Are brands relevant in the age of websites and online content marketing?

Auckland, New Zealand: They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but is it possible for a brand to have the same power, particularly when it comes to websites, online sales and the new ‘normal’ of content marketing?

If you think content is the only king, then you might find the answer is actually quite a lot more intimidating than a simple ‘yes, good branding is still important’.

Researchers led by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard at Carleton University in Ontario are emphatic in their response: "Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors.” (as reported in the eCommerceTimes)

Dr Lindgaard and his team found that you have just 1/20th of a second to form a good first impression, particularly when it comes to your website and how your brand is represented – the only way you can get your point across that fast is with the power of visual communication.

"...the strong impact of the visual appeal of the site seemed to draw attention away from usability problems. This suggests that aesthetics, or visual appeal, factors may be detected first and that these could influence how users judge subsequent experience.... Hence, even if a website is highly usable and provides very useful information presented in a logical arrangement, this may fail to impress a user whose first impression of the site was negative." - (Lindgaard 2006)

What Dr Lindgaard is also saying is that if the look of your site is poor, it doesn’t matter how useful or functional the actual website is, because your customer will constantly look for cues that reinforce his or her initial negative impressions before they depart for good – and that’s very hard to come back from.

Clearly a good brand (whether new or a rebranding) is much more than your logo. It is the entire visual communication of your business – including your values, your products and your services – it effectively communicates and creates a perception in the mind of your customer within 1/20th of a second.

Clearly, a good brand is actually worth more than a thousand words. It’s worth a ton of new business.

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