Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Who Is Your Website?

Whose chocolate-chip cookies would you rather try -- a knight in shining armor's, a brilliant scientist's, a chic supermodel's, a super-handy master carpenter's, or a kindly grandma's? 

All of these archetypes send out positive vibes, but setting aside the question of which person we'd rather have offering us chocolate-chip cookies, most of us would probably assume that among this cast of characters, granny makes the best baked goods. Granny's the one who makes the goodies. We trust Granny with that task. It's a stereotype, but we buy into it, for better or for worse. If we were shopping for the most seductive perfume, on the other hand, it's probably fair to say that even the kindliest grandma will lose ground to the chic supermodel.

What? But you just said we trust Grandma!

Yes, but that was for cookies. This is for sophistication and romance. It's a matter of applying the right persona to the right subject.

If you own a bakery, you might have the fabulous good fortune of a real-life smiling mother or grandmother type handing out lots of sweets to your customers (in exchange for lots of money). If you're a cosmetics store, you may have elegant salespeople gliding from section to section, at least, celebrity models' pictures gazing longingly over the perfume stand or lipstick aisle. But what if your "salesperson" is your website?

Just as your commercial spokesperson, sales rep, or brand icon represents a persona, so must your 24-hour, 365-day virtual storefront. So the question is, who is your website? What persona should it embody?

Think about it from the customer end. If you needed, say, a repair service, who would you choose? A happy-go-lucky guy with a bag of tools? A local pro with a 30-year track record and plenty of advice on how to maintain the stuff once he fixes it? A national corporation with a slick warranty and guaranteed delivery times?

Actually, any one of these three images might work, depending on the nature of the problem (Simple? Complex? Urgent?) and your own personal priorities (Speedy turnaround? Sheer skill? Friendliest folks?). So the ideal persona for your online brand reflects your target audience, which means it's always worthwhile to ask yourself -- if your website were a person selling your stuff to your ideal customer, what type of person would truly dazzle that customer? How would that character look? What would that character say, and in what tone of voice? WHO is your website?

Answer that question for yourself. Express it to your audience. And get ready to sell some cookies.