eSites Network Website Design

We make the challenging simple.

eSites Network complete provides solutions to the SME sector that are simple, cutting edge as well as cost effective.

Online, the users' experience IS your brand

We know that web design involves a lot of work - and we're not scared to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.

Stand out amongst the crowd

Your brand is the totality of your business and making it stand out amid a crowd of competitors is a challenge today.

Simply speaking - getting customers, keeping customers

The knowledge economy requires utilising new media avenues to create effective communication between you and your customers and stakeholders.

Humanise your brand by building relationships

You know your business. We know what works on social and new media. Put those together you have a powerful combination to build relationships with customers.

The modern logo has to work harder than ever before. In the past, a company logo was perhaps intended simply for a shop sign and printed in local newspaper adverts. Today’s logos have to work with a growing plethora of smart devices with varying screen sizes and resolutions, displaying responsive websites.

Often logos end up suffering within responsive website design. Many have not been designed with responsive frameworks and variable sizes in mind, and are just resized to fit whatever available space has been provided for them or not.

However, there are brands that do well within the responsive web space. These are brands and logos that have been designed carefully, with consideration as to how they will display within changing formats. The very best logos are simple and flexible, with varying formats and layout options so that when a site is optimized for a device, the brand is also optimized to the space allocated for it.

Let's see why simple, flexible and versatile logo design has become so important in today's landscape. Industry-leading, born-in-the-cloud brands such as Twitter, Facebook, Spotify and Google are refining and simplifying their brands owing to responsive web design and the growing impact of the mobile device market. We can consider their solutions when thinking about our own brands, and how to optimize our logos to thrive within responsive web design.

A Simple Fact

The human brain remembers simple forms far more easily than complex ones. One of the most common factors that separates a good logo from a bad logo is the element of simplicity. Quality, memorable, successful brands are always simple. 

This concept is nothing new and was known long before responsive web design started pushing the envelope of simplicity. The simplicity of this design allows these logos to work well at any size on practically anything. Perfect for responsive web design, despite being made decades prior to the availability of such technology.

However, the original branding mistakes of iconic logos like Apple is a common recurring issue for most businesses. Small startup companies typically have a limited budget. To avoid costs they mistakenly turn to the wrong person for a logo, someone who is not a professional logo designer. Someone who feels compelled to add things to create something.
An example of simple and complex logos
Consider the Great Lakes Golf logo above on the left. Somebody spent a lot of time adding things to that design. The result is quite busy and it’s not going to scale down well at all; whereas the Skype logo on the right is simple, clean and memorable. It will work on anything and is scalable to small areas on mobile devices.
The logos as viewed on mobile devices
At full width you can identify the ball sport elements on the Great Lakes Golf logo. But scale down 50% and it’s barely readable. On the right, the Skype logo scales down beautifully. And if space gets too small, the Skype brand is flexible enough to drop the wordmark altogether.

This simple comparison shows how simple, clean and versatile design wins over more complex arrangements. The Great Lakes Golf logo probably suited its original intention just fine. However, in the context of a responsive website, the inability to scale cleanly becomes very apparent.

The Tech Industry Response


Web-savvy brands are simplifying their logos to suit responsive mobile web design. Facebook removed the faint blue line from the bottom of its icon’s ‘f’ in 2013. And in July 2015 it simplified its wordmark by removing the ascender on the lowercase ‘a’, swapping it out for a simpler, more rounded version.

Overall, the other letters have also been slimmed and refined. The changes might seem insignificant but the reasoning is not. Facebook is changing its brand as a direct response to viewing on mobile devices.

“This is actually a huge change and it’s much more than the ‘a’. It’s driven by mobile.”

– Howard Belk, co-chief executive and chief creative officer of branding firm Siegel+Gale.


Another case in point is Google - Google recently unveiled its latest logo update, their simplest yet. The Google logo has been evolving to new levels of simplicity since it first graced our browsers in the 90s.

In recent years it would have quickly become apparent that their thin, serif type was not going to scale nicely within responsive web design. So, like other tech brands, they’ve simplified to a sans serif typeface with a flat design and a friendly and distinctive ‘G’ icon.
Google's recent logo changes for the responsive world
"Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC. These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices...

Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens."

