“Practice what you preach.”
I may not remember the exact date or year I first heard this phrase or learned its meaning, but I can tell you it was likely during grammar school and around the same time I was taught similar expressions like “Don’t talk the talk unless you can walk the walk,” and “actions speak louder than words.”
Clichés you say? Indeed. But all of them still highly relevant.
While the word cliché is given quite the grilling in its Random House definition: “a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse,” it forgets to mention that “long overuse” is the result of when something works, not when it’s lost impact. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a cliché to begin with.
For us, “practice what we preach” comes down to driving and promoting loyalty. Just as we design loyalty programs for the retail, travel, entertainment and hospitality industries, so too, must we excite loyalty for the Kobie Marketing brand. And increasingly successful branding comes down to an effective website in both the laptop-based and mobile worlds on smartphones and tablets – a fact which was the inspiration behind the new Kobie website, as well as fuel for my continued focus on the subject of quality web design.
Sure enough, Webs, Inc., a website building company founded in 2001, wrote a blog several weeks ago that spoke to what we were trying accomplish with our new page design. According to Webs, website viewers spend as little as a few seconds evaluating a site’s worth and usability. Meanwhile two British studies published in 2011 by 1&1 Internet Ltd, a global web hosting leader and Head London (with analysis from Oxford Economics) found the following: Nearly half of British consumers (46%) have ended their small business relationships with companies whose websites failed to impress and that poorly designed websites cost retailers $785 million in a three year period from 2007 to 2010.
Considering British consumers are every bit as tech savvy (and impatient) as there American counterparts, we’ve taken these statistics to heart. The completely revamped Kobie.com can be experienced vertically which is ideal for any mobile digital device and features a responsive design allowing for user-focused navigation, fully enhanced functionality and an intuitive experience. Additionally, all content is SEO-optimized with fonts specifically chosen to enhance user friendliness, designed to comply with what Webs refers to as the “F-shape” of visual web scanning. The way the science tells us it works is that users examine the top two-thirds of a page from left to right and scan from top to bottom along the left margin. The result is that up high and left oriented content is preferentially read over material on the bottom right. In our case, due to the site’s vertical nature, we’re employing an “elongated-F” shape.
Launched late last month, it is our expectation that the new website will begin seeing increased traffic, greater page views and of course, comments on our weekly blogs. Sometimes company loyalty isn’t about a “loyalty program,” like the ones we design for clients, but in the simpler and dare we say old-fashioned “instant” loyalty that comes with a first impression, a hand shake, a smile, and of course, a click of a mouse or a tap on a smart device’s screen.
Maybe “practice what you preach” is a little worn. But it’s a venerable phrase whose meaning is instantly recognizable and one that if delivered to a receptive audience, promotes an immediate change in behavior. And that’s exactly why we remain loyal to the cliché, just as we’ve loyally committed ourselves to re-designing our website.
So after reading this blog post, take some time perusing our pages and see if it passes the 15-second rule, if our site really does fit the elongated-F description and if we really have “walked the walk.”
If so, we promise no more clichés….at least for a little while.