The Best in Branding

Whether you're producing a Web site, Facebook or Twitter presence, or company brochure, your branding should be front and center. Here are three practitioners whose Web sites capture the essence of their brand.

Paul Tayl

or III of Ranchline, a real estate firm based in New Mexico, sets the company's image against the majestic panorama of the West. Everything about Ranchline's service and quality is reflected in all aspects of the company's brand. From its logo, which features an outline of mountain tops above the company name, to its Web site displaying photographs of New Mexican splendor—white clouds meeting sun tanned mountains with rustic ranches tucked between—the Ranchline image is consistent throughout. But Ranchline's branding is successful not just for its consistency but also for its attention to detail. The Web site's headline font evokes a typical old West feel. Combined with the sepia-toned backdrop, it adds an appropriate touch of cowboy to the wild West theme.

Charlie Parrish, owner and broker of Evergreen Realty, uses the beauty and abundant wildlife of Sandpoint, Idaho, as a

big part of his company's branding. Evergreen's logo—an evergreen tree inside a house—as well as its dissolving photograph landing page, reinforces the message that Evergreen's image and purpose is well-connected to the verdant landscape of Idaho. But it's not just the photos of quiet lakefronts, unspoiled mountains or native animals that draw you in. Even Parrish's personal slogan, "Let us know how we can help you" (on his "About" page) contributes to the site's warm appeal. With winter temperatures Sandpoint sometimes reaching the single digits and below, that's no small feat.

Alice Held of Keyland Fine Properties in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Ariz., uses a whimsical family of huma

n-like saguaro cacti as a branding symbol of her business, which focuses on relocation clientele. Held began using the cacti on her Web site in 1995 to add a distinctly Southwestern feel. (The saguaro is indigenous only to the desert Southwest.) Soon, the clever cacti were everywhere—on her stationery, on the labels of water bottles she passed out to clients, on her listing materials, and even on the label of a personalized relaxation CD she sent to past clients. For Held, the saguaro says the desert; to the public, the cute cacti say Alice Held. Today Held's Web site still pays homage to her cactus-loving roots. It features a comic strip rendering of herself with cacti for assitants. On its Sunday morning cartoon surface, the site may ooze fun, but its easily accessible information, simple navigation, and useful write-ups all mean business.