The Ugly Truth

Posted by Jill Ruthenberg

Have you seen it?

I watched this movie a little while ago. It’s about a romantically challenged morning television presenter, Abby Richter being forced to work with chauvinistic, tell-it-like-it-is host of the TV segment ‘The Ugly Truth’, Mike Chadway (played by the man with the beautiful Scottish accent Gerard Butler) in an attempt to boost ratings. Oddly enough, Chadway promises to help Abby with her love life in exchange for her cooperation at work. He coaches her through some awkward and amusing situations, staying true to his way of stating the ‘ugly truth’, with some surprising results.

Two words of wisdom that Mike shared with Abby have stayed with me. I’m not going to repeat them word for word but let’s just say that the first gem went something along the lines of: ‘If you don’t want to love yourself, why would you expect anyone else to?’

And the second, a conversation between the two which I have also slightly altered:

Mike: You’re all about comfort and efficiency!
Abby: What’s wrong with comfort and efficiency?
Mike: Well nothing, except no one wants to [visit] it.

His advice is all about making yourself appealing, accessible, and relevant to the opposite sex, but I think it can be applied to the way businesses come across to their customers online.  Here are two gems:

Ugly Truth #1: People like people who like themselves.

I’m talking about your website and blog. If you don’t show your site some love, can you really expect others to?

Take a look at your site. What does it say about your brand?

The initial online experience is the single most powerful predictor of whether your prospect becomes a customer. As it is true in first impressions, in a matter of seconds your site projects your organisation’s core values, segment visitors, and initiates an online experience between you and potential customers. Ask yourself, why should people come to your site? Does it reflect the company’s unique values and benefits? What separates us from competitors? Are we telling our story and demonstrating our distinction? Are we showing expertise and delivering long-term value?

Show your site some love, work at it. Refine your message. It’s all about the perception of value, a perception that you shape.

Ugly Truth #2: People are attracted to attractive people.

This is more like Ugly Truth #1a. Visual appeal is more often than not the determining factor that keeps people coming back to your website. If you want your customers to keep coming back, you have to make your site engaging, visually pleasing, and relevant. Include some personality, have some fun. It’s like stepping into a pound store compared to stepping into Selfridges or Liberty. What sort of image do you want to portray?

Take a quick survey, get someone from your target audience or even a child (they can be oh so honest) to understand how users respond to your site as it currently is. Ask for 3 words to describe their thoughts on the company from looking at your website.

Once you have those words, encourage a brief explanation for each so you can unearth some insights. If the 3 words aren’t ideal, ask for some suggestions on how you might improve. You now have 3 ways you can tailor the online experience your site offers to the needs of your customers and potential customers.

Here are 2 of my personal favourite examples:

Effektive Design Studio

As an independent graphic design & communication company, they’ve got the best designed website I’ve seen (and designed by them of course. I’m sold).

Three words: Seamless, inspiring, and design-led.

Innocent Drinks

Seller of really tasty fruit smoothies, ‘thickies’, orange juice and veg pots this quirky organisation set the standard.

Three words: Fresh, fun and well, innocent.

Jill Ruthenberg is currently an intern at Wisdom London.


5 Responses to “The Ugly Truth”

  1. A great and timely reminder.

    When I started my blog 15 months ago, I had no idea how much I’d enjoy it, how much it would grow, heck I didn’t even know if I’d keep it up.

    So although I did spend a little time tweaking the ready-made template, it’s essentially quite a formulaic look, no question about it.

    I’ve been jotting notes and thinking hard about redesigning it for several weeks now but this will hopefully give me another kick up the proverbial to get on with it!


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  3. […] Ruthenberg recently blogged for us on assessing your website and its content in “The Ugly Truth”. It’s worth a […]

  4. […] Ruthenberg recently blogged for us on assessing your website and its content in “The Ugly Truth”. It’s worth a […]

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