One of the things that many companies fail to realize is that their websites communicate the essence of what their company is about. If you think about it, it’s very rare for a customer to come into one of your offices to see how your company actually operates. The only realistic way to have potential customers really experience your company is through your website. That’s why a website must go beyond selling products and services and stay consistent with its offline brand.

To really understand how important company culture and philosophy on a website is, you have to think about what the word culture represents. In the real world, culture is a word that describes a way of life and a set of values that an individual or a group of people have. This definition is parallel to a company’s existence. A company’s culture shows consumers how a company operates, what it is about, and what values it holds.

When you’re at a networking event, it wouldn’t make sense to start off with something like “Hi, my name is John. I work for company X and we sell some of the best custom home furniture. Would you like to see my catalog?” However, that’s what most company websites do. Due to the commercial nature of the Internet, companies often think that it is admissible to skip the introduction and get straight to selling.

Instead, a company website should start by reminding people of their offline brand identity so that people are reintroduced to their company. A website can leverage the strengths of an existing brand and also give people additional details about their company such as their story and philosophy. Doing this will also help people who weren’t familiar with an existing brand get properly acquainted, which only helps develop business relationships faster.

The first part of reflecting company culture on a website is obviously through visual presentation and content. The website should stay consistent with the visual elements of a company’s existing brand. This can include anything from the logo, mascot, unique sales proposition, brand message, to the color scheme of their advertising or marketing material.

There should also be content that clearly explains the company’s background, mission statement, and philosophy or culture. Too many company websites use these aspects of their website to create content that’s boring, cliché or self-serving. Instead, it should be used as a way to communicate entertaining, valuable and helpful information on why their customers and potential customers should do business with them.

The second part is a not so obvious aspect of website design. It’s how your website functions. The experience that a person has on a company’s websites gets reflected onto the company. So if a company has a confusing website, the company itself can be perceived as hard to work with. If the company’s website doesn’t address the purpose of the person visiting, the person may think that the company doesn’t serve their need. You want people to have the proper impression of your company, so providing a good website user experience is crucial in communicating the desired identity of your company.

The bottom line is that doing what most websites do is the equivalent of being a pushy salesman at a networking event. You want to start the conversation the right way with a proper introduction. And it’s important to note that reflecting company philosophy, culture and story is not just about conveying value, credibility and trust to your target audience. It’s also about leveraging the strengths of an existing brand by reminding people about who you are and by filling in the rest of the details with your website.