– Posted on the official Google Blog by Tamar Yehoshua, VP, Product Management.

The Trend - No Words

When Prince changed his name to a symbol in 1993 most of us thought he was nuts. But perhaps he was just ahead of his time. An increasing number of companies are refining the simplicity of their logo, moving towards a flat, simple symbol design with no wordmark at all.
Logos for Twitter, Nike, Apple, Starbucks and Pinterest.
Of course, these are all well-known brands that can get away with reducing their logos to only a simple icon. Not everyone can or should do this. However, this is another example of the effect responsive web design is having on brands. Certainly, using an icon graphic as part of an identity increases the flexibility of the brand for use on mobile devices.

Moving Forward

Does this mean all logos are going to end up as simple flat icons or flat sans serif typefaces? I don’t think so. However, there is little denying the influence responsive web design is having on branding and it will be interesting to see how far this goes.

The historically sacred view that a company’s logo is a rigid form that must never change is giving way to a new kind of branding freedom, where logos respond and vary. From horizontal formats to vertically stacked, from wordmarks to simple icons, even changing colours to suit dark and light screen backgrounds.

One might argue that looking at the branding direction of the tech industry isn’t relevant to, say, a law firm or a restaurant. However, all industries are going to eventually end up within responsive web design one way or another and become affected by the rise of mobile devices. Some companies may wonder why this doesn’t seem to work as well for their brand as it does for Twitter or Pinterest.

Those who understand the design principle of simplicity and embrace this flexible approach to their branding will respond best within this new medium. At the very least, how a brand appears when scaled down on a mobile device will become a staple test for any logo designer or branding project.

Logo designers ought to help educate clients to embrace this new flexible approach, where logos can be optimized within responsive web design while maintaining brand consistency. Otherwise we will witness more web builders taking it on themselves to alter a problematic logo on the fly to suit their individual project. Not an ideal solution for anyone.
In March 2014, the Baymard Institute, a web research company based in the UK, reported that 67.91% of online shopping carts are abandoned. An abandonment means that a customer has visited a website, browsed around, added one or more products to their cart and then left without completing their purchase. A month later in April 2014, Econsultancy stated that global retailers are losing $3 trillion (USD) in sales every year from abandoned carts.

Clearly, reducing the number of abandoned carts would lead to higher store revenue — the goal of every online retailer. The question then becomes how can we, as designers and developers, help convert these “warm leads” into paying customers for our clients?

Before Cart Abandonment

Let’s begin by looking at recognized improvements we can make to an online store to reduce the number of “before cart” abandonments. These improvements focus on changes that aid the customer’s experience prior to reaching the cart and checkout process, and they include the following:

  • Show images of products.
    This reinforces what the customer is buying, especially on the cart page.
  • Display security logos and compliance information.
    This can allay fears related to credit-card and payment security.
  • Display contact details.
    Showing offline contact details (including a phone number and mailing address) in addition to an email address adds credibility to the website.
  • Make editing the cart easier.
    Make it as simple as possible for customers to change their order prior to checking out.
  • Offer alternative payment methods.
    Let people check out with their preferred method of payment (such as PayPal and American Express, in addition to Visa and MasterCard).
  • Offer support.
    Providing a telephone number and/or online chat functionality on the website and, in particular, on the checkout page will give shoppers confidence and ease any concerns they might have.
  • Don’t require registration.
    This one resonates with me personally. I often click away from websites that require lengthy registration forms to be filled out. By allowing customers to “just” check out, friction is reduced.
  • Offer free shipping.
    While merchants might include shipping costs in the price, “free shipping” is nevertheless an added enticement to buy.
  • Be transparent about shipping costs and time.
    Larger than expected shipping costs and unpublished lead times will add unexpected costs and frustration.
  • Show testimonials.
    Showcasing reviews from happy customers will alleviate concerns any people might have about your service.
  • Offer price guarantees and refunds.
    Offering a price guarantee gives shoppers the confidence that they have found the best deal. Additionally, a clear refund policy will add peace of mind.
  • Optimize for mobile.
    Econsultancy reports that sales from mobile devices increased by 63% in 2013. This represents a real business case to move to a “responsive” approach.
  • Display product information.
    Customers shouldn’t have to dig around a website to get the information they need. Complex navigation and/or a lack of product information make for a frustrating experience.

