The dilluted, generalized brand
I have been thinking about brand and how it is erroded on the web. Companies usually have one website with all their products/services on the same website. The website’s usability and experience is “generalized” the brand is ignored and its value is short-changed.
Generalization from this perspective means the loss of brand differentiation value. From the user experience side a generalized (one-site for all) type of interface leads to unnecessary complexity for the user.
Some of the “most innovative”* companies have one site for their products but they have another advantage – their (few) products are all targetting the same market. They can get away with having one website because they have one market.
Other companies are not as focused. They have a wide range of products. A wide range of audiences, a wide range of target age groups, wide range of target lifestyles and group attitudes.
I would propose that these companies consider creating new, more user+brand targetted, fully functional websites to reinforce their brand equity.
Shifting complexity back to the retailer.
The result of creating product specific, user+brand targetted websites may result in more coherent interfaces with the elimination of layers of complexity. We may see simpler interfaces, and a rise in the perceived quality of the overall user experience.
The retun of value through usability and brand
The user-contextualized websites may shift the complexity away from the user and back to the seller, back to the retailer, back to the web developers. The user should, once again, be able to focus on the fully developed, fully informational and experiential branded user experience.
*”Most innovative” as described by BusinessWeek’s article in 2006.