Getting inspiration from this article in Smashing Newsfeed (is that British or what?), the question of what we know about a website or online brand before we even let them speak for themselves.
What do I mean?
Take the recent Pinterest craze.
Did you find it randomly through a search for the website or what it does? Probably not. It’s most likely you heard about it through the news or through a friend posting on social media, or even word of mouth (’twas the case for me). Already, whether you were aware of it or not, the brand was being advertised, and don’t underestimate our ability to whittle down a concept, brand, or idea to what is most important to a person. We do it all the time.
Did you see “The Artist”? What was it about?
It’s a silent movie about the transition from the silent era to talkies, and focuses on an actor who is declining in fame alongside an actress who is ascending. And they love each other.
There you go. I just whittled down 2 hours of film into two sentences, well, one normal one and a much shorter one. But before you even saw the movie, you were given an idea and an image, something to create in your brain to form expectations and anticipation before you even saw the product.
So, what does this have to do with design?
Your website or brand is undergoing this same scrutiny and sizing done by your users. How can you control for it?
Go through your website. What stands out to you? If you had to say what your brand was about in one sentence, what would it be? Does your website communicate that or is it all muddled? I’ll let our a secret about the internet only the most savvy know about: people don’t want to do a lot of hard work when browsing the web. They want quick and easy answers. Whether or not you like this, it’s the way of the web. Does you webpage meet that culture and accommodate?
Find the one thing your brand is about and make it prominent in every place where a person can find you. Shoes for impoverished children. Sharing cool images and ideas with your friends through pins. You get the idea. Know what it is in one sentence and publish it everywhere, even on the brand itself.
That should be all in getting better control over the conversations you’re having with potential users. Make it easy for people to talk about you, and especially say the things you want them to about your brand.