5 Main Creative Strategies to Advertise and Market a “Boring” Brand with Smart Web Design
Editor’s Note: The following piece was contributed by Kris Travis, a designer for A. Wordsmith, a boutique public relations firm in Portland, Oregon. With a keen eye for detail and thoughtful problem-solving skills, Travis helps translate marketing goals into creative, relevant and impact visual solutions.
Branding a product or service that’s less than sexy has its challenges. Things like banking and health insurance rarely make the heart sing. Yet numerous “boring” brands have found ways to hit it out of the park with their digital communications. Strategic brand and web design tactics play key roles in their success. There are hundreds of ways to spice up a bland brand, but here are five essential design strategies we use to effectively market a “boring” product or service online.
Clean and Clutter-Free Design
I won’t advocate for strict minimalism where it doesn’t make sense, but with homepage designs, many businesses often try to do too much at once. Frequently overloaded with content, a site homepage may do better acting as the beautiful, can’t-miss book cover.
The push to include everything on the homepage is understandable; there’s a natural fear that the potential consumer won’t stick around if they aren’t clear on the whole story right away. But it’s often the opposite—if you can hook a new visitor with just the right tagline, image, or even mood, they will dive deeper on their own. The key with this approach is “edit to amplify.”
Simple bank has put its name into practice—the homepage is clean, warm and speaks to potential bank customers’ goals (rather than presenting a cold sales pitch). The use of high-quality photography and on-trend, hand-crafted fonts is an engaging, lifestyle-based approach for a company that provides financial services.
Ever felt like a deer in the headlights in the grocery store cereal aisle? American brands are really good at providing choice—lots of it. But sometimes too much choice is overwhelming and consequently detrimental to the user experience. If you have a specific path you want the user to follow, design accordingly. Providing them with too many navigation choices may backfire and they could leave the site before trying any of them.
Be Brave (And Embrace Good Design)
Just because the product or subject matter is a bit dry doesn’t mean the design has to be. Conservative brands often shy away from embracing the latest design trends, afraid to rock the boat and scare off potential customers. While it’s important to carefully consider the end user, a little more design risk could result in bigger rewards, warmer brand feelings and stronger customer loyalty.
“I Feel You”
Be empathetic. Be real. How can you make the user’s experience as easy and seamless as possible—and beyond that, fun? This can be as simple as providing however tool tips or adding estimated reading time to an article so users can decide whether they have time to click through.
Maybe you humanize an otherwise technical product by adding fun Easter eggs. For example, I use Fresh books to manage my timekeeping and invoices. Tracking time is not my favorite thing to do, but occasionally when I log my time, Fresh books cheers me on with silly messages like, “Way to go!” or “Pow!” Humorous and unexpected details like these add personality to a pretty square service.
Surprise Them with Motion
Video and animation can tell the brand story and establish mood in immediate and impressive ways and dynamic content of any sort helps a static product or brand feel current and relevant. Video is more popular than ever and allows for product demonstrations, engaging storytelling, and viral potential.
I would not necessarily expect to see clever video on a cleaning service’s website, but that’s exactly what we get from UK-based Eagle Clean’s homepage—a background video of a quick screen clean (and you can even download their “Screen clean screensaver”). It’s a surprising, delightful and fun addition to what could have been an otherwise boring online brochure about professional cleaning services.
ACME’s site feels less like a website and more like a cinematic, immersive experience—all to market services and solutions like “logistics and distribution,” “industrial automation” and “pneumatic and vacuum manipulators.”
Show Some Respect
When all is said and done, successful design is driven by a respect for your audience, and a thoughtful understanding of how you can make their lives better. Employ smart design strategies to show you care, and your audience will in turn value your brand, no matter how “boring” it seems in the wild landscape of the World Wide Web.
Info courtesy (http://www.howdesign.com/)