Why a Website Redesign Is the Best Time to Evaluate Your Brand
Eastern Standard works with clients of all sizes — mid-sized regional organizations to expansive global enterprises with dozens of departments and stakeholders. Discussions with our clients about new web projects naturally unearth a broader topic: brand strategy and design.
The final deliverable website redesign projects is rarely just a website.
As a branding and web agency, we position every digital project to present an authentic and holistic view of our clients’ organizations — that includes hitting the right brand notes and audience needs when it comes to positioning, messaging, and visuals.
Organizations rarely achieve a successful website redesign without evaluating the effectiveness of their brand positioning to inform the new site’s content strategy.
Time and again, we find that when clients don’t tackle brand strategy and web design projects at the same time — with the same team — they face delayed decision-making and inconsistencies that stem from disjointed approaches and timeframes. We’ve even seen projects completely stall when brand positioning is not examined proactively. In these cases, we know how to pinpoint the issues and get the project back on track.
When we recently revamped our own website, we took the opportunity for an extensive brand refresh, as well. We evaluated how we’ve evolved to better meet client needs and convey those changes through information architecture, content strategy, and design – resulting in greater project throughput and momentum.
How to Prepare
A combined project of this magnitude is a lot to take on at once. Don’t skip these steps to prepare your team and position your organization for a successful outcome.
Step 1: Get Team Members Talking About Their Vision for a Global Refresh
A combined web redesign and branding project will require your team to revisit and rethink the “7 Ps” of your organization’s foundational positioning: product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical environment.
To get your team thinking about long-term goals to address or improve these elements, consider:
HOW EFFECTIVE IS YOUR CURRENT BRAND?
In the absence of hard data, feedback from clients and prospects can reveal a lot about their perceptions of your brand.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH BRANDING CHANGES?
These goals may be a bit abstract, such as building awareness, connections, differentiation, credibility, and trust.
WHAT SPECIFIC GOALS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR NEW WEBSITE?
Think about specific metrics or KPIs you want to track and how they relate to your goal funnel — from lower bounce rates on key pages to longer browsing sessions and more unique visitors, newsletter signups, and on-site purchases. Identify what you need to track, define how you’re going to measure success, and set specific benchmarks for the future.
HOW DOES YOUR CURRENT SITE’S CONTENT STRATEGY AND VISUAL DESIGN APPROACH SUPPORT OR DERAIL YOUR BRANDING GOALS?
Alignment on both fronts is critical. Take a step back and consider how each is helping or hindering your ability to:
- Speak effectively to audiences in a way that resonates with their needs
- Stand out from peers and competitors in a meaningful and memorable way
- Optimize conversions and meet long-term organizational goals as you look to the future
WHO WILL NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN INTERNAL DECISIONS ABOUT THESE PROJECTS?
There are many decision points throughout the process that require buy in from internal stakeholders and involvement from the project team, so it’s important that they build enough time into their schedules to commit to the project.
Step 2: Understand Your Audiences & What Drives Their Decisions
Whether you have one primary audience — or multiple secondary and even tertiary audiences — they have ever-changing needs, expectations, and pain points that motivate their behavior and decisions. Identifying and understanding these decision factors is a critical step to inform website user journeys, create content, design ad campaigns, and more.
One of the most common client mistakes we see when analyzing how organizations speak to their audiences is that they use internal language that resonates within the company — but not with current or prospective customers.
- Categorizing products and services under internal department names that are irrelevant or unclear to audiences
- Using internal jargon and commonly misunderstood terminology
- Focusing on features and benefits they think are important instead of solving the real-world problems customers explicitly express
Spoiler alert: It’s not about you. Your messaging strategy needs to focus on how you solve your customers’ pain points – and continue doing so as their needs evolve.
The good news? There are many sources of primary and secondary research that can help you understand your audiences, buyer personas, and market trends:
- Current customer data, including behavioral, demographic, and personal information
- Market research reports and studies from government agencies, industry & trade associations — such as Forrester, Gartner, and Nielsen — media sources, and more
- Website analytics
- User search patterns
- Peer and competitor analysis
- Customer surveys and interviews
- Internal stakeholder workshops & alignment conversations
Step 3: Leverage the Value of Visuals
75% of consumers say they judge a business’s credibility based on their website design. It’s that important.
Many organizations don’t want a seismic shift in their visual brand, but rather an update to make it fresh and modern. Often, their original brands were not designed with evolving digital applications in mind — and their brand toolkits are lacking or obsolete. In these cases, your team needs to align on how far the updates should go by evaluating existing brand assets for effectiveness, accessibility, responsiveness for mobile/social applications, and more.
Questions to address when assessing your visual brand:
Does our visual branding align with our identity and audiences?
Does it set us apart in the marketplace?
Does it feel up to date?
Does it contribute to or detract from our credibility?
Does it “work” across all of the platforms we need it to?
Your brand can retain your organization’s core identity but evolve through the website redesign process to create and maintain a consistent customer and user experience. even with moderate adjustments, the impact of a brand refresh combined with a new website makes a much bigger statement.
Go big or go home, as they say.
How Eastern Standard Can Help
Combined web redesign and branding projects are massive undertakings that take substantial expertise to manage effectively. If you’d like a better understanding any of the concepts presented here or to discuss your organization’s specific needs, reach out to start a conversation today.