A few weeks ago Jaan showed me how easy it is to change the background on my Twitter page. In an instant the page became part of my brand, something my clients and followers would recognize.
This reminded me of a thing that has been bugging me lately about web applications. As a business owner I rely on, and pay for, services that I can’t customize visually to fit with the rest of my brand.
Some of these tools are at the epicenter of my business; virtual meeting spaces, project management tools, and billing and time tracking systems. My clients log in to these apps to work with me but they never see my brand.
Or in other words, while I’m working hard to serve my clients, I am also hurting my brand by using my apps of choice.
The contrast becomes even bigger when you look at the things that I have brand control over.
My site, my Twitter page, and my online office space are all clearly part of the Nofont brand. When my clients see them, they see my brand.
But as soon as they enter my toolbox they see this, a mess of different brands and interfaces.
I used Basecamp and Freshbooks in the example above. Add to that my Flickr account, Google Analytics pages, Campfire, Evernote and all the other things my clients see when they work with me and it’s no wonder they risk loosing sight of my brand.
What I want is for all the great tools i rely on to extend and enhance my brand and the values and experiences I have attached to it. I don’t care about the brands of the apps I’m using. I only want them to give me what I actually pay for - a business tool. A tool that is about my business, not the app’s business. (The ability to modify the appearance of an app has become one of the biggest factors for me when I decide to bur or not to buy.)
Providers of web applications must let us - the people who put food on their table - to brand the tools to fit our needs. And yes, it takes more than allowing us to upload a logo or change a color scheme! They must also allow us to choose how we structure information and how we layout the pages and screens of their apps.
I’m not asking to change functionality, just that we get access to our web app account’s CSS files. After all I’m paying for the service they provide; at the very least I should be able to use it the way I want!
And if I could, maybe this would be the result; a fully branded business environment that works in my favor.
Regardless of what part of my cloud a client enters, they see my brand.
All you web app providers out there - Let me brand my cloud! Now!