Consistency In Brand Image

Although I rarely watch CNBC anymore, I like when they profile big companies like WalMart. Today I saw a profile about the start and growth of McDonalds.

It showed how the McDonald brothers had a small chain of restaurants until Ray Croc (a milkshake machine salesman of all things) bought them out. He started replicating the McDonalds business model all over the nation then globe, but the thing he was fanatical about was consistency.

He wanted all McDonald’s stores to have a proper look and feel to them to make customers familiar with them, therefore more inclined to buy from them. I’m not selling hamburgers, but having a “put together” business to make people feel comfortable is a good idea for any business.

This somehow ties into my recent plan to start making HouseOfRave more consistent and “put together” to appear more professional. I’ve started working with a more professional supplier, and therefore I need to make the site more professional and consistent. This doesn’t mean necessarily re-designing the site, but just making everything more congruent.

I went from somehow watching a special about McDonalds (which I then proceeded to eat at) to snooping around my own website trying to view it from a brand new visitors perspective. One of the first things I noticed was the 2nd top-level navigation menu button “Catalog” was horribly designed and outdated by several YEARS.

This is a highly clicked page, and some of the category links on this page had dead links, and many of them have been changed or removed over the years. This could easily turn a potential customer away. I immediately started working on this and cranked out 18 custom category images. I use Photoshop all the time, so this went relatively quick..but was very boring. Now instead of writing “Battery Operated Section” and including a small 75×75 pixel product image from that category, it now has a proper image associated with it. So the battery operated section of the catalog has this image:

It has a more congruent feel with the website and more thoroughly conveys what that section contains. A portion of the images used were actually taken by me in previous product photo shoots. For example, the only non-mine image above are those finger lights, that’s just a standard manufacturers picture.

Another thing I quickly noticed on the top menu bar was another high-traffic page which has been neglected for some time. The video section leads to a page that looks like this:

It’s meant as the video landing page where you can select between five different types of videos. This section has been around a long time and has proved to be pretty popular, so I figured I should at least jazz it up with a few small images. So I quickly added a few and it looks like this now:

I’m not 100% happy with that look, but it’s slightly more engaging now.

So these are just two small changes I’ve made to make the site look more congruent and put together. The ultimate goal is not to have the best designed site around, but to make potential customers feel comfortable enough to order from it.

Since I see the site everyday from the owners view, I focus on different things than customers. I need to start patrolling around the site more often with a different perspective to catch other obvious errors and areas that could use improvement. That will be my main objective for HouseOfRave this September.

Feel free to let me know via comment or personal email if you catch other obvious errors!

Blog posted on: September 5, 2007

14 comments on “Consistency In Brand Image

  1. Anonymous

    Nice images! You could perhaps upload the rest of the videos you have in the video section to YouTube like you did the rest.

    That would give everything a smoother feel.


  2. Wholesale Checklist

    How come you don’t watch CNBC anymore? I watch it all the time and I figured someone with your interests would do the same…? Just interested in your reasoning. Thanks

  3. Scotty

    I don’t quite get the connection between a chain of restaurants and your single website. Interesting post though not quite up to your usual standard (but I won’t be rude about it *eyes the anon*).

    I agree with your emphasis on familiarity being integral to any business. However, when it comes to your business I feel its just purely down to design what you have implemented (updated videos etc.) and not business model. A good design will definitely help.

    P.S. – Might want to check how your page looks in Firefox, the menu bar across the top is out of line.

  4. Anonymous

    hmm there’s one error. Raving and glow sticks were out of style by 2000.

    You’re just catering to extascy, amphetamine, and acid users.. you’re probably one yourself, good job.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m sure Nev has statistics to disprove your ‘out of style’ comment.

    And what’s with the malicious posts towards this site, anon? Jealous? Sounds like a classic case of I’ll-never-get-over-you Ex-girlriend syndrome. Why don’t you build a site that rivals his if it bothers you so much? No drive, no commitment, no focus? Hater!

    Love the site, Nev.

  6. Neville

    Scotty, you’re absolutely right about the content being the main driver of the site.

    Also, I’ve been trying to get the FireFox menu bar thing resolved, but have had no luck so far. I’ve been able to solve all other FireFox issues, but that single one still perplexes me!

    To the anon who says raves are out of style….you’re right.

    The the thing about HouseOfRave is the people who actually buy stuff from me are NOT ravers, and probably don’t even know what a rave is. Psshh…even I’VE never been to a rave!!

    But people buy these products for a wide variety of things, I’ve had people buy for:
    -Cheerleading competitions
    -Safety products
    -Unique Keychains
    -Party favors
    -Toys for kids
    -Nuclear waste cleanup (yea)!
    -Burning Man and many other festivals.

    You’d be surprised of the interesting and creative uses people come up for some of the products on the site!

    Think of it like Rap music…it’s geared towards black, urban youth, but ends up being all the white kids that buy it.

  7. evil_twin

    Why don’t you do like the t-shirt sites do and get some of your buyers to send you videos and pics of them using your products.

    Also have you tried marketing on myspace, facebook, etc?
    Almost every profile has pics of someone chilling at the club.

  8. Anonymous

    I’d like to comment on two things here.

    (1) I think we can learn alot by watching company profiles. I usually take 1 hour a week to look up a random big company on Wikipedia. Although, I try to keep in mind that what was successful 20-30 years ago, will not necessarily be successful in the future.

    (2) I think web site owners doesn’t give enough attention to web design. I agree content is vastly more important, but given that the average time anyone will stay on your website is 10 seconds or so before deciding to leave or stay, I think web design has a huge impact on that decision.

    Excellent article, as always.

  9. Danny

    You should advertise on ThinkGeek – anyone who buys LED faucet lights and various laser-based toys would probably like the glow-stick stuff too.

  10. Anonymous

    I’m thinking about advertising on your site, but I’m not sure what kind of traffic you’re currently pulling in. Can you post the avg number of hits you’ve had for the past 7 days? Would you accept an animated gif? (not one of those incredibly annoying flashing ones)

  11. Brandon Doyle

    Nev PROBABLY brings in around 2000 hits a day. His Alexa rank is 134,000. That means that Alexa has determined that only 133,999 sites are more popular.
    If the Alexa ranked isn’t somehow skewed, that sounds about right.

  12. Gale

    Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in exchanging links or
    maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same
    subjects as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Great blog by the way!


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