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Courageous brand stories in website design

by Suzette Garvey

Website design ― at its best — amplifies an excellent customer experience. It also provides an opportunity for a courageous brand story. Why courageous? Because bold storytelling pushes the next layers of excellence to the surface. Or, you could just leave it to chance ... not recommended. Here's why.

Strategic storytelling involves research that includes a competitor analysis. However, time and time again, this process reveals that too many brands within the same industry are saying close to the same thing. It's almost as if content writers took the words from various competing websites, shook them up in a cup and rolled them out into recycled phrases like they were playing a board game.

The truth is, strong differentiation is hard work. Not only in the writing, but in the discovery process. Getting beyond "We care, too" requires teasing out ― or dragging out ― industry expertise that’s waiting below the surface. This expertise is found within the cyclical patterns of organizational team leaders who've threaded their talents through the eye of the cultural needle. This “magic behind the scenes” is unique to each organization. While it's partly steered by culture, it's largely brought to life by the people in leadership and on the front line. Such discovery can result in the most pivotal content within a website design project.

Why strategic storytelling matters in website design

  • It's essential for identifying specific steps and examples that support the professed differentiation.
  • It can reveal product or service strengths needing further emphasis.
  • Your team benefits from knowing about inconsistencies within the culture that require operational or communications intervention.
  • Organizational strengths should be tied together, as clearly as possible, for a richer customer experience.

Going behind the scenes with your storytelling discovery process

  • Craft questions that go beyond departmental descriptions and into systems details, audience pain points and how they're currently addressing those pain points.
  • Submit questions that department leaders can answer in advance of a more in-depth discussion.
  • Make time for in-depth conversations around how department leaders and their teams view their processes through the customer’s perspective. Sometimes, they're already doing many wonderful things that just haven't been brought to the forefront of communications. Other times, they see how much further they have to grow in their user experience and customer experience. This can inspire improvements for the website now and in future phases.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “Isn't this going overboard? Just write the darn content already.” However, when website design ― the foundation of your marketing promotions ― is done properly, your cascading content also improves. Often, new highlights shake loose for sales decks, brochures and future opportunities.

Your brand is your center, but it only lives as passionately as the people within your organization. Telling their stories and your customers’ stories is the essence of what humanizes your brand. Strong leaders know organizational strength is only as good as the people they hire. They hear them out so the organization can grow.

That takes courage.

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