Unfortunately, even if you follow all of these recommendations, the reality is that customers will still abandon their carts — whether through frustration, bad design or any other reason they see fit.

After Cart Abandonment

The second approach is to look at things we can do once a cart has been abandoned. One tactic is to email the customer with a personalized message and a link to a pre-populated cart containing the items they had selected. This is known as an “abandoned cart email.”

The concept is pretty simple. At the right time, a customizable email is sent, complete with a personalized message and a link to the customer’s abandoned cart. Of course, this approach assumes that the customer has submitted their email address — effectively, they’ve done everything but paid. Abandoned cart emails represent one last attempt by the merchant to convince the buyer to check out.

In September 2013, Econsultancy outlined how an online cookie retailer recaptured 29% of its abandoned shopping carts via email. This is a huge figure and one we might naturally be skeptical of.

To get a more realistic perspective, I asked my colleagues at Shopify to share some of their data on this, and they kindly agreed. Shopify introduced “abandoned cart recovery” (ACR) in mid-September 2013 (just over a year ago at the time of writing). Here’s a summary of its effectiveness:

  • In the 12 months since launching automatic ACR, $12.9 million have been recovered through ACR emails in Shopify.
  • 4,085,592 emails were sent during this period, of which 147,021 carts were completed as a result. This represents a 3.6% recovery rate.
  • Shop owners may choose to send an email 6 or 24 hours after abandonment. Between the two, 6-hour emails convert much better: a 4.1% recovery rate for 6 hours versus 3% for 24 hours.

It’s worth noting that the 3.6% recovery rate is from Shopify’s ACR emails. Many merchants use third-party apps instead of Shopify’s native feature. Given that Shopify is unable to collect data on these services, the number of emails sent and the percentage of recovered carts may well be higher.

Given the statistics, abandoned cart emails are clearly an important part of an online retailer’s marketing strategy. Luckily, most leading e-commerce platforms enable merchants to send custom emails, either in plain text or HTML. Knowing how to implement these notifications is a useful skill if you are designing for e-commerce, and they represent added value to your services.


While there are many tactics to persuade customers to buy, inevitably some people will get to the payment screen and decide not to continue. Any tactic that helps to seal the deal is certainly worth considering, and given the small amount of work involved in implementing an email to recover abandoned carts, it’s a great place to start. Designers and developers are in a powerful position to help their clients increase their revenue, and being armed with tactics such as the ones outlined in this article will hopefully enable them to offer a wider range of services.
In the last several years, we’ve seen a rapid shift in software and app interface design, from 3-D and skeuomorphic to flat and minimal. Although this trend has become nearly ubiquitous, let’s take a moment to consider how we got here and what influence it’s having on interface design as a whole.

What Happened?

So, how did the collective consciousness swing from a love of all things textured, beveled and drop-shadowed to a desire for flat colors and simple typography? Many factors have fuelled this transition, but here are a few that stand out.


As a constantly connected culture, we deal with a nonstop flow of information, some of it important and relevant, most of it not. We are constantly evaluating, filtering and, of course, creating content, and it all gets pretty exhausting. In addition, much of our content consumption has moved to devices with small screens, thus exacerbating that feeling of overload. Becoming overwhelmed is all too easy, and a reduction of clutter in a user interface (UI) can create a little visual zen.

Free of clutter: Geckoboard‘s visualisations are designed to make key data easy to interpret at a glance.


In a similar trend, a lot of disruptive Web apps and services are offering highly focused tools with extremely limited feature sets. Whereas traditional software developers tend to load their products with a glut of features to justify the high price tags, this shift towards focused micro-apps favors simplicity over feature set. Simpler apps mean simpler interfaces.

Beautiful and minimal: The Blue weather app by Oak.


As so often happens when new devices and technologies enter the market, we become fascinated by what they can do and how we can advance interactivity. This interface frenzy is usually followed by a return to a focus on content. Media consumption, whether of text, audio or video, is probably the activity we engage in most on our devices, and for that use case, we just want the interface to get out of the way.


As smartphone and tablet adoption has rapidly penetrated all user demographics, concern about the obviousness of controls has reduced. Whereas we once feared that users might miss a button if it didn’t pop off the screen, we are now willing to explore subtler interactions. Windows 8 and Chrome for Android even support touch commands that start off screen, without any visual indicator.

