections of the site. With screen sizes only seemingly getting bigger and desktop sizes getting smaller, and meeting them in the middle, sizing can be a little hard to make sure it looks right on each device.

Ravensbourne do this well. From desktop to mobile, so make sure you have an impactful design, but make sure in doing so, you aren’t overdoing it on another device.


Credit to University of Essex

University of Essex

Similar to Ravensbourne the University of Essex have went with a bold striking visual style, mixing bold colour gradients with big chunky text in an almost protest fashion. This protest type visual is also carried through into the language used. This can really help your brand values and strategy being pushed through into your website.

For example:

If you are a more casual business, coming across more conversational might work well.

So for “contact us”, maybe change that to “let’s talk”. Or for a more serious business you will want to keep it clear like “get in touch” or “contact us.”

The University of..

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Have you defined your brand touchpoints? Maybe, maybe not.

So let’s start with this:

Your customers are your absolute everything.

They are the very core of your brand – and the very reason you are where you are today.

They come to you because you’re able to solve their problems, and they trust in your brand because of their previous experience with you.

So how have you done it?

Primarily, it’s because of something called touchpoints. Brand touchpoints to be exact.

These are what have defined and refined your brand, creating stimulating and engaging customer experiences.

What is a Brand Touchpoint?

A brand touchpoint is any bit of interaction or communication made between a brand and its customers.

Brand touchpoints are normally crafted and constructed by the brand in order to engage their customers, giving them the best brand experience they could possibly have.

Think about when you book into an expensive restaurant. You encounter some of the following brand touchpoints:

  • Their website when booking your table
  • Their brand tone of voice if you call them to book
  • Their signage when you enter the restaurant
  • Their menu when selecting your food
  • Their uniforms when giving your order
  • And so on.

Each of these elements should be considered as a brand touchpoint. And therefore, should be designed in a way to be consistent with the rest of your brand.

Wikipedia explains it like this:

“Touchpoints in marketing communications are the varying ways that a brand interacts and displays information to prospective customers and current customers. Touchpoints allow customers to have experiences every time they “touch’ any part of the product, service, brand or organization, across multiple channels and various points in time…”

All true.

But, to put it simply, brand touchpoints are the brand’s opportunity to communicate with their customers on a day-to-day basis. Customers are then able to get closer to the brand, and as a result, continue to use your services.

Therefore, every single form of contact a customer has with your brand needs to be on-point, effective and customer enlightening.

Why Are Effective Brand Touchpoints Important?

Brand touchpoints are practically the make-or-break of your business, so they have to be well planned and structured in order to wow your customers and keep them coming back for more.

When used effectively, they can enrich your brand and ignite your marketing strategy, allowing your business to take flight.

Every time a customer comes into contact with your brand, some kind of impression will be made. This is a killer because the slightest slip up can have a detrimental effect on your business, leaving a dampener on your brand’s integrity.

Oh boy. That’s a pretty heavy weight to have on your shoulders!

But rest assured – you are most likely doing well on the touchpoint front, believe me. You would know it if you weren’t.

So how can you create and deliver the very best brand experience for your customers? How can you build and sustain killer touchpoints for new and existing clients?

Let’s run through seven steps that will fuel your brand touchpoints and help get your customers singing and dancing about your name.

After that, we’ll take a look at several real world examples of brand touchpoints in use.

1. Identify and Improve Existing Touchpoints

To begin with, identify all of the existing brand touchpoints that your business already has set in place.

So far, these are the bad boys that have won the heart of your customers, set out your customer journey, and brought your business to where it is today.

Remember:

Your brand’s touchpoints are any form of interaction that your business has with its customers.

It may be as small as a post on Instagram, to something as big as an advert in a magazine.

No matter the shape or form, all touchpoints need to:

  • Clearly represent your brand
  • Stand out to your customers
  • Motivate your customers to take action.

Once you have identified your brand’s touchpoints, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my first impression when I come across each touchpoint?
  • Does it fit with my brand strategy and brand identity?
  • Are they different to my competitor’s touchpoints?
  • Will it attract new customers?
  • Will it move my existing customers to act?
  • Will my customers be left with a positive impression of my brand after interacting with this touchpoint?

Try and focus on streamlining your current touchpoints, making them thread between one another as a unit rather than separate, individual pieces.

This can help to improve brand awareness and highlight your position as a professional business.

When customers come across each touchpoint, they should be able to easily identify you amongst the masses, allowing them to draw closer to you and continue to contribute to your business

Why is it Important?

Even though your current customer touchpoints are successful, the game is changing all the time.

New technology comes into play; the constant growth of digital media is outstanding, and so is the number of people growing with it!

So you need to be aware of the ever-evolving changes in technology and what that can mean for you and your customers.

We are all attuned to the trends of the digital world, and our clients even more so. Therefore, we must make sure that when the world changes, we move with it. Sometimes, we even need to go beyond it, to keep our customer’s perception of us fresh and positive.

