Building a well-balanced, brand ecosystem revolves around one foundational element: A strong website.
Despite the seemingly countless online platforms that boast quick and easy website creation, the truth is, it shouldn’t be that simple. Developing a modern website that can anchor your brand ecosystem while adapting to ever-changing consumer needs is an arduous process, but one that’s completely worthwhile.
The secret to developing and launching a successful, modern website is strategizing your brand ecosystem. Taking the time to renovate your ecosystem is the most overlooked, but most necessary step to building a strong website.
The Brand Ecosystem
Natural ecosystems are responsible for three primary functions: to regulate essential processes, support life systems and provide stability. Brand ecosystems function and are structured in a very similar capacity. A healthy brand ecosystem is a balanced, analytical framework upon which all future brand decisions are based.
It’s more than just understanding your target audience and creating content that speaks to them. An ecosystem provides customers with an interconnected system of services or products that fill a range of customer needs in a one-stop-shop experience.
In his book, “Beloved & Dominant Brands,” David E. Lemley states that “the Brand Ecosystem creates engagement between brands and human beings. It builds brands that better-for-you consumers actively crave with their mind, body, and soul.”
Your brand ecosystem should not only focus on your target audience, but should also consider its physical and digital environments, including current trends and needs, and offer value beyond its products and services.
Brand ecosystems are the most effective current and future method of gaining and retaining customers, allowing your brand to build trust and loyalty with new and existing clients. Ecosystems are the current operating system of successful brands, and this trend will only continue to grow and evolve alongside emerging AI technology. A balanced ecosystem engages consumers at every touchpoint, and the website is the focal point of the ecosystem.
The Hub of the Ecosystem
A healthy brand ecosystem can only exist if it is seamlessly connected to a constantly adapting website hub. Today’s data-driven analytics call for so much more than a one-and-done website that sits unrevised for years at a time.
The modern website is the living, breathing hub of a brand’s ecosystem. Rather than relying on the outdated, linear model of developing a website from a singular component and expecting growth, modern websites are now the centerpiece around which all of its many components balance and revolve.
According to Alan Gilleo, Chief Marketing Officer at LEAP Group, your website is your most important marketing tool…and often your most overlooked:
“If everything isn’t tying into your website, you’re not making use of your most valuable marketing asset.”
A well-anchored website draws customers into a complete immersive experience that is thoughtfully designed and easy to navigate. Ensuring that ecosystem elements such as user experience, AI technology, customer service and product management are sensibly designed and equally balanced will allow customers to enter a branded atmosphere that not only accounts for all consumer needs, but also provides one-click accessible solutions.
Modernizing your website is complex, yet highly possible ¾ especially if you understand the weight and attention needed by two key components: brand identity and data. Just as a home requires solid cornerstones to build a strong foundation, a solid brand identity is necessary to develop a strong website.
Brand identity provides a springboard from which all future brand decisions can be made, and it is informed primarily by data integration.
Brand Identity + Data Integration
In nature, ecosystems are routinely forced to change. In turn, those changes cause organisms within the ecosystem to either adapt, move away, become endangered or become extinct.
Similarly, successful brand ecosystems must also adapt to current consumer needs, social trends and data capabilities, or they may find themselves on the same trajectory of endangerment. Thankfully, the combination of solid brand identity with today’s AI technology can allow brands to adapt and grow at a quicker and smarter pace.
While it is improbable to expect to generate data on every potential consumer (and, frankly, not necessary) current analytic capabilities allow brands to compile well-defined portraits of existing and potential customers.
Each social media and marketing campaign provides an opportunity to collect invaluable data about customer demographics, preferences and needs. This insight is one of the greatest benefits of digital marketing and, if wielded correctly, can shift a stagnant, outdated website to a highly personalized, successful vehicle that promotes brand awareness, promotion and operation. Pair this information with a well-developed brand identity that holds its goals and visions as its secure foundation, and any future data integrations will propel the brand forward with stability.
Michael Wunsch, president of LEAP Agency, explains that grounding data-based adjustments on a solid brand identity is the most reliable way to build a successful modern website. In fact, his sights are now set on providing clients with real-time, data-based website adaptations.
Wunsch is now asking, “How do we protect the brand ecosystem while also showing customers what they want to see?” He believes that analytics can actually learn visitor preferences quickly and efficiently enough to allow brands to create personalized website experiences.
Creating Your Modern Website
- Examine your website content schedules. Current technology allows brands to collect and interpret enough data to understand consumers’ likes, dislikes and behaviors, all while maintaining brand identity. There’s no reason to wait an entire year—or longer—before updating a website to provide a seamless user experience.
The modern website is no longer a static entity. It can be tested and reevaluated quarterly and then modified drastically, if necessary, to adjust to data-based consumer behavior.
- Design a website experience that considers consumer’s likes and dislikes. Access to exactly how and why potential clients find their way to your website means you can and should create a website that allows information to be quickly and easily accessible without wasting time and energy clicking through menus and skimming irrelevant text.
Modernizing a website isn’t only for the brand benefit of data collection and targeted marketing. This data should also be utilized to design a personalized website experience that addresses individual consumer needs.
- Consider an adaptive approach to desktop and mobile website building. We aren’t talking about responsive-adapted sites that adjust content layout based on screen size. Desktop users actually have different needs and expectations than mobile users. A factual breakdown by EnvisionIT Solutions points to speed, convenience and content sharing capabilities as mobile consumers’ top priorities, while users choosing to connect via desktop need full content access and easy site navigation.
- Be willing to break the traditional website design mold. The modern website is all about combining every element of the brand ecosystem into an innovative brand epicenter. Take time to explore how visitors use your website and then create a design that is adapted and engineered to meet their needs.
LEAP Group Innovations
Since jumping on the internet trend in 2000, LEAP is continually positioning itself at the forefront of website innovation. Our consumer-centric, data-driven approach creates a seamless journey across all digital, physical and virtual touchpoints. Because our analytic capabilities are among the most efficient in the industry, our team is currently able to learn consumer behavior and then present our clients with research-based adaptions to modify and modernize their websites.
But this level of service isn’t enough for President Michael Wunsch, who already has his sights set on greater innovations: “I want to begin to build an experience around choice,” Wunsch explained.