Fitbit’s dashboard is a bright, bold, and easy approachable visual identity.


Most software will be limited by the platform on which it runs. Screen dimensions and pixel density are the confining factors of hardware. A minimal interface demands a very limited design palette, which means that every element needs to sing. Typographic scale and font weight will largely determine both the aesthetics and usability of a flat design.

If your target devices can’t handle that level of nuance, you’re out of luck. As screen size and pixel density continue to increase on mobile devices, thinner and smaller type can be presented with better clarity. Of course, support for @font-face has also boosted the appeal of minimal typographic-focused designs.

Live sales monitoring with Wallmob: keeping track of the figures from any device that has a browser.


With the proliferation of connected devices of various dimensions, UIs have had to become more fluid, and the responsive design movement has responded. While responsive design does not call for a particular aesthetic, one could certainly argue that flat UIs lend themselves to it more easily than many other styles. The other advantage of minimal design is the reduction in page weight and loading time.

To the point and weightless: OnSite.

Best Practices

OK, enough with the theory. Let’s get down to some practical considerations. Creating an effective minimal design is surprisingly challenging. As you strip away common UI tricks (drop shadows, bevels, textures and the like), you quickly realize how important the few remaining elements become. While the following tips are mostly universally applicable, they are especially relevant to flat UIs.

As with any project, the first step is to ensure that your chosen style makes sense. Before diving into a flat design, make sure it aligns with your target users’ sensibilities and your target platform, devices and application type. Following a trend is pointless if it’s the wrong solution for your project.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when aiming for simplicity:

  • The Process you follow is pretty important, no matter what style you are adopting. 
  • The Grid plays a crucial role in so much of interface design, and no exception here. 
  • The Colors are obviously always a key component of visual design and with minimal interfaces, it is even more critical.
  • The Typography is the hero when it comes to flat content-driven websites, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • Intuitive Interaction in a flat UI is crucial and indicating that an element is interactive can be tricky. 

Wrapping Up

I don’t believe in hard and fast rules in design. Seeing designers so heavily invested in creating extremely clean and simple user interfaces is pretty awesome. Does exploring flat design mean using absolutely no gradients or shadows? Of course not. In fact, some of the most intriguing work I’ve seen recently balances flatness and dimension by presenting content intelligently while keeping the interaction intuitive.

In this highly connected, information-rich and feature-packed digital world we live in, minimal design’s widespread resurgence is refreshing to witness. It is by no means the right solution for everything (no style is), but when applied thoughtfully and appropriately, it makes for a highly usable and enjoyable digital experience.

The secret to successfully building a good website is similar to how the Wright brothers invented the first airplane.
Before the Wright brothers came along the common belief was that the way that you’d be able to get an airplane to fly was to create a large enough and strong enough engine that would be able to propel the plane to fly. And so most adventures focused most of the energy on building more powerful and stronger engines for the plane to get the plate actually take off. But with the Wright brothers did instead was they tried to come up with an airplane design that was as late as possible that was a sensually as close to a glider as they could make it so that all they would need was a very small and light engine and because the glider design was so efficient I would only require a small engine to propellant and posit to fly which as it turns out was the correct way to go about it and that was the reason that they were the first people to effect the airplane.

In many ways that’s the same story as to how many people try to generate traffic to their website.

One of the problems I see quite often is companies and businesses that spend money on Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, Yelp, SEO and other traffic generating mechanisms. They spent all of this money and time and effort getting traffic to their website and then they get upset or confused when they don’t generate that much business from their efforts.

What they might not realize is that the relationship between traffic and the design of the website is very similar to how the wright brothers invented the first airplane.

While many people focus on how do to get people to come to their site, they fail to realize is that the most important thing is having a website that converts. In this analogy your website is the airplane design and the engine is the traffic to your site.

If you do not have a well-designed, well-developed, clearly thought out website then all of that traffic is the same as having a really giant engine strapped to a skateboard.

So the first to successfully generating traffic to your business is creating a website that is well-designed, has a strong call to action that is proven to successfully convert traffic into leads and leads into customers.

