| Branding, Design Trends, Web Design

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As web sites continue to become the cornerstone of an organization’s brand identity and marketing efforts, it’s important to understand why this mix of technology and creativity is so critical to business success.

Recently, I attended a presentation by Dr. Edison Liu, President and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory. The event, hosted by The Institute for Civic Leadership was on Leadership Characteristics in the Innovation Economy.

Dr. Liu started by explaining how much our economic model has changed in the past one hundred years. Economic success is no longer limited by  things like proximity to natural resources or making material objects. Instead, we are in a creative-based economy.

Dr. Edison Liu lists the Characteristics of the 21st Century Economy.

He is not talking about creativity in the narrow sense of being an artist or gallery owner. He is talking about a much greater view of innovation.

He gave an example that illustrated points 1, 2 and 4 on that list. He said that about a decade ago IT departments planned on a seven year life span for a computer. Now, businesses replace laptops every four years and cell phones approximately every two years.

When I saw this list, I thought of how it sums up what everyone needs to think about when planning their web site.

1. The only thing constant is change

You need to keep updating your web site. This means on a small but frequent basis with new blog posts, articles or other content. On a larger scale, you need to budget for larger web site redesigns on a frequent basis.

2. Change cycles are fast

Just like Dr. Liu’s example of technology purchases, web site redesigns are going to continue to be more frequent. Your business will change and need to adjust the offerings on your web site. Technology will change and you will want to add new functionality to your site.

3. Competition is Global

The internet allows anyone, anywhere to seek you out. For many (but not all) businesses, you are no longer just competing locally. You have the ability to lose customers to far away, online competitors. You also have the ability to attract, especially using search, customers from all over the world.

4. Technology is king

Your web site is increasingly the most important part of your marketing efforts and brand image. Are you portraying you and your business as professional and forward thinking, or lagging behind?

5. Connectivity is power

Connecting your off line identity with your social media channels and running it all through your web site is critical for maintaining a professional image.

6. Innovation trumps stability

Accept the fact that your web site will never be finished. You will not be able to cross it off your list and consider it done. It is evolving and changing, always. Content will need updating, design trends will change, technology upgrades will be necessary.

Thanks, Dr. Liu for the insightful presentation. I think that no matter what field you are in, there were great takeaways for each of us.


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