It may mean updating your online presence or perhaps using new ways to reach your customers. Whatever the reason, you need to keep tweaking your brand touchpoints in order to create the best customer experience possible.

2. Develop New Brand Touchpoints

After identifying and polishing up your current brand touchpoints, you will more than likely find new and exciting ways to build an array of additional touchpoints for your clients.

Before you do so, you need to ask yourself two questions:

Where will my customers be?

This goes back to your brand strategy and what you provide for your customers.

For example:

You may be a photographer looking for new ways to reach and engage with your clients – therefore you would need to find places (either online and offline) where you know your potential clients will be.

If you’re a wedding photographer, there’s no point trying to reach your customers by placing your photography advert in a cooking magazine.

Instead, you would wisely choose a wedding magazine with the goal of reaching potential customers.

How can I draw in new clients?

Similar to the question above, you want to think of where your new clients may be. You may be expanding your business and creating new areas of service. That in itself will then mean creating new touchpoints to reach a new clientele.

Even if you are not creating different service packages, you can still brainstorm new ways to engage with consumers. Maybe crafting new touchpoints on social media that don’t get used often.

Remember that as you try to reach out to new customers, your current clients will also be able to reach out and engage with you on any new service or platform you use.

They are your most treasured, loyal customers!

So make sure they are still enjoying their customer journey and don’t stray them away from the main reason they connected with your brand in the first place.

Why is it Important?

The way consumers engage and communicate has evolved over time, following the trends of today’s fast-moving technology.

Customers need to be wowed within the first few seconds. They need to be actively involved from the get-go, especially if they’re online or using a mobile device.

It may mean coming up with new, creative customer touchpoints and building a strong online presence that moves with the times.

Doing so will give you an edge over your competitors and help you to stand out amongst the crowd.

But ultimately, your goal is to provide the best customer experience possible for both new and existing clients.

3. Learn From Other Brands

It’s a known fact that to improve and enhance your craft, the best way to do so is through imitation.

And that’s the case when it comes to your brand too.

No matter how long you’ve been in business, no matter how popular you are with your customers and no matter how high you rank on Google, there will always be someone more knowledgeable, more experienced, and more educated than you.

But you know what’s great? You can use this to your advantage!

You’ve got an oyster of talented people – just like yourself – around you who have created some killer brand touchpoints for their customers, giving them the best possible journey a customer could ask for.

So look at what they’re doing, and imitate them, or ask for help and advice! Most people are happy to share their success stories.

Why is it Important?

As a brand and business owner, you need to be ahead of the game – you need to be one step ahead of your competitors.

The only way to improve your brand’s interaction with customers and ignite your business is to take in knowledge and put it into practice.

And, of course, one of the best ways to learn is by example. Learn from those closest to you.

It doesn’t have to be some big, world renowned brand. It may well be a business owner in your field of work that you respect.

Why not reach out to them, see how they have crafted and planned their customer touchpoint strategy? See how they have successfully built such loyal customers through the touchpoints they have created.

4. Make Touchpoints User-Friendly

One of the best ways to entice your target customers comes from mapping out how they will interact with your business.

How are you going to get them to focus on your brand and stay on the journey with you?

Whenever a consumer/customer comes into contact with you, whether it be online, on social media, in the newspaper, on the radio or through their best friend, you want them to have an enjoyable, hassle-free experience. This way, they are more likely to stick with you and your products to the very end of their journey.

But there is a slight problem…

Our customers are fickle; they are easily swayed by popular opinion.

I know. Frustrating, isn’t it?

The reality is that customers will often choose the easiest, simplest, and even the prettiest option out there, no matter how much your services might be the best for them.

So your brand touchpoints are where you need to wow them.

Take a leaf out of Apple’s book here and focus on creating a stunning design, simple interactivity, and easily accessible touchpoints.

You want to make your brand touchpoints are user-friendly and easy to use.

Customers want to have a simplistic, fast moving, stunning experience with all of your touchpoints. Speed and convenience are key, and will keep customers coming back to your business and it’s services.

The thing is brand touchpoints cover such a huge area of ground, there’s so much to think about!

Primarily, your online, techy touchpoints need to be clean, minimal, and crisp. But it also works the same with any brand touchpoints you may have offline, such as any products, samples, demos, or surveys you may dispense to your customers.

What this includes:

  • Easy to use apps
  • Clear, concise content / how-to articles / instructions
  • A simple and beautiful website with easy navigation
  • Short, easy to read content that gets straight to the point
  • Easily recognisable logos and designs
  • And much more.
Why is it Important?

If you were to click on a website of a brand you expected to be high end, only then to come to a homepage full of huge garish images, block text, and loud colours, your first inclination would be to click that back button as fast as your fingers will let you.

Your customer journey just came to a fatal end.

That cannot be how your customers feel about you! Follow our top web design tips to make sure your website doesn’t alienate your customers.

