How to incorporate a practical brand growth model into the redesign process to get the best results for your next new website.
The challenge with many website redesign efforts is that they fail to include activities that relate to the brand. Not addressing the brand properly during the redesign process can lead to scope creep and unexpected project costs.
So, here is a look at the linear stages of a branding growth model that should be applied like guard rails to the website redesign process. It doesn’t matter what an agency’s design methodology is (agile or waterfall) – the branding growth model has a sequential order.
- Purpose – Content – 3. Creative – 4. Production
It is will easily augment with any design methodology. But remember, this model is sequential. For example; if you go too far without stage 3, the creative stage, without flushing out stage 1 or 2, purpose or content, you will likely take on project scope creep.
As a visual designer over the years, I have been a part of hundreds of website launches and redesigns for Fortune 500, mid-size and start-up companies. The sites have varied in ranges from less than 10 pages to over 10,000 pages. Under the technical hood, they varied from Enterprise Content Management systems to transactional eCommerce marketplaces to simple WordPress CMS solutions. Distilled from my experiences is a proven growth model that successfully serves as guard rails for successful design or redesign website and applications
I’m sharing these practical branding tips in hopes of helping other business owners learn how engage effectively in the creative process and increase the success of their website redesign initiatives.
Let’s get started.
Branding Tip #1: Define the Business goal Purpose of your Redesign
Embarking on a new website for your business can create lots of excitement as well as pressure. Many redesigns get completed but never get launched, like movie footage that doesn’t make the final cut. Why? Its very easy for a website redesign project to go off the rails. You can help to keep it on track by applying the brand growth model throughout the process.
The first step is to define the business goals of what you want to achieve with your website – it should be kept simple and straight-forward. For example; improving the look and feel should be coupled with converting more visitors to customers, increasing website traffic by 50% or lowering a bounce rate by 15%. A website always has the potential to be a force multiplier of your sales efforts support your sales team.
Branding Tip #2: Audit the Content of Your Competitors
A redesign is a perfect time to review the content that describes your solutions, services, or products. To do this, you must do research. One of my biggest pet peeves in the redesign process is when I see the use of garbled Latin text, commonly known as greeking or dummy text. It’s used in presentations of creative redesign solution mock-ups or wireframes. What good is the creative solution if the text is written in a dead language and you can’t read what is says?
Its the job of visual designers and digital agencies to use the right words and images to convey messages and ideas that appropriately represent the solutions and services of your brand. The content about your services should be benefit-driven, up to date and on par with your competitors. Improving your content messaging and calls to action should clearly differentiate you from competitors and be supported by impactful visuals.
Branding Tip #3: Achieve consistency with a web standards page for build-outs
There is a theory that many companies have an existing set of brand guidelines, that came with the logo they received from graphic designer or branding consultant. The reality is that brand style guides are very useful and comprehensive documents – but if you don’t have one, its ok.
Collect the top 3 visual elements and create a style guide as a page in your web production process. On one page, include colors, fonts, buttons and links.
- Color Palette (Primary, Secondary and Accent Colors)
- Typography (Big text, Headline Text, Copy Text, H1 to H6)
- Buttons and Links (Style, Color, Usage)
Branding Tip #4: Ensure positive UX is achieved before relaunch
In the web production stage, the focus is on interaction design, responsive/adaptive design, advanced CSS styling and CMS implementation. Clickable client reviews are guided by a simple punch list of must-have fixes and edits before launch and back pocket features and enhancements that will be rolled out in future phased increments. Ensure a positive experience is reached before pulling the trigger, a soft launch done on time, does nothing for the first impression.
Quality control assurance should be guided by key activities and best practices before deployment:
– Multiple Review Cycles
– Adaptive/Responsive Testing
– Style Consistency
– SEO / Google Word Count
– Friday T-Minus 48 Launch Dates
– CMS Training and Support
Branding Tip #5: Commit to your redesign like its a new first impression
Branding is ultimately about managing the perception of your business, so applying the proper branding expertise to a website redesign process will not only improve visual results of your business web presence, but it will also become more likely to be considered for new opportunities.
Make your new first impression last by creating a memorable experience for customers, partners and employees. They will admire your brand for it.
– Jerome, Creative Director at brandEvolve.