A brand can be many things to many people, but it can only ever have one identity at its core. Consistency puts customers at ease and provides them with a clear picture of who you are and what you offer.
As soon as you step away from an identity, you water down your brand image and risk sending customers the message that you aren’t self-aware or focused on important details.
What is Cohesiveness and Why Does it Matter?
Cohesiveness is an important word in the grand scheme of branding and digital marketing. As Jason Corgiat explains, cohesive branding is the linchpin that holds a company together.
“Your audience can encounter your brand in various places. They might arrive on your website, but they could just as easily come across your social media profile, read a guest post on an industry website, receive a flyer or a brochure, see your ad, or arrive on your landing page,” Corgiat says. “Cohesive branding involves ensuring consistency in your brand no matter which platforms you use so that your brand is immediately recognizable.”
But when you zoom in and dissect the different elements of your business, there’s one specific area where consistency is arguably most important: your online shop. This is where all your hard work pays off. Customers either visit your site and leave, or they visit and make a purchase. If your shop doesn’t deliver a cohesive experience for shoppers, you could suffer from high bounce rates and low conversions.
Four Tips for Making Your Shop Cohesive
One definition of the word cohesiveness is “the quality of forming a united whole.” When people visit your site for the first time, does it put forth a united whole? If the answer is no, then here are some tips designed to set you straight.
Stick with a color scheme. Color is one of the first design elements people notice when they land on a website. Too many colors can overwhelm visitors. Just a few colors used consistently and bring a level of comfort with the design of the shop.
So, don’t overdo it. Stick with a few colors and ensure they’re used throughout your site. AR Ceramics’ store is one worth studying. No matter which page you look at, the same palette of white, black, beige, and brown is present. You don’t have to go with such a neutral color palette, but you do need to remain consistent.
Ensure images have the same flavor. Photography is super important when it comes to selling your shop to visitors. It’s why websites with stock photos tend to convert at much lower rates than those with original images. But having original images isn’t enough. All of your images need to have the same style - a consistent flavor, if you will.
Arminho’s shop is an ideal example. Looking at the images, you can’t help but notice the consistency. They’re all high-resolution with the the same color palette and simple, white background. As a result of this cohesiveness, customers subconsciously feel at ease.
Sell a cohesive product line. Cohesiveness across the product line is also a big deal. A simple step out of line can confuse customers and erode your brand’s value.
“Whether you’re buying, designing, or hand making products for your online boutique, you need to make sure that every piece you list communicates the story your brand is telling,” Jacque Amadi notes. “It’s easier than you think to stray from your branding and sell products based on a trend or, if you’re like me, an impulse. But you should have a target customer in mind and every product you offer should fit perfectly into that customer’s lifestyle.”
Use a consistent brand voice. We can’t discuss cohesiveness without talking about your brand’s voice. It’s arguably the most important component, whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or marketing manager for a larger brand.
“The risk of not enforcing brand voice is scattered messaging, which confuses brand presence and can ultimately tarnish relevance and reputation,” says Tanya Cramp, a digital content manager for Hard Rock International. “If someone can cover up your logo and can’t identify your brand or differentiate it from a competitor, weak brand voice may be to blame.”
While most people mean the actual words on the page when they discuss brand voice, there are plenty of other areas where your unique voice shines through - including in the images, typography, and calls-to-action you use. All of these elements should reinforce each other for a consistent experience.
Audit Your Shop Today
The significance of having a cohesive brand presence - and especially a cohesive online shop - can’t be stressed enough. The impact of this consistency (or lack thereof) will be felt in almost every area of your business - from marketing and sales to customer service and inventory management. Are you spending enough time thinking about this?
Now’s the time to audit your shop and evaluate it against the areas highlighted above. Would you characterize your shop as being cohesive, or is it a bit more inconsistent when you go from one page to the next? Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to make some changes.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffPost.com, and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.