Your image, your design and brand appearance matters and should represent who you are as a brand. You want modest, fresh and concise touchpoints that will not only keep your customers on board but will also prove your professionalism and your personal interest in them.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple.

5. Get Feedback From Your Customers

Along with learning from the best, it’s time to learn from yourself as well.

That’s right! You can become your very own teacher!

Well… your customers can.

It’s time to start getting feedback from your customers and learn everything you can about their experience with your brand.

This is a great, practical way to see what you are doing right, and perhaps point you to areas you could improve on. There is no better way to actively review your progress and brand touchpoints than by involving your customers in the experience.

It does sound pretty scary, but this feedback will fuel your brand and get it storming ahead of your competitors. You’ll be able to better understand your clients and craft better touchpoints with them in mind.

Perhaps start by using the bigger touchpoints you have in order to reach out to customers, and then the window is wide open for you to invite them to conduct a survey.

In most businesses, the top three brand touchpoints are likely:

  1. Your website
  2. Your main phone line
  3. Your email address

And if you have a physical store, that would be in there too.

To run surveys on your website, you can use a tool like Hotjar that will ask your site visitors questions.

To do the same via email, you could drop a link in your email signature to a Typeform or similar.

On the phone and in-store, well, you just have to ask!

Be assertive. Just ask your customers what they think of you! Get them to tell you where you need to improve and what you need to continue doing.

In doing so, not only will you be able to improve your customer’s experience, but you will show them you are taking a personal interest in them; you’ll prove that you really care about them.

But, this is no easy battle.

You want to get feedback without coming across as needy or irritating – and that can be difficult! To get a breakdown on how to create first-class customer surveys, step over to Survey Monkey for some spot-on advice.

Why is it Important?

Your customers are the heart and soul of your brand. What they say matters, and getting their views will strengthen your resolve to work hard to map and create better experiences for them.

Having “real world” feedback will allow you to make meaningful adjustments to your brand touchpoints – rather than just guessing!

6. Think Like Your Customers

Once you have collected the data on what your customers want, you’ll be better equipped to create new touchpoints, or improve on your existing ones, giving them a more tailored experience.

In addition, you’ll become a pro at knowing what your customers want and you will be able to deliver that to them.

Customers want to feel understood and well thought of. They want to feel you have made a personal effort to reach out to them and to find out their likes, dislikes, wants, and needs.

To do so, you need to think like your customer. This is key to winning the hearts of your consumers, and you can do it in just a few simple steps:

  • Conduct customer surveys to scope out what they need from you
  • Keep a record of what your customers are loving most about you
  • Create personable touchpoints that will draw your customers closer to you
  • See what other services are popular with your customers and client base via social media
  • Whenever you create a touchpoint, think about how it will benefit your customers
  • Make mindful adjustments when you receive negative feedback.

To make customers feel valued, you’ve got to think like them!

Why is it Important?

No one will put their trust in a business that doesn’t resonate with them. Consumers need to feel acknowledged, appreciated, and wanted, even if they haven’t given anything out to you.

Therefore, mapping out your customer touchpoints must be done with the customer in mind in order for them to contribute to your brand and see the need to use your products and services.

7. Stay True to Your Brand

And breathe.

You’ve done it. You’ve swatted up on defining brand touchpoints and are hopefully a little more confident in creating the best brand experiences for your customers.

While you continue your journey as a business owner, keep your eyes focused on the main reason you started your brand. In order to effectively create and sustain your customer’s journey, you need to stay true to your brand.

Never feel that in order to attract and successfully interact with your customers means that you have to put in all airs and graces.

Just be yourself.

Your loyal customers are loyal to you because of who you are as a brand. They see you on the internet, on their smartphones, and in their favourite magazine. They see you when they hear anything that’s connected to the work that you do and the services you provide. They are loyal to you because of your consistency and your unwavering stability.

So even when businesses around you force themselves to be the best one out their – to come first place in their field – even if it means losing or completely changing parts of their identity, let yourself be known as a brand with a strong sense of identity and integrity.

“Too many companies want their brands to reflect some idealised, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character, and no public trust.” – Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group.

Why is it Important?

Your customers have already made a connection with your brand, and they like you because you’re you. Every time you interact with them using your touchpoints, you are shaping and reshaping their impression of you.

Dramatically changing your tact or imitating other brands to the point of losing yourself will make you lose your customers too.

So keep your brand integrity and stay true to your brand strategy, and to your customers.

Focus on crafting unforgettable experiences for your customers by making every touchpoint count.

When Brand Touchpoints Work: Some Top Notch Examples

You want your customers to have the best experience possible, and you want them to interact and relate with your business in the same way that they do with the big brands out there.

If that’s the case, why not take a look at some of those big brands? Why not see how they have mastered customer touchpoints and achieved their success?

Let’s learn from the big boys and feed off their knowledge in order to create, and sustain, brand touchpoints that work for your customers.

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