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Building Your Brand Online

Determining who you are as a company and what you stand for becomes the foundation for establishing the rest of your brand.

Establishing a strong and consistent online brand is essential to establishing your business as knowledgeable, trustworthy, and reliable. Plus, it’ll make you look good too.

First, Define Your Brand

You can’t build your brand online if you don’t know what it is. At a base level, determining who you are as a company and what you stand for becomes the foundation for establishing the rest of your brand. Every company is different, does different things, and has different goals. So what your brand ends up looking like, sounding like, and feeling like should be unique to your specific company. For best results, work with a branding agency to help you through the branding process. (We specialize in developing brands, and we’d love to help you out.)

Brand Guide and Examples

Once the parts and pieces of your brand have been defined and created (logo, graphic elements, colors, typography, tone of voice, photography style, etc.), you’ll have the assets you need to start building your brand online. These assets are usually collected, organized, and defined in a brand guide. 

Let’s take a look at how Google, Spotify, Atlassian, and Netflix convey their brand standards. 

Google brand guide
Google brand guide
Spotify brand guide website
Spotify brand guide
Atlassian brand guide
Atlassian brand guide
Netflix brand guide
Netflix brand guide

Create Visual Consistency With Color and Typography

The colors and typography used on your website and online branded content affect how people experience your brand, so it’s essential to use them regularly and consistently. Your brand colors and typography are two of the most important elements of your brand because when used well, they create a visual throughline across all of your branded content.

Your brand should have a range of colors and font styles to choose from. But don’t go overboard with the color and font combinations. Instead, create a handful of effective combinations that can be used in a variety of situations. This will give you brand consistency without sacrificing brand personality.

Google displayed on devices
Google uses its color palette very minimally, with plenty of negative space.
"Download Spotify" on bright green background
Spotify uses its primary green color to draw attention when needed.
Blue, orange and green illustrated people using tech
Atlassian uses shades of their primary blue to great effect, with more vibrant colors used in their brand illustrations and other primary actions.
A screen capture of Netflix's website showing a collage of movie covers
Netflix uses strong contrasts between their red, black, and white brand colors, with minimal copy and line illustrations, so their brand doesn’t get in the way of their content.

Develop Your Brand Expression

Another key element of a successful brand is creating and using brand expression. Brand expression is the particular way your brand is conveyed (or expressed) across various media. Any set of brand assets (logo, colors, fonts, graphic elements, patterns, imagery, etc.) can be combined in millions of ways. However, throughout your brand development process and during the creation of the first few marketing materials, you’ll start to discover specific combinations of brand assets that are most effective in communicating your message and your brand. These specific combinations of assets are collectively known as your brand expression. For example, one particular combination of a large headline and brand pattern might be best for blog posts. Another combination of subtle headlines, photos, and icons might be better for anniversary announcements. There’s no limit to the way your brand can be expressed, as long as the executions as a whole feel like they’re all part of the same brand.

Google brand expression example
Google brand expression example.
Spotify brand expression example
Spotify brand expression example.
Atlassian brand expression example
Atlassian brand expression example.
Netflix brand expression example.
Netflix brand expression example.

Don’t Forget Your Brand Voice

Your brand is more than just the visuals you use in your marketing materials. It is also the way your brand “talks.” This is known as your brand voice. Your brand voice is the way you talk to your customers through written headlines, body copy, and other branded communications. Your brand voice can have any style you want, as long as it feels true to your core values and brand personality. It can be playful, serious, ominous, quirky, or fun. A well-executed brand voice adds another layer of interaction that helps make a brand more memorable in the minds of your customers.

Google brand voice example
Google brand voice example.
Spotify brand voice example
Spotify brand voice example.
Atlassian brand voice example
Atlassian brand voice example.
Netflix brand voice example
Netflix brand voice example.

Online Is More Than Just Your Website

Your online presence is much more than just your website. Customers interact with your brand online in many other ways. These other interactions should be just as consistent with your brand as anything else you create. Customers may interact via social networks, customer support, chatbots, job postings, and so on. Each customer touchpoint has its own limitations for how you can express your brand (logo size/placement, branded images (or not), amount of text, etc.). So, play to each service’s strength. If it’s a social network, include more branded images, well-written copy, and quality links. If it’s a chatbot or job posting, make sure the copy is in the right tone of voice for your brand. Never miss an opportunity to build your brand in the eyes of the customer, no matter how large or small the interaction may be.

Google’s brand on Twitter
Netflix brand voice example.
Google’s brand on Twitter
Spotify’s brand on Apple’s App Store.
Atlassian’s brand on LinkedIn
Atlassian’s brand on LinkedIn.
Netflix’s brand on Facebook
Netflix’s brand on Facebook.

Your Brand—Everywhere It Should Be

In our interconnected digital world, customers interact with your brand in a variety of ways. The best way to stand out from the noise and stick in the minds of your customers is with consistent and engaging branding. Whether it’s a glimpse of a social post they see as they swipe through their feed, the wording of a reply email, or the visual impact of your home page as they click through from an internet search. The better you express your brand at every level, the greater your chances of increasing your brand awareness and growing your customer base.

We love developing brands and helping them make an impact online. Read more about our branding and design services, or contact us to start your next branding project.

About the Author

Rex Rainey

Rex loves all things design but specializes in branding, web design, and illustration. He’s worked professionally as a designer, art director, and creative lead, at various interactive and branding agencies, since the mid-2000s. When not working, you can find Rex spending time with his family, watching the latest comic book movie/tv series, or deciding which sixth scale collectible he should purchase next.

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