Building Your Brand | 10 Questions for Smart Website Owners
 


 

When you stop to consider the major brands that we see around us every day you'll notice that every part of their branding and marketing image is pitch perfect. The look and feel has been carefully coordinated, right down to the design aesthetics, colors and fonts that make up their print media and online presence. All of this - every inch of their plan in fact - was to attract their ideal customer.

To help you begin to develop your brand, I've written 10 questions that will help you define the image that you would like to present to your ideal customer. After the questionnaire, I'll answer the questions myself, to provide you with some insight into the branding and voice decisions that I made in the development of my leading sites, MakingMusicFun.net and MakingArtFun.com. Brainstorm a bit. Write your ideas down. You don't need to figure it all out today, but it should be something you figure out before you jump into designing your site, and marketing it to the masses.



Questionnaire

Your Brand

1) What problem will your website/blog cure, or What solution will it provide?

2) What is the basic essence of your website, or What will your Mantra be?

3) How will you change the lives of the people that visit your website?

4) How will your visitor feel the moment your website/blog loads on their computer?

5) After their first experience, why will your visitor ever want to visit your website/blog again?

6) What legacy will you, and your business, leave to the world?


Your Voice

7) What tone will your website/blog, Facebook/Twitter posts take? Lighthearted? Compassionate? Direct?

8) What will your color pallet, site design, and font choices communicate about your product?

9) Will your website/blog reflect the values of your ideal customer?

10) Will you stand strong, holding to your values, in the face of opposition?




My Brand

1) What problem will your website/blog cure, or What solution will it provide?

Both MakingMusicFun.net and MakingArtFun.com share the same basic goal - provide budget-minded elementary teachers and students with creative free resources. I started the ball rolling with MakingMusicFun.net in 2007, with a few ideas that were based on needs that I couldn't fill with the current selection of products for my music students. These ideas were a good start, but not enough to build a useful site around. After a little more brainstorming, things filled out and I was ready to share my content with the world.


2) What is the basic essence of your website, or What will your Mantra be?

The "Mantra" that drives the creation of each new resource is the same as well:

Creative Resources for Elementary Music Education | MakingMusicFun.net
Creative Resources for Elementary Art Education | MakingArtFun.com

I also took it one step further with a mission statement:

To pursue creative excellence in the design of free music resources for elementary music/art classroom teachers, private music instructors and homeschool parents, for the purpose of building kids up in positive ways and enriching their lives with an appreciation for music/art and learning.

And there it was in a nutshell. All the directing that I needed to keep me on track, and let folks know what my sites were all about.


3) How will you change the lives of the people that visit your website?

Right from the beginning I wanted MakingMusicFun.net to be a site that made kids feel happy and successful. Resources needed to be colorful, engaging, and highly productive. I'm grateful for the emails that I receive these days, letting me know that I'm connecting with kids in a very positive way, and their musical experience is a little bit better because of what I've created.


4) How will your visitor feel the moment your website/blog loads on their computer?

My intention is to make them feel as if they've come upon a website that is committed to creating quality resources for kids. It's my feeling that this all beings by wearing the right outfit for the occasion - a smart, colorful, kid-friendly design.


5) After their first experience, why will your visitor ever want to visit your website/blog again?

I think if you can capture their attention with a great design, they will stay long enough to check out a few pages on your site. A recent site redesign I did for a client proved that when we took a look at the stats. Beyond that, the size of your website and the quality of your content will be the determining factors as to whether they return or not. My music site currently sees a 23% return visitor rate per month, and my smaller art site a 20% return visitor rate per month.


6) What legacy will you, and your business, leave to the world?

It's my hope that my legacy will be just what I set out to do in the beginning - build kids up in positive ways while enriching their lives with an appreciation for music/art and learning. Occasionally I get a grumpy email about this or that, but most of them seem to indicate that I will leave the world a little better off. Yippee!


My Voice

7) What tone will your website/blog, Facebook/Twitter posts take? Lighthearted? Compassionate? Direct?

I keep my communication with my music/art sites audiences pretty light and fun. It seems right for my kids centered sites, and everyone is better off with a few more giggles.


8) What will your color pallet, site design, and font choices communicate about your product?

My voice for these sites is very light and fun, while letting visitors know that I am very serious about delivering the best elementary music/art education content on the web - at least I try. Colors are bright and fun, and the design is both elegant an wacky at the same time - that's Me! I choose the standard Helvetica/Arial font because it's very simple and readable. A study I read one time indicated that the more a font diverged away from this standard, the more difficult the subject is perceived to be. So why make it hard?


9) Will your website/blog reflect the values of your ideal customer?

I think that every parent that visits my site is a parent that is involved with there kids. They want the best for them. They want quality resources. They want resources that inspire, and they want a place where even there kids can go to feel happy and safe. I want that too, and I've worked hard to build that place for them.


10) Will you stand strong, holding to your values, in the face of opposition?

Once in a while folks email me with suggestions. Some I take, and some I express my gratitude for, and leave it at that. On one occasion a lady emailed me about including biographies of women composers on MakingMusicFun.net. I'd love to make everyone happy, but in this case it wasn't the right move for the site. My list of composers included Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, and many other who have made a significant impact on music history, and are an important part of the elementary school music curriculum. The music of women composers is not. That's the cold, hard truth. I'm glad to include Grandma Moses on my art site, because she is in fact a significant historical figure in art, and an inspiration to so many aspiring artists. You can't please everyone.


I hope you found this helpful. As always, I'm glad to offer a thought or two if you'd like to shoot me an email.


by Andrew Fling

 

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