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Why digital accessibility is vital to building your brand

Blue background. On the center, a yellow light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Behind it, some other light bulbs turned off.

Building a strong brand is a must for companies to succeed in the digital age. And, increasingly, accessibility needs to be part of your branding strategy. Besides putting together an accessibility plan, it is also important to show this to your audience. In this post, you will better understand why this commitment to an accessible web is so indispensable. And oh, we will also give you some simple tips on how to start this planning!

First, what is a brand?

If you ask different marketing professionals, it is likely that each of them will give you different answers. So find the ones that seem most useful for your company.

But to get you started, here is an initial definition. A brand is the way a product, company or individual is perceived by the people who experience it. Much more than just a name or a logo, a brand is the recognizable feeling these assets evoke.

Define your brand from your company’s mission. Think about customer needs, your strengths, and your sales proposition. Consider the feelings you want them to associate with your organization. What do you want people to think when they hear about your company?

But what does digital accessibility have to do with it?

Creating accessible web experiences offers your company two great opportunities: demonstrate a true commitment to accessibility, and greatly increase your audience.

It’s a common myth that people with disabilities don’t use computers. Or that they are not a potential consumer audience. However, according to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that more than 1 billion people live with some kind of disability in the world. In other words: it is very unlikely that your company will, in fact, not reach this market. So if your websites and applications are not accessible, sooner or later you will have to consider the huge market share you are losing.

In addition, accessibility allows more customers to have positive experiences with your brand. When your site is inaccessible, many people are automatically unable to consume your content. Or, even, to buy your products! However, by having one positive experience with your company – and then another, and then another – they are more likely to become loyal to your brand. Not to mention that from the moment the consumer feels that the service they have used can benefit someone else, they are likely to make recommendations, both to acquaintances and on social networks.

Finally, it is also worth mentioning that accessibility improves your SEO. For people to have any contact with your brand, they must first be able to find it, right? At first it may seem surprising that SEO best practices and  Accessibility Guidelines for Web Content (WCAG) overlap. But it starts to make sense when you consider the importance of mobile navigation and alternative descriptions for search engine ranking.

Tell everyone!

In the digital age we live in, it is undeniable that consumers have many options. As a result, they are increasingly choosing to support brands that share their values. So if your brand is committed to accessibility, let people know!

Prepare a press release in which you talk about your company’s accessibility. This can be your chance to publicly demonstrate your commitment. You should present clear information about the actions you have taken and the methods you are using. Statements of this kind are becoming more and more expected.  A great example of this is Samsung: the company has produced a series of video tutorials, in Portuguese, showing how the accessibility features of its products work.

As long as your commitment is true, it’s okay to be proud of it. For example, if you have made a major change that improves digital accessibility, or have committed to including more people with disabilities in your market research, let your audience know! Social media, press releases, blog posts, and emails are all great ways to get your message out quickly and to a large number of people.

How to get started?

Consistency is the key to a brand’s long-term success. But awareness and the ability to evolve are very important steps for lasting accessibility planning. If this has never been a focus of your brand strategy until now, that doesn’t mean you can’t turn it around.

Making your site accessible in Libras, besides being a great social responsibility measure, can broaden your consumer public. Did you know that in Brazil alone there are 10 million people with hearing loss? This means that a huge number of people cannot get in touch with your brand. If you want to start a digital accessibility project for the deaf community, Hand Talk is here to help you.

Adapted from Bureau of Internet Accessibility

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