April 11, 2017

Let Your Brand Fade and Your Business Will Follow

brand significance

In the Internet Age, the most dangerous thing a business can do is remain stagnant. Industry leaders across the board typically agree that – at a minimum – keeping up with the competition is imperative. But a surprising number of execs and owners believe “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That’s risky thinking. Especially when it comes to marketing. And considering the breakneck speed at which technology evolves, “Ain’t broke” today could be a catastrophe by tomorrow morning.

This example came across my desk recently:
An established, 50 year old, $100 million civil engineering company is based in New Jersey. They’ve earned tremendous respect among their peers. Their work is top notch, and with strong buzz on the street, business should be booming. But, they recently read that a direct competitor inked a huge deal with a billion dollar developer from China looking to build on Jersey City’s Gold Coast. Suddenly, their position is much less secure.

But it’s no wonder why they were beat out. A quick Google search reveals that the competitor – although relatively new in the industry – has a state-of-the-art website, a recently overhauled brand, up-to-date portfolios, regularly updated blog posts and an engaging visual aesthetic.

Meanwhile, the established firm relies on word-of-mouth and their work history to attract business, and lets their outdated website continue to age. That’s old school, and hurt them more than they realized.

When international developers search for “civil engineering firms in New Jersey”, the established company gets overlooked, while competitors with professional online presences impress and engage.

The best solution is to be proactive. Online failures have real-world consequences. No matter how strong your business may appear, if you’re not making a strong impression on the Internet, you’re going to be left behind.

An investment in your online presence is an investment in the future of your business. But this doesn’t happen by accident. It takes planning. It takes strategy. And it requires a capable partner who understands and can develop your vision.

I get it. But what do I do now?

If a lightbulb has gone off for you, good! Improvement and growth come as a result of overcoming challenges, looking closely inward, and committing to a positive plan for change. Fortunately, this challenge is one that can be overcome.

Does my brand represent what I do?

Does my website have an engaging aesthetic?

Is my website content current and up-to-date?

Here’s a simple path to begin. Start with 3 simple questions:

Does My Brand Represent What I Do?

If you operate at a very high level, or if your typical client is top tier and sophisticated, or if you provide complex, comprehensive solutions, shouldn’t your brand reflect that? If what you do and how you show up don’t match, you’re selling yourself short.

Overhauling your brand is NOT a fast track to new business and revenue, but remember the firm in the story above, who missed out big-time as a result of an outdated brand and website.

Rebranding is probably the most direct way to breathe some fresh air into your business and significantly improve your online presence. If it’s been over a decade since your logo has been touched up, odds are that it needs to be altered to reflect the growth that your business has experienced.

Keep in mind, your brand is more than just a logo. Rebranding gives you the opportunity to unite your business and team, define your messaging, and exemplify the unique values your company brings to the table.

Does My Website Have an Engaging Aesthetic?

According to GrowthHackers, 85% of customers search the web before making a purchasing decision, and just like in real life, first impressions matter. As an online extension of your brand, your website’s aesthetic needs to match how you want to be perceived.

Strategic planning is the key to making this happen. Outlining how you help your target market and what sets you apart are two great topics to start with. These can define and shape the visual and functional design of your website, and put you on a path to an engaged audience. According to a Harvard Study done on first impressions of websites, it literally takes less than one second for a user to form an opinion about your website, and therefore the perceived reliability, integrity and level of sophistication of your business.

The same Harvard study also revealed these three extremely important facts: first impressions are 94% design related; 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website design; and websites that are perceived as great looking are also perceived as usable and trustworthy. Whoa.

So, if you’re not currently impressed with your own website, potential clients likely won’t be either. And if you’re not an expert on the visuals, hire a pro.

Is my website content current and up-to-date?

If you are a B2B or service-oriented business, chances are you’ve got expertise, services, projects, case studies, and more. You’ve got stories to tell. And regular publishing of these highlights not only helps draw traffic to your website, but strengthens your position once visitors arrive.

Sometimes less is more, but on your website, content is king. Regularly updated portfolios, resource libraries, and blogs & news sections give your web visitors a chance to do their own research on your company and your work history. According to a CEB article, B2B decision makers are 57% along their decision journey before they contact you.

Where does that 57% of their decision journey take place? On your website.

Keeping portfolios up to date showcases your recent work. Blogs give insight from your leadership. And if done correctly, resources help educate your visitors and usher them along towards a decision – and working with your firm.


Embrace these concepts, cater to what your audience is looking for, and you will surely improve your position. Will you generate instant business or revenue? Not exactly.

But if you fall behind, you will absolutely miss out on opportunities. And there is one absolute certainty in business: Ignore your audience, and they will go away.

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