To kick off our Building Brand series, let’s take a look at your customer’s first impression of you. Brand is about how people think of you, after all. We often only get a few minutes to make an impression on someone we meet and that first impression can last years (you know you never saw your sister’s boyfriend the same after he went to shake your hand and vomited all over your new shirt) so it’s important to get it right.
When you meet someone on the street, it’s natural to size them up in the first 30 seconds. As people, we usually ask ourselves “Do I trust this person?” or “Is this person like me?” Our natural cues are hard-wired in our mammal brains and include things like eye contact, body language, clothing, mannerisms, and the way a person speaks. These things tell us in subtle ways who we’re dealing with and if we can relate. That creeper with the shifty eyes asking you to join him in the alley for a free psychic reading is probably not someone you should trust or follow. You don’t know why… it’s just a gut feeling. (And, in that example, maybe just common sense.) But the warm smile of the girl at the cash register makes you feel comfortable about what you’re buying. We pick up on these things naturally and subconsciously.
So it goes with companies on the web.
As with face-to-face encounters, each of your marketing platforms and channels is a potential handshake moment with your customer base. It’s important to keep it clean and consistent so as to present the correct message to your audience when they meet you for the first or second time.
When a person is first introduced to your brand, either on your website or social media profile, they immediately factor in a number of cues to formulate an assumption or opinion. If your homepage is cluttered and messy, it’s the equivalent of shabby clothes and poor hygiene. Spelling and grammar errors in your posts or status updates read like someone who is unintelligent or ill-spoken. The message you send with your digital brand communicates more than just pretty design. This is the way your potential customers will view you as a potential friend or foe.
Digital marketing is about telling the right story to the right people and it all begins with the front end design and content that makes the initial impression. So don’t vomit on their shirt. They’ll remember you that way.