There are two schools of thought in building a Website. One, make it as easy as possible to help the user complete a transaction in the shortest amount of steps or time. The other is to build an experience that reflects the brand and the voice of the organization. Sometimes these approaches are not in conflict. For example, an online services company’s core value proposition may be about simple, easy transactions. But a company whose product or service requires a longer sales cycle or is more commonly purchased offline, has to balance relationship and brand affinity with transactional needs.
Ad Age’s Alan Perlstein argues that online isn’t very good for branding, he implies that online is a transactional medium.
Online lends itself to transactional relationships. It can also lend itself to longer term engagement. The trick is to find the balance and understand the intent of the user, then build those experience based on the probable intent. More often than not, entertainment is that intent, which lends itself nicely to branding.