How to add value through your brand website
When websites first became popularised, they were the must have for your business. They showed the world you were up with the technology times. They broadened your geographical reach and potential customer base. They made scouring the Yellow Pages a thing of the past.
But when the web has moved so far beyond being a source of static information, what role does a website hold for brands in the 21st century?
The role of a website
Of course, information is still a central function of a website for brands large and small. For SME’s, websites provide an important way of ‘getting out there’ that would be difficult in a world without websites.
For super-brands, websites are a way of communicating information to a global audience that is almost impossible to reach directly. For a population so accustomed to being able to find almost anything online, there is something disconcerting about a brand that doesn’t have an online presence.
But for FMCG brands, whose sales and processes take place away from the company website, is this role still relevant? How often do you take time out of your day to learn about how Nestle became a confectionary giant? The story is here, if you have 5 minutes.
It is for this reason that a number of FMCG brands have sought to move their website function away from being merely a source of information and towards being a place that offers their consumers something in return for their visit.
Thinking outside the box when it comes to what your brand website delivers is key, and a number of brands have successfully made the leap. We picked a few of our favourites and why we think their websites stand out from the crowd
Natural Balance Foods and the value of original content
You may think you’ve never heard of them, but if you’ve ever seen a nakd bar or TREK protein bar on the supermarket shelf, you’ll know who we mean.
While Natural Balance Foods has an admittedly niche target demographic for its products, it’s website has proven that original content is a crucial way to add value to the customer offering and therefore your brand.
Specialising in products that are gluten, wheat and dairy free, Natural Balance Foods has created a hub of information for it’s consumers that goes far beyond their core product offering;
This includes recipes that use their product as an important ingredient, recipes that challenge the stereotype that vegetarian and vegan food is tasteless and dull, and a community to share anything from health insights to yoga tips.
Given the popularity of recipe sharing and community-led spaces on social media, the Natural Balance website is far more than a place to simply learn about products and more a go-to lifestyle influencer for its consumers.
Persil and building trust
Persil, one of Unilever’s biggest brands, has proven that a strong website can be a valuable way of building trust between brand and consumer. That this in turn leads to customer loyalty and a long-term relationship is extremely important for brands, particularly in an age where price and convenience are such dominant drivers of FMCG sales.
Persil has used it’s website to provide practical tips that relate to its product offering, including washing tips and stain removal ideas. But where Persil has really shone is it’s function as a source of inspiration for children’s activities and it’s Dirt is Good campaign.
Providing activity ideas for parents to get their children outside, engaging with arts and crafts and making the most of seasonal festivals - with everything from how to make a snow globe to Shakespeare Day activities - it is initiatives like these that have allowed Persil to cement itself as a household name and trusted family member.
What the examples of Natural Balance Foods and Persil demonstrate is that perhaps the most valuable question to ask when it comes to your website is not ‘what purpose does it serve for my brand’ but ‘what purpose does it serve for my consumer’.
Consumers are a savvy and busy bunch, and apart from unique occasions where they need information quickly, are unlikely to take time out of their day to visit your website if it doesn’t offer them something in return. By asking what value your website has for the consumer - whether this is a platform for sharing, new ideas, inspiration, support or friendship - it is possible to give them a valuable offering that goes beyond your core product.
In return, a brand achieves trust, interest, repeat site visits, social media currency, influence and ultimately sales. If an affluent 20-something’s favourite vegan ice cream recipe can only be made with your raw bar, why would they buy from anyone else? If you told your child that making “mud pies” and falling off their bike is a great way to spend the weekend, where else would you buy your detergent?
Earning not buying your brand’s reputation is the order of the day, and there’s no where better to start than with such a simple staple as your website.