One of the essential characteristics of a successful brand in 2021 is, without a doubt, authenticity.
As consumers lose faith in corporations and make purchasing decisions based on trust, the time has come for business leaders to look for ways to make their brand more relatable, more human. Research shows that as many as 86% of consumers make buying decisions based on authenticity. And, much more worryingly, 20% of all people will unfollow a brand on social media if it comes off as inauthentic.
For marketers, this means one thing and one thing only: they need to find ways to make brands more relatable, trustworthy, and original. In other words, they need to find ways to humanize their brands if they want to see long-term success.
Fortunately, there are several ways of doing this. In addition to standard communication and communication tweaks, web design can also play a role in relatability.
The following are the top web design elements to consider to make your brand more relatable.
- Perfect Your Brand Voice & Combine It With Storytelling
One of the most impactful things you can do to make your brand more relatable (and attractive) is to go back to your branding efforts and check your brand voice and how it tells a story.
Essentially, voice relates to how you communicate with your audience. You’ll show your brand voice through website copy, branded content, social media, and even direct customer communication. It should reflect your brand’s values and send a message that the sole purpose of your company’s existence is to identify and meet your followers’ needs. Moreover, you should consistently use the same voice in all your communication, working to make it unique, recognizable, relatable, and attractive.
For a stellar example of a brand whose voice does all this, check out SoulCycle. This company made a boom in the fitness industry by approaching exercise not as a weight loss program but as a way of life, a journey that helps people find their souls.
But what makes SoulCycle so great at using voice to make its brand more relatable is that it makes it an integral part of a story. Then, it uses visual design to tell that story, highlighting core concepts, values, and events, drawing web visitors in by automatically making them a part of a community.
- Choose Visuals That Resonate
Visuals are, without a doubt, a crucial part of web design. After all, the very nature of web 2.0 is that it aims to immerse website visitors instead of just talking at them.
But, to ensure that the visuals on your website genuinely help you make your brand relatable, you have to understand that not every image, video, and graphic are created equal. Stock images, for example, look professional. But, because of their overproduced appearance and wide availability, they can work against you by alienating your audience.
So, if you’re looking to humanize your brand, one of the things you have to accept is that imperfection is better than impersonal.
Dare to show your organization and employees as they are – like Optimal Workshop does in this silly group GIF.
Go the extra mile to produce custom videos about your products. Don’t be afraid to show behind-the-scenes footage from your production plants or display less-than-perfect user-generated content on your homepage. Sure, these types of visuals will take more work to include on your website. But rest assured that when used, they’ll be much more effective at humanizing your brand than by using the same styles and elements as your competition.
- Show Off Authentic Customer Experiences
Another super-effective way to make your brand relatable and trustworthy is to utilize social proof web design elements on your homepage and landing pages. Not only is social proof one of the top ways to convince consumers that your brand is authentic, but it can also help bring your brand closer to your target audience.
For example, if you’re operating in a niche industry, you may find it hard to attract and convert web visitors who are still in the top stages of the sales funnel. But, by displaying the right testimonials, like the one used by Mixam below, you can appeal to these consumers.
Moreover, you can show them the benefits they can expect to gain from your brand. That’s how you’ll make your services more relevant and, consequently, your brand more relatable to their consumer experience.
Review sites like Trustpilot, Yelp, Google My Business, etc., make it easy for brands to harness the power of social proof by providing convenient integration options. Plus, you can often choose what reviews to display, making it even easier to help potential clients see the value in your offers.
- Invest in Content That Answers User Intent
If you’re aiming to increase the relatability of your brand with a variety of website elements, it’s not a bad idea to think about the type of content your audience needs.
Are they looking for high-quality instructional posts, like this article on counting macros from Transparent Labs, on how to solve their needs? Perhaps they need help understanding a concept, like the difference between veganism and vegetarianism explained in this great video by Trifecta Nutrition. Or, they might be after a helpful tool that can solve a need, like determining the speed of their internet connection.
These examples all boost brand authenticity, trustworthiness, and reliability. And the reason is that they all have one single goal – precisely answering user intent. Essentially, they do something akin to personalization, but without the creepy tracking.
The result? Website visitors who found what they were looking for, walking away with a positive impression of a brand, knowing that it’s a trustworthy resource that can provide them with answers relevant to their personal experience.
- Create Pages That Encourage Connection
Finally, if you’re looking for design and UX elements that will humanize your brand, it’s not a bad idea to create sections that will drive a genuine, real-time connection between your brand and your audience. The easiest way to do this is to invite web visitors to engage with you on social media.
Social networks are a place where brands can directly communicate with followers and publish high volumes of relatable content. That makes them the perfect place to keep the rapport going, from the first time a person lands on your site to the moment they become a paying customer.
For a great example of a brand using website elements to build a community on social media, check out Moleskine.
Not only does this brand often include user-generated content on its site to showcase how versatile its products can be (and consequently relatable to many people). But, it also takes actionable steps, like organizing community challenges, to get people involved in the Moleskine journey. The result of such an approach is a community that counts 270k+ followers and over 2 million submissions of UGC.
Final Thoughts: Relatability is the Effect of a Customer-Centric Approach
As you can see, there are various approaches you can implement when using web design to make your brand more relatable.
For the easiest way to do this, pay attention to the visuals and messages you display on your website. Favor authenticity instead of production quality and be consistent about the way you approach your audience.
But, if you’re looking for advanced ways of humanizing your brand, making it relatable, trustworthy, and a go-to choice in your niche, you’ll have to go a step further from the mere visual design.
If true relatability is your goal, you’ll want to build a website that delivers an outstanding customer experience. And that means paying attention to targeting, user intent, content quality, connection opportunities, and everything in between.
Ultimately, relatability and authenticity are not one-off things. They’re the result of a meticulous marketing strategy that knows that the real value of a customer is not just the value of their first order. It is the sum of all their actions related to your brand, including future interactions, testimonials, and purchases.