Then once you’ve worked out the conversions on your site you can go ahead and pay for Google Adwords, Facebooks Ads, etc…

So the question to ask is, does your current website have liftoff? And if not, why not? It’s the single best thing you can do for your business’ success.

What is Website Design RFP?

A web design RFP is a request for proposal where you send a document to several website design firms for the purpose of them all competing and bidding for the chance to work with you. An RFP can range from being just a few pages to as many as 20 to even 100 pages, which depends on the scope and complexity of the project.

Who needs a Website Design RFP?

Not everybody needs to put together a website design RFP. Here is who a web design RFP is right for. If your project is in the $10,000 or above range and or you are looking to work with a large agency, then your best bet might be to use an RFP. RFPs are a more formal instrument and because of this they are more suited for corporate or government type websites.

Who doesn’t need a Website Design RFP?

If on the other hand you have a budget under $10,000, or your company culture is more relaxed and easy-going, you may not actually need an RFP to choose the right design firm to work with. For most small to medium-size businesses, simply filling out the contact form on the website design company’s page and initiating a telephone call is all you need to do to get the ball rolling. During this phone call, the design firm can typically get a sense of your needs and then send you a proposal based on the needs and goals determined in your phone call.

What experience are you going for?

When it comes to submitting an RFP, the question you want to ask yourself is what is the experience I want to go for? Designing a new website is ultimately a creative process that involves discovery, intuition and outside the box thinking. Some RFPs can be so daunting and intimidating that they are more likely to be completed by more business oriented design firms rather than truly creative companies who might be put-off by the laborious effort of filling out a 10 page RFP.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that most people do not need to put together a formal RFP when initially contacting a web design firm. A one-page e-mail detailing your specific needs for the project is often the perfect amount of content to get the ball rolling. Also, one last thought: the best indicator for the quality of work that a firm does is in their portfolio. Beware of a great proposal from the firm that has a mediocre portfolio. At the end of the day, you’re looking to get any website and if the websites delivered previously by this firm aren’t great, the chances are that yours won’t be either

Major Topics to cover in your RFP

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”

- Rudyard Kipling
With all of that being said, if you decide to move forward with your RFP below is a list of topics you might want to cover. Again, don’t go overboard, but be specific with exactly what it is you’re looking for in a new site, and exactly who you’re looking for in a firm.
  • Who
    • Who are you?
      • What does your company do?
      • Where are you located?
      • How many people work at your company?
    • Who are you looking for?
      • A large agency?
      • A local design firm?
      • A single man shop?
    • In the RFP, you may ask the firm to describe themselves and include the following:
      • Company history
      • Number of employees
      • Employee bios
      • List of references you can contact
  • What
    • What kind of site are you looking for?
    • What is your budget for the project? (larger design firms typically don’t take you seriously if you don’t have a budget in place)
    • What type of design?
      • Show examples of other sites with the design you have in mind
    • What functional requirements do you have?
      • CMS – Do you need a Content Management System?
      • Will the site require a backend database?
      • Will the site require payment processing?
      • Are there other features you need? Reference other websites to describe the function you have in mind
    • What features do you want to include?
      • Responsive Design
      • Search Engine Optimization
      • Home Slideshow
      • Contact Form
      • FAQs
      • Email Signup
      • Gallery
      • Video Integration
      • Custom Map Integration
      • Blog
      • Social Media Integration
      • Payment Processing
  • When
    • When will you need to receive questions from designer by?
    • When will you need the proposal submitted?
    • When will the project commence?
    • When is your anticipated launch date?
  • How
    • How many pages will the site be? (very important for the designer to be able to clearly define the scope of the project)
    • How many page templates will the site have? (a page template is a group of pages with the same design and layout, but with different content)
    • How many people from your organization will be involved?
    • How many rounds of revision will you need for the project?
  • Why
    • Why are you having the site designed or redesigned now?


If you’re wondering what format you should use for the RFP, a simple Microsoft Word doc will suffice. Some people use Google Docs or a PDF, which are both fine too.


So there you have it, everything you need to put together a web design RFP. I’ve attached some sample RFPs that you might find helpful, just click just click the link below to view.

