Corporate identities - keep it consistent, know yourself

By Anne Scharlow, Head of Conversion, Clickthinking

May Marketing Madness Online Strategy Week, Post #12

Your Corporate Identity (CI) creates the general perception of your brand and how it is positioned within the market. It can also go a long way in differentiating you from your competitors.Although a logo is a quintessential representation, it is not the only component of your brand's image. Your product, people, consistent quality and a true understanding of your target market should be reflected in every aspect of a business and at every point of contact. However, theory is only one side; implementation is where it gets tricky.

Experiences With Digital

Simply put, we've found that even large global brands have not yet recognized digital as a fully established marketing channel and thus CI guidelines are either not in place, not readily accessible to digital agencies, or simply too strict to be followed in the digital environment.

Accountability - Who's In Charge?

There seems to be confusion as to exactly whose responsibility it is to make sure that the small automotive dealer website at the end of the world (in our case, South Africa) has the capacity, budget and knowledge to represent the brand correctly. Ideally, there should be guidelines and implementation strategies in place so global brands can ensure that each of their channels is represented in the same consistent and professional way.

Digital Channel Guidelines - How Strict Should They Be?

We believe that digital's main focus is not only brand alignment, but also user-centric design.

Keep it consistent, freshen it up

For example, instead of presenting your website in the various CI aligned grey scales, how about trusting the research and implementing orange call to action buttons? Various usability design elements can increase your conversion substantially but these won't always be in line with your CI. Essentially your product is what will mostly define your brand, and if quality is in line with customer expectations, can an orange button harm the experience? We think not, and that it will enlighten your customer's online journey right through to the final conversion stage.

Corporate Identity Alignment - How To Keep It Together

Lastly, often for global organizations web systems are roll-out from a centralized head office in the efforts of ensuring CI alignment. However, we've seen too often how these CI systems are fraught with usability faux pas, like not have a cookie trail.

Recommendations - How To Take Action

So what do we recommend? Keep it consistent, but freshen it up. Looking after your digital CI is a relatively simple yet vital requirement that too many brands overlook. The trick is to see it as collaboration with mutual benefits that will strengthen your brand's image and remain in line with usability and user-centric design best practice.

This post is one out of Clicktale's month long May Marketing Madness series. Each of our daily posts will highlight and explain today's best practices, useful tips and smart tools to measure and improve your online business performance. This week's theme is online strategy. Make sure to stay tuned in for more!

About the Author

Anne Scharlow carries with her eight years of extensive marketing experience from high profile brands, including BMW, AOL, Marriott, Electronic Arts, and P&G. Anne joined Clickthinking in 2011 as Head of Conversion. An Adobe SiteCatalyst and Google Analytics Certified Professional, Anne designs, implements and analyzes customized web analytics solutions for Clickthinking's clients and consults on their website performance.

About Clickthinking

Clickthinking is an award winning South African full service digital agency that has provided comprehensive web strategies to high profile clients since 1998. They attribute their success to their precise understanding of consumer behavior and the online customer journey, with a strong focus on persuasion and conversion. By combining elegant, user friendly design with functionality, online visibility and innovative use of technology, Clickthinking delivers results which exceed client site performance targets.

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