Connecting Your Community Brand with Your Website
Whenever I have friends from out of town visit me in Chattanooga, it is inevitable that they will at some point mention the level of pride Chattanoogans have for their city. You do not have to go very far to find our city’s name featured or playfully abbreviated (e.g. “nooga”) in the name of an area business or restaurant. Furthermore, if you turn on the television or radio, you, more than likely, will see or hear numerous ads that choose community pride as a vehicle with which to deliver their message. Community pride is a popular branding and marketing strategy, as it embeds a business’ image within its thriving community. This, in turn, projects a more local, personalized image to customers, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that falls flat and fails to connect. With all of this said, it amazes me how often I run into businesses who embrace Chattanooga in their branding and traditional marketing avenues, but fail to capture this approach effectively in one very important area: their website.
Branding is all about distinguishing yourself and being consistent. I do not need to make a hard sell as to why an organization’s online presence is so important in this day of age. If your community is an important part of your branding and marketing, it should be featured in your website design and content. Your connection to your community is what can distinguish you from other businesses, especially from brands that seemingly could care less where they are located as long as there are customers. This is why it is so important to stay away from the simple solution of a template, cookie-cutter website or one in which there is little personalization. The same logic that applies to why a business wants to connect with their local customers by featuring their role and pride in community in television and radio ads should apply to their website content and design. Why neglect that approach in what might be your most important marketing tool?
Instead of giving examples of businesses that could improve their local approach on their website (no calling out here!), I want to give an example of some ideas that would work for a local restaurant that I absolutely love that does not have a website. After all, I am as passionate about their food as I am of great website design and content!
Chattanooga Wing Company is the type of restaurant that I love: a hole-in-the-wall place with absolutely amazing food that goes well beyond just the food item featured in its name. It is a unique little restaurant in a part of town that can be easily overlooked; however, the owners love Chattanooga and feel strongly about helping lead the charge in revitalizing the neighborhood surrounding the restaurant. Now, it would be easy to simply create a website for a restaurant like the Chattanooga Wing Company in which little else besides some basic information and a menu would be featured; however, there is potential for so much more. Instead of downplaying your humble location and building, embrace its character and quaintness that belies the gourmet food being served. Feature real photos of regulars, staff, and the food you serve in a genuine light. Also, tell the story of who you are and why you love your city and neighborhood. I want to know and see all of your involvement in local cook-offs and community events. I want to feel like I am a part of your community.
No matter your business, your website design should be unique to you and embrace what and who you are. So whether you are building a new website or looking to overhaul your current one, it is important to take inventory of what constitutes your connection with your community. If it truly matters, it should be evident on your website from the first click to the last.
Please contact us to learn how Full Media can create a website for you that captures who and what you are.