A lot of businesses provide very similar products and services. How do you identify one provider from another? The answer is branding. Branding of products and services is what differentiates a business or even its website from those of its competitors. This may sound elementary but often companies neglect to understand the importance of branding and identity. A brand is the representation of products or services, their characteristics including customer experiences and the values associated with them. When people use a product or service, they remember their experiences whether it be good or bad and these experiences are what get associated with that product or service. This association is what is helped by way of branding.

For this product or service representation as branding to work, it is imperative that websites feature how companies see themselves, what their end customers think about their company, and how companies want future clients to perceive them.

Branding is not Just About Having a Good Looking Logo

A company logo or a product logo is just the tip of the iceberg in branding and identity. Other facets of a well-designed brand experience and brand website include quality imagery, relevant and up to date content, ease of use, consistent colors, relatable emotion and character, consistency, and a memorable user experience.

Quality Imagery – The majority of website visitors are extremely visually focused and nothing can catch their attention better than a well-placed and relevant image of the product or service offered by a website. Quality, relevant and fresh imagery is what helps people associate emotions with brands.

Relevant and Up-to-date Content – Website viewers initially look to find out what a website is all about and if it can answer any of their wants or needs. By providing clear, relevant, and updated content, the proverbial phrase: “beating around the bush” can be avoided.

Ease of Use – It is very irritating to get lost inside a website and not know where to go or what to do next. Clear, familiar, and intuitive navigation makes it easier to promote a product or service or to hopefully close a sale.

Consistent Colors – Color is not just aesthetics, it also serves to trigger subconscious associations and emotions. Blue for example symbolizes trust; green for health, nature or environment; and red for energy and enthusiasm among others.

Relatable Emotion and Character – A website’s character and personality have to be in line with what the company stands for. If a company is all about trust and security then site viewers must be able to relate to this when going through the company’s website.

Consistency –  Setting a consistent look and feel throughout a website and its pages in terms of typography, colors, visuals, and layout not only helps to make a brand memorable but also makes web pages load faster

Memorable User Experience – Website viewers now use a bevy of platforms and devices to browse websites. Mobile compatible websites leave a positive impression on site visitors.


Branding in web design is so much more than a company’s logo and tag line on a website. Branding is a well thought out strategy to help people associate a product or service with a value – to increase brand equity through a well-designed website. Brand equity adds value to a company’s product or service and thereby allows them to charge more compared to competitors; gain higher market shares; get higher positions on browser search results; or become a leader in their specific niches.

A Brand is MORE than a Name or a Logo 

A Brand is EVERYTHING, and everything is a Brand.

A Brand is your STRATEGY for EXPERIENCE.

So what to do? 

Brand is no longer what the ad agency says about your product or service but what customers say, share and experience about your company. That means how your retail staff interact with customers or how your marketing team creates conversations at your events is more important than what's said in an advertising campaign. This is the reality of the sharing economy today. Experience is only real when shared and if customers aren't sharing your brand, you might as well be invisible. 

Here is a branding manifesto for today's sharing economy:
  1. Engage your Audience through Visuals
    65% of online audience are visual learners.
  2. Keep your Tone Friendly
    73% of customers stick with a brand because of friendly customer service.
  3. Colours Bring Life
    Colours increase Brand Recognition by upto 80%.
  4. Flaunt the Typeface
    For the past 50 years, Helvetica has dominated design.
  5. Whitespace Sells
    Whitespace increases the perception of information by 20%.
  6. Establish your Brand's Voice
    45% of a brands image can be attributed to Who Says It and How It Says It.
  7. Invite Trust
    54% of people don't trust brands.
  8. Be the Market Leader
    Top brands outperform the stock market by 120%.
  9. Focus on Content Strategy
    49% of brands do not have a documented content strategy.
  10. Personalisation is the Key
    74% of online consumers expect a brand's web content to be personalised.

Okay but what do customers what out of a brand? 

Eighty percent of companies think their brands have superior experiences. Unfortunately, only eight percent of their customers agree. It’s time for brands to tackle the experience gap – the gap between how consumers want to experience brands, and what brands are actually doing.  It’s not just a marketing imperative; it’s a business imperative. 

