A website is your virtual home. In the same way you would construct and decorate a home, you have to construct and ‘decorate’ a website to reflect your brand. This idea stretches from a strong technical foundation (to make your site easily found by search engines) to design and content elements that complement each other.
Things to consider:
- Color choices
- Logo and its usage
- Written content: style and tone
- Content pieces and pages
- Portfolios (sorted by industry or type)
- Case Studies and Testimonials
- Pictures (renderings/before and after photos)
- About Us and Staff Profiles
The content of your site is vital to branding your firm and positioning it as the expert. Include content on your site that showcases your knowledge and expertise, such as a project portfolio with pictures and explanations. If I’m looking for a company to help with a medical facility building project, I’d be much more likely to contact your firm if I see you’ve had experience working with healthcare facilities.
A good user experience, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality, significantly affects the perception of your company. A good website is a lot like a good grocery store. It’s organized and clearly labeled. Grocery stores have signs on the outside (pharmacy, garden, grocery) alerting visitors to what’s in the store, and signage inside telling them what’s on each aisle and in each section. Your site needs to do the same, from its homepage to its navigation, so site visitors can easily browse or find specific information. They’ll stay on the site longer when they find what they need and perceive you as more helpful and professional.
Blogs are invaluable for a few reasons. They position you as a thought leader in your field, making you the expert or go-to firm, and they also help with your search engine optimization.
Blogs are a great place to include case studies of past projects. Your clients are happy for the press, and you can drill down the design choices you made. You can show that you don’t just design pretty buildings, you create what the clients want, on budget and on time. You’ll also naturally use appropriate keywords (e.g., designing healthcare facilities) when highlighting your project, another helpful search engine optimization boost.
These blogs, and other content you produce, such as whitepapers and checklists, can also be used in nurture-based marketing campaigns that move decision makers closer to purchase.
Branded Social Media
In the same way that people are recognizable based on their physical characteristics, your social media channels should be consistently branded so your audience “recognizes” your firm. You can accomplish effective branding with consistent design choices. Use the right colors (there are a thousand shades of blue – which one is yours? Keep that one across the board), consistent images on cover photos and profile photos, and the same font and accent colors. This is your first impression.
Your second impression is your “voice,” that quality in your written content that makes a reader think, “this sounds like ABC firm.” Where your design is the physical characteristics of the firm's brand, your written content is the personality. Your voice is largely a result of your tone and style.
Your written content can often take cues from design elements, like your logo. Is the tone of your writing professional, witty, corporate, irreverent, educational, casual, friendly, formal, conservative, creative etc.? Find what works for your firm and instruct anyone who writes your content (be that an agency or your internal team) to shoot for that.
Choose the Best Channel
Use social media channels that make the most sense for your firm and your audience. Pinterest is great for an architecture firm because people can browse images of your past work. Share your portfolio pieces with your audience. These images showcase your capabilities and instill a bit more confidence in your brand. Linking these back to your website will help increase traffic, too.
Bringing It All Together
Branding and positioning is primarily about quality and consistency. When you shop for clothes, you gravitate towards specific colors, brands, looks, qualities, functionality (for workout clothes vs. your dress shoes). Think about your brand presence in this way. What fits your firm best? Use this answer to inform your choices, from design and content to functionality and the social media channels you frequent.
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.