There is no such thing as a branded $5,000 website.
There certainly exist many people who will design and build a business or even a nonprofit website for $5,000 or even less for that matter, but in doing this, they are inevitably leaving aside much of the essential stuff that makes a website effective.
Branding is often managed like a propaganda war for the hearts and minds of brand consumers. This aligns with Wikipedia's basic description of propaganda: "As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda, in its most basic sense, presents information primarily to influence an audience." Propaganda is not really about the truth, but about influencing minds, and so may resort to a variety of tactics such as errors of omission, selective truths and the straw man fallacy to make its case. Interestingly, if you look at the history of advertising and propaganda, they both came of age as vehicles of mass persuasion during and after World War I and they continue to rely on the same essential insights about human behavior. Advertising is white propaganda.
We recently had a small web project for a client that sells a very expensive service. Over many years they had built up a successful business, and they had done this without ever having had a website. They came to us somewhat reluctantly pushed into the wading pool, as it were, by their sales manager, who felt insufficiently supported by the brand. He needed online credentialing and support for his sale activities.
A friend of mine sent me the Wall Street Journal article "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" a few weeks ago. It was sent to me, I assume, because I have a Chinese mother in my own house—the mother of my children. The article excerpts and promotes the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Professor Amy Chua, and it was actually sent to me by a few different friends.
Objections are always there. Dealing with them is basic to the sales process.
In my halcyon days as a translator of Japanese, I once read that "even good translations are like tapestries viewed from the back." I thought this apt because it was damn hard to do a good translation, and even the good ones were really reconstitutions of the same content in a new skin. There was nothing really direct about them.
My concern with brand fatigue is not that people become tired of a brand, but rather that businesses and nonprofits become prematurely tired of their own brand presentation and, as a result, push to change it before it has had the opportunity to fulfill its mission or even fully register and build power in the minds of their brand consumers.
Architects fell in love with Flash. I think it gave them the kind of absolute design control that they generally expect from the world. The problem, of course, is that the Internet no longer loves Flash, and it seems architects are slowly coming to terms.
A strong brand is not a luxury to be enjoyed only by companies like Nike or Coca-Cola. It is a key factor in the success and prosperity of all businesses and nonprofits, regardless of their revenues. Your brand health is guaranteed to have a significant impact on the consumer awareness of your brand AND your bottom line. It directly affects your ability to sell, to fundraise, to hire the best employees, and to grow. A healthy brand is the hallmark of a company or nonprofit that is prepared to prosper.
Our statement about brand truth—”We prefer truth. It gets you farther faster and holds tremendous power.“—was recently criticized on Twitter for being “grand and presumptuous.” My first reaction to this criticism was humor: “We just like it better than the alternative, and it’s a lot easier to keep track …”
I was asked to explain what I mean when I say, as I often do, "We are not in the business of demand creation." I usually go on to say, "We leave that job up to the big agencies" who seem on occasion to quite successfully create demand for products regardless of their actual quality.
In my experience, making good use of serendipity is a combination of things: actively setting up opportunities, a willingness to go with the flow of events, the ability to see the thing that arises by chance, and finally, being prepared to seize the opportunity—prepared both in the sense of being open to the possibility and ready to take advantage of it.
How do you get new clients? If you sell B2B, the short answer is probably “relationships.” Almost.
We all now take advantage of open source software. For our work in web development, it helps make many formerly complex and expensive tasks faster, easier, and less expensive. We tend to take this for granted, but the meaning of the open source systems that have germinated and are now prospering on the web is still evolving. We do not know how far these systems can take us. What are their limits? What can be done with them once harnessed in new ways for good?
An article on June 15th in the Wall Street Journal by Nathan Koppel noted that “Law firms, particularly those that represent plaintiffs, are increasingly devoting resources to developing a presence online, where consumers—and potential clients—congregate.” The article mentions Sokolove Law, a Massachusetts-based firm that's spending $12 million annually on digital outreach (up from 1/4th of that in 2006). OK, this really isn't chump change.