Here are the best brand experience principles:
  1. Invite participation.
    Great brand experiences are design-driven: simple, accessible, easy and inviting to the participant.
  2. Build around users.
    Brand experience learned it from the web: people want their experiences to be relevant and feel customized to their needs. Even delivered at scale, experiences should “fit” the user.
  3. Make it shareable.
    Experience sparks recommendation; experiences should be designed to tap into technology as well as our primal human desire to share.
  4. Create community.
    Beyond fueling recommendations and referrals, experiences should be designed to connect people around brands—to leverage the few to inspire the many.
  5. Make it useful.
    It should go without saying: any experience should add value to people’s lives.
And here are the top trends that people term as "great brand experiences":
  1. Honesty and transparency are valued
    “The sales staff were knowledgeable and helpful [in] understanding my needs and aspirations. They were also prepared to provide better prices and throw in extras. A great and pleasant experience.”
  2. “[The] benefits of the product are exaggerated 
  3. during purchase, but claim settlement is complicated 
  4. and slow… We [had a] very bad experience and 
  5. will hardly choose this company again.”
  6. Individual treatment and respect are expected
    “One dealer in particular inquired more about my personal needs to help look for what I really needed. He showed me the features and benefits of each car. Asked if overall price or monthly payment was more important. Took me for a test drive and also told me I could return it no questions asked in 30 days”
    “When they put your name and number into a computer system and you have a different person calling you back every day for weeks, it’s rude and completely impersonal” 
  7. “Above and beyond” experiences are remembered (so are their opposites)
    “She sent me a thank you card mentioning something I had said while I was there. She actually listened.”
    “I was in the showroom looking at the vehicles and no one would approach me. So as I walked past a desk I took down the phone number. Then I called the number to get [the salesperson’s] attention... You should have seen his face when I waved to him.”
Finally, here are steps to better the brand experience:
  1. Map the overall brand experience.
    Assess all the touchpoints that add up to brand experience to understand gaps, white spaces and areas for improvement. From a customer journey perspective, this is an invaluable step toward “plugging the holes” at which people defect or get distracted.
  2. Improve existing experiences.
    Do the work of elevating existing experiences, with particular attention on drivers with the highest levels of impact, like customer-facing staff, partners and other people that represent the brand.
  3. Invent and innovate.
    With so few truly differentiated experiences, brands have a huge opportunity to stand out and be special. Look at the tremendously low current performance scores for the extra, discretionary experiences brands create—and take advantage of that white space.

Branding is Dead. Long Live Brand Experience.

Wait... What???

Welcome to the sharing economy...
…a world where everything 
 gets shared
all the time… 

 every conversation 
…every moment
…every story
…creates an experience
…which becomes your brand

So what works Today? Branding? Brand Experience?

Branding is…
…Tell ‘em you’re cool
…Tell ‘em in a BIG way
…Keep telling ‘em
…but Branding doesn’t work 
 like it did 30 years ago
Branding is dead…
Long live… Brand Experience

Brand Experience is…
…customer storytelling
…stuff worth talking about
…creating value
…creating events
…creating memories
…joining the dots
…reconnecting communities
…asking “what’s broken”?
…fixing pain points
…taking risks
…creating touchpoints online
…and touchpoints offline

Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
which means… 
your brand is what people say about you and…
you can’t always be in the room…
they will soon forget what your brand said but they’ll always remember how you made them FEEL

Traditional marketing was a Branding based approach: positioning, awareness, campaigns. 
In the 21st century, marketers need to focus on Brand Experience 

Branding use to start outside the company: agencies celebrities, campaigns. 
Today however, Brand Experience starts inside with the intersection of your people, culture and metrics.

Welcome to TODAY!
Content is king.
It’s the king of SEO, and it’s the king of every great website, blog, infographic, Twitter account, and Facebook page out there. Excellent content drives traffic to your site. It’s as simple as that. No image, blog post, video, or anything else that has ever gone viral has contained content that is anything less than excellent – be it excellently funny, excellently informative, excellently shocking, excellently entertaining, or excellently silly, they have all had one thing in common: excellence.

So, what makes excellent content?
Well, it depends on the medium, but in this post I am going to be focussing on written content and blog posts in particular. I like to think that I know a thing or two about how to craft together some excellent content for my worldwide audience. I didn’t learn the best practices of the craft overnight, but through years and years of hard work and writing literally hundreds and hundreds of blogs on all manner of subjects.

