A New Website Won’t Fix Your Brand: 3 Common Mistakes

Posted on by Jessica Melhorn

Difficult choices of a businessmanWebsite problems and brand problems can display similar symptoms. Although digital and brand are permanently joined at the hip, mending one won’t fix the other.

It’s less intimidating for organizations to build a new website than it is to put brand under the microscope. But this is a misstep, as a managed brand benefits the entire organization’s health. Regular brand inspections reveal problems and magnify strengths that can be used to differentiate from competitors.

It’s not always a conscious decision to avoid brand. When problems arise, it’s easy to stop at the surface and assume the right diagnosis has been reached.

Here are three common website problems that indicate underlying brand problems.

  1. There’s inconsistency in our visual identity

An identity crisis can throw your marketing efforts in a tailspin. If a website project wanders into a logo redesign or falls outside the brand standards, call a timeout. Talk about what is causing the inconsistency. For example, is growth by acquisition causing design angst? Do product divisions market themselves differently and they need to come together more?

These decisions should be resolved outside of a website planning workshop. Avoid the temptation to make hasty decisions. It will create more confusion. A brand strategist, not an interactive designer, should inform visual identity challenges.

  1. Our website doesn’t showcase who we are

The website must represent who you are, but it can be a struggle to find differentiated words and images. This runs deeper than a bad case of writer’s block. It signals the need to revisit brand positioning and messaging.

Your brand will not be compelling if it feels like everyone else’s brand. Avoid marketing speak by discovering what is really meaningful for your target audience.

Once you have the right words and images, don’t stop with the website. If the website didn’t showcase who you are, employees probably aren’t on board either. A strong brand will guide employees’ words and actions if it’s activated properly.

  1. We need the website to generate more qualified leads

Effective lead generation involves a complex system of marketing strategies and tactics working together like a well-oiled machine. Unless your organization is small, multiple teams probably share ownership of this goal. Leave it to a disorganized brand to wreck everyone’s best-laid plans. Your website is the central hub of your digital ecosystem but customers don’t look to it for the whole story. It’s not the only thing to blame for poor lead generation.

Technology has changed the way people interact with and get to know brands. A strong brand provides strategic purpose for internal teams juggling parts of the same objective and explains what engages a qualified lead. It describes how the brand is delivered in digital and enables them to activate it consistently. In this way all digital touchpoints, not just the website, are contributing to drive leads into the funnel.

Brand problems don’t mean a rebranding is always necessary. Depending on the severity and area of the trouble, localized efforts can do the trick too. Brand is both authentic and aspirational and requires capturing an outside-in perspective to strike (and maintain) that balance. Once the brand is in good working order, website problems can be addressed with clarity.

Jessica Melhorn is the director of client solutions at JPL. For a free ebook on common management mistakes, click here.


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