In the world of marketing, getting your message across effectively is probably the best advertising technique, and brands, organizations, companies etc, employ all possible means to achieve this. Generally, when consumers are continuously reminded of a product/service, chances are high that they’ll remember it more than others. This appears to be the thought behind Brand Thunder’s Engage – a free web app that allows anyone to create a browser theme (currently supporting Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer). Since a browser window is almost always present in front of a user when surfing the web, having your theme splashed across their screens is, arguably, one of the best ways to market yourself. So, if you’re a blogger, service provider, product manufacturer, or would just like to brand yourself, hit the jump and see how Engage can serve you.
The application sports a clean, easy interface that is pretty self-explanatory. You can hit the Get Started button to begin building your theme right away, but we recommend creating an account first, as you’ll need that for saving/downloading and sharing your theme. Account creation requires a valid email address, name and password. Once you’ve verified your account (you will receive a verification email), logging in will take you to your Dashboard, where you can view/manage your existing themes or create new ones.
Hitting Create a new theme will pull up the theme builder interface, containing a browser previewer in the middle, context-sensitive properties dialog to the right, and Assets at the bottom, which include predefined Backgrounds, Logos, Widgets and My Images (for uploading your own items). The browser previewer allows you to visualize how your theme will look on Firefox or IE, changeable using the buttons on top.
You start off by selecting a background for your theme, which can be anything from a simple color to a predefined image or an image of your choice (uploaded through My Images). The Theme Properties dialog on the right lets you provide a name and description for your theme, as well as a color picker with dropper-selection enabled, allowing you to find the exact match that you’re looking for.
This dialog box changes with the item you’ve selected, so if you select an image or logo, options offered change to opacity, locking aspect ratio, defining a target URL (for logos, only), as well as a preview of the image. Background images and logos are both resizable and movable, and you can even mix multiple background images with varying opacity settings for a more complex effect.
Another interesting aspect is the ability to build widgets inside your theme, letting you put either Buttons or an RSS/Atom Reader within the toolbar. These could be anything from a visit us link to affiliate and e-commerce buttons, adding more bucks to your cash-flow, and the RSS aggregator can help generate more visits, since your latest updates will be served to your audience right within the browser, without dependency on any third-party service/application.
Once you’re done creating your theme, and verified that it will, indeed, appear correctly in both supported browsers, hit the Finish button on top right to build and download. While Engage continuously saves your progress as you build, there is also a Save Progress option available to do so manually. A finished theme can either be downloaded/installed right away, published to the Brand Thunder gallery, or shared on social networks and even through email using the Share URL generated. It will also remain available in your Dashboard for future use.
BT Engage is one web app that I found highly useful and practical. It’s easy, it’s slick and best of all, it’s free. The rudimentary AddictiveTips theme that I created for testing can be seen in the first screenshot above, and despite being rather bland, it was functional enough. My only complaint with the app was lack of support for Chrome, but let’s see if the developers pay heed to us on this one. Give it a try, and I’m sure you’ll find it helpful in delivering a more personal experience to your audience, not to mention the increased branding.