And so now you can take advantage of my experience as I detail for you some of the very best tips for crafting excellent content that I have picked up along the way, which will hopefully help to make your journey towards excellence a lot shorter than mine was – if only someone had been so kind when I started out.

1. Make It Positive

Positive content is infinitely more shareable than negative content. This may actually seem counter-intuitive – if you read the news, then you may think that negativity was a necessity. But marketing content doesn't work like that. People like to read and to share positive posts from businesses’ websites. Indeed, finding the perfect tone for your content is essential for it to be enjoyed by your following, and for them to feel that other people in their networks might enjoy it too.

So, what is the right tone for your blog?
Well, it’s all about finding the right balance between formality and informality. You, of course, want your content to be useful and informative for your readers, but ideally it should also be entertaining to a certain degree as well. In a sense, the perfect tone for your blog will probably reflect the tone and the style of your favourite teachers at school. Do you remember them? They somehow made what might otherwise have been some very dry information come alive, didn’t they. You may well even remember some of the things that they taught you even now. They did this by inserting a sense of fun and enjoyment into their content, and that’s exactly what you should be doing, too, no matter how serious or informative your post may be. Which brings me onto my next point.

2. Make It Practical

Aside from being positive, excellent content is almost invariably practical for the user to some degree. This of course makes sense when you think about it, and perhaps goes some way to distinguishing why the news we read seem to make its success out of being negative, whilst blogging is all about positivity. The news are simply there to spread the word of current events and affairs, whereas a blog post should have real, useable value for the reader.

Quite often you will find that posts will take the form of this one, where some practical and actionable tips are being offered for those that discover them. Indeed, this clean and clear simple style can be a great place for you to start out when getting to grips with crafting some excellent content for your blog. Think about your audience in relation to your product or service – what sort of thing do you think that they all have in common? Can you come up with a list of some great tips that might be useful to them all?

What’s so great about this is that your readers will have something of genuine worth that they can take away with them after they’ve finished reading your post. They can apply it in their work or lives, will see some great results in return, and will remember you and your blog for it.

3. Evoke Emotions

If you can hit on an emotion in the reader then you’re onto a serious winner, and the chances of your content going viral significantly increase. High arousal emotions are the best ones to target, and in fact sometimes the odd negative emotion can actually be of benefit here if used well. So, what are the high arousal emotions and how do you tailor your content to target them?
  • Awe: If you can inspire awe in your readership, then they won’t be able to resist hitting that share button or leaving a comment or reply. Awe can be inspired by of a story, a real event, or even from an impressive list of tips or links.
  • Surprise/Shock: Try and find something to write about that goes against people’s expectations in a manner that surprises or even shocks them, and they’ll just have to read on. Find new ways of doing things, new ways of thinking about things, challenge assumptions in your writing and prove those notions wrong – indeed this last point leads me onto to a negative emotion that inspires engagement…
  • Anger: If you manage to mount a serious challenge against some common assumptions, then you’re almost certain to tick a few people off, and what you’ll find is that they’ll start tweeting about you, sharing your post on Facebook, leaving lots of comments and perhaps even a few blog posts will be written in reply. This of course is great for generating traffic to your website, but you must of course be careful with it. Don’t just be contrary for the sake of it. Remember, you must still be writing positively even if you are inspiring a negative emotion, and you of course must still be practical. So, inspiring anger works, and there’s nothing wrong with igniting a healthy debate about something, but don’t make yourself unpopular, and always check your facts before challenging established conventions.

Some Final Thoughts and Tips

Creating excellent content is a matter of practice and experience, but hopefully the tips I have provided for you above should save you some time when trying to find the right path that will work for you. Experiment a little, find what sort of posts arouse the most engagement from your following, take note, and recreate those sorts of posts again.

When it comes to formatting your posts, it also pays to follow a few conventions of style. Firstly, give your post a very ‘clickable’ title, something short that shows the reader instantly that what you’ve written has value for them. And then, once you’ve done that, do the same with your subheadings. You want to format your posts so that the content is easily scannable for readers, so lots of subheadings, lots of paragraph breaks, and a few bullet points are always good as well.

Finally, when you sign off on your post, make sure that the last thing that you do is ask for your readers to take some sort of action.