It is common for marketing professionals to confuse the two strategies of conversions and branding in their Internet marketing and Website design efforts. There are very clear differences between the two. Branding is the thought that you leave in the minds of your target market and how you position yourself different from competitors. Conversions are the act and process of generating a lead or direct sale from your Website.
As a rule of thumb, larger and well-established businesses are more concerned with branding, or gaining market share through perception on the Web. Think Coke and Pepsi, whereas the smaller to medium sized firms are more concerned with getting leads or direct sales.
When smaller firms heavily brand their business online with high-end graphics and design elements, they run the major risk of losing valuable conversions. When larger firms focus too much on generating conversion on their Website, they run the risk of losing market share due to weak branding.
The key lesson to learn for the vast majority of companies on the Web is this: Do not let branding efforts get in the way of conversions.