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The David and Goliath of Web Design

The David and Goliath of Web Design

I have been talking about this subject to small and medium-sized clients for over 15 years. All these people I have spoken to, have the right to aim high. And sometimes this includes mimicking the marketing of large brand names. And it could as well work. But most times, it does not. Here is why.

Trust, Security & Authority

The great difference between a small and relatively unknown brand and a large household name, is trust. Even with a relatively bad reputation an established brand emanates more trust security and authority than any small or medium-size business? The reason why lies in the advertising exposure a large brand gets and all the other brand association factors of having ads on TV, radio and mainstream press.

“If they are that big, they must be doing something right” is what often people say when describing a large business. This automated attribution of trust and authority is something that small and medium-sized businesses rarely enjoy. And if they do, they often evolve into big brands eventually.


Trust is a key element in a business-client relationship. Without it, no relationship can ever form. Whilst large brand command trust because of years of promotion, exposure and awareness, smaller brands have to take extraordinary steps, to reach just a fraction of trust. In short, they have to work at it hard.

Web Design is key to ensure that the consumer is trusting the brand from a quick visit to the website. Speed is of the essence. Trust building online might mean 3-15 seconds to convince a consumer that the website is trustworthy. A large established brand does not need this. Most small to medium-size businesses are in great need of these elements.


Security or the feeling of security might sound synonymous to trust, it does however contain a number of elements that are distinct and critical. Security is particularly important in E-commerce settings when a user is about to use a payment processing system. But it also applies to all other situations where the handing over of personal data takes place.


Authority is perhaps one of the hardest elements to define. It is also a highly desirable brand trait that only very few brands in the world enjoy. As such, it is also extremely tough to acquire and maintain. Authority is such a highly sought after trait and the reason why brands invest so much money and effort in authority building.


Big brands and small brands have different aspirations, separate goals and different characteristics. Trying to cure all patients with one drug rarely works. Similarly in marketing, designing a small business or big brand website, poses its own challenges with different characteristics, goals and methods to achieve the required result.