Put Your Best Foot Forward

The first impression your brand makes is important. It shapes expectations of what’s to come.

This is as true for people as it is for companies. If you are interviewing for a job, the way you look and present yourself will dictate whether you get the job. Like it or not, the interviewer has subconsciously formed their opinion of the job seeker between the lobby and the interview room. The first two minutes defines the outcome.

To combat this phenomena job seekers are coached to dress up for interviews. Always dress as well or slightly better than the audience.

The same advice is appropriate for companies. How your company looks, especially online, will influence your customers. A tired, disorganized website tells a story, and it’s not positive.

Put your best foot forward when you’re building your brand. Dress up!

Customers Judge With Their Eyes

In the digital realm you are catering to your customers’ eyes. They are forming an opinion on your company’s credibility and capabilities based on how your company looks. Take care to delight their eyes.

Every touch point your customers have with your company is an opportunity to present your brand and engage their eyes. But for the sake of simplicity let’s focus on your website.

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A website engages the eye in a few distinct areas:

1. Menu and Navigation

Think of your menu as your suit and tie. It’s what the user expects to see.

There’s nothing more frustrating than visiting a website and not knowing where to go. A good menu is like a suit, it follows a predictable structure.

When you visit a website you look to the top menu first. “About,” “Services,” and “Contact” prominently featured at the top of the page — where they belong.

Make the navigation of your website simple. The less options the better. Every page should have a logical outcome or next step. First time visitors to your website are not there to explore. They’re there to figure out what your company is, what it does, and how it can help. If you lose them in the process, they’re going to leave.

2. Content

In an interview you are selling yourself. You’re helping the interviewer quickly categorize who you are, what expertise you have to offer, and why you’ll make a great addition to the team.

You can put all this information on your resume, but what really counts is how you tell the story. Is it clear? Are there examples? Do you speak with authority? Are you credible?

You’re doing the same thing with your brand online. You’re telling your story through your content and how you present information — page layout, fonts, use of white space, and imagery.

The structure of your content leads people to form an opinion of your business. If it’s all over the map or information overload, that sends a very powerful signal: insecurity.

Tell your story. Use pictures and videos. Do whatever it takes to make it as plain as day what your company does and how you can help.

3. Personality

When I ran a recruiting agency our recruiters were mandated to conduct fifteen face-to-face interviews per week. We believed the best way to represent our candidates was to know them, which meant meeting them.

The challenge was after a while faces and people started to blend into each other. And worse still, it was easy to forget people that didn’t distinguish themselves from their peers.

The people that stood out demonstrated their personality. They were memorable. They caught your attention and they held it. And these were the people that were referred for the most jobs.

Your website is similar. If it looks like the competition it’s easy to forget.

Make your brand visibly different. Make it catch your customers’ attention, draw them in, and want more. That’s the power of a great visual brand. It makes your brand more appealing and memorable.

Give Your Customer a Reason to Stay

A great outfit doesn’t make the employee, and a great visual identity doesn’t make the brand. There’s got to be substance beyond the first impression.

Your visual identity is a reflection of what it’s like to work with you. It’s a signal of your brand’s personality, your approach to clients, and what customers can expect from you.

Put your best foot forward. Set the customer relationship off on the right foot. It makes everything so much easier later on.