When we think about branding for business, we tend to consider only the most obvious examples such as our logos, names, perhaps the basic design and layout of our website. In doing so, however, we are neglecting all of the different customer interaction points through which we can establish our brand.
Consider the following five examples of branding at its best, all of which you can replicate in your own business fairly easily.
Interactive Login & Sign Up Buttons (Wufoo)
Wufoo is a company that helps you create forms and store data. Let’s face it, forms have never been interesting. People hate forms; myself included. So how do you make a brand around forms interesting?
Wufoo made their website dinosaur themed and took it to the extreme.
One of the customizations I love about Wufoo is how the top right of their website, where a user logs in, turns into a RAWRR! on hover. Trivial? Perhaps.But consider that the login button is likely to be one of their most clicked areas on the website – in fact, all users wanting to log in by definition have to click it.
So a little experience like that reaches a lot of people and has probably put a smile on the faces of many.
Personalized Cards And Gifts (FreshBooks)
Another topic that isn’t particularly high on everyone’s favorites list is bookkeeping and accounting. But someone has to do it, and one of those companies that does it well is FreshBooks. They are well-known for sending their customers cakes on their birthdays.
How is this branding, you ask? In and of itself it might just be seen as cakes to customers, but combined with universal phone support, an extensive FAQ section, and a help guide, it conveys the message that they care about their customers and back it up with excellent support.
Direct Customer Service Hotline (Zappos/NinjaOutreach)
Speaking of customer service, another company that I associate with top-notch customer service is none other than Zappos. They allow customers to wear a pair of shoes for up to one year and still return it if they decide they don’t like it for a full money back guarantee with shipping!
Additionally, they proudly display their customer service number at the top of the website. This is something we at NinjaOutrach have adopted. I post my personal cell phone number at the top of the website, and yes, sometimes people do call.
Owning Social Media (Taco Bell)
Most businesses understand the basic principles of Twitter for promotion. But few truly know how to utilize it like @TacoBell.
Taco Bell is famous for the amount of wittiness they can cram into 140 characters on a daily basis. They are so good at it that BuzzFeed wrote an entire article featuring Taco Bell Tweets. Eating at Taco Bell isn’t like going into surgery (though surgery might result if you eat there too often). It’s meant to be light and fun, and that’s how they run their Twitter account.
Leading With Transparency (Pat Flynn – SPI)
Let’s take a step back from the more traditional businesses, to look at one of the leaders in the online branding space, Pat Flynn. His homepage is ripe with several examples from which we can all benefit.
Here it is:
Perhaps the most noticeable features of Pat’s site can be classified as transparency and personalization. Here he leads with a picture of himself instead of hiding behind his brand or relegating himself to a small picture in the sidebar. It is accompanied by a friendly greeting (“Hi! I’m Pat”) with font that makes it appear handwritten.
This is just a small portion of other ways that you can extend your brand into your website and messaging. When done correctly, branding isn’t just about building visual appeal, but ingratiating particular concepts like excellent customer service or ease of use into the minds of the customers you are trying to win over.
David Schneider is 1/3rd of an exciting new marketing software company called NinjaOutreach. He blogs about entrepreneurship at SelfMadeBusinessman and tweets @ninjaoutreach (update – Dave no longer runs these websites, but can be found at lesschurn.io and daveschneider.me).