“Your brand, Jeff Bezos of Amazon once said, “is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Developing a noticeable and likeable brand is one of the most important elements of building a successful e-commerce business.
Branding encompasses everything that your company does. It packages your business up into something people can relate to: it is also the sum total of all of the interactions a customer has with your business.
In addition to content strategies can help build brand trust, here’s a simple guide understanding your brand and making sure your online retail store has the tools and strategies to successfully brand your e-commerce business and stand out from the crowd.
These Things Are Shaping Your Brand
We form our first impressions of people within seven seconds of laying eyes on them, and then we create further impressions about them when we get to know them…and it’s exactly the same with brands.
If you can catch someone’s attention with a great looking brand, and follow it up with a likeable personality, you’re onto a winner.
This is the personality in which you deliver your business to your customers, and a truly effective brand will maintain a consistent personality at all times.
This is the looks part. It includes everything your customer sees, from the logo, colour palette and font, down to packaging and stationery.
As a successful brand is largely about the feelings that a customer develops towards your company, so it’s vital that your customer experiences are as positive as possible.
Kiehl’s is a good example of a strong brand. Their recognisable logo and packaging carry connotations of quality, longevity, and legitimacy.
The whitespace on their website reflects the white and clean packaging we have all come to associate with Kiehl’s.
It’s a great example of how a brand persona can be created in visual form in ways that are subtle. A luxury brand like Kiehl’s is all-but reliant on its reputation and brand prestige.
Being Consistent with your Brand Message
Just as with most relationships, sending out mixed messages about your brand will make things complicated.
Each interaction you have with your customer points to a message, and these brand messages must be cohesive and consistent.
Though consistency is important, it can be hard to implement in practice.
Here are some practical ways you can start being more consistent:
- Read the small print. Make sure that secondary and tertiary content has gone through a thorough review process. Audit your entire brand and improve anything that seems subpar.
- Create design assets in a way that allows them to be adapted and cascaded across new channels and formats. Adopt a more template-oriented design strategy.
- Brand guidelines will help you communicate your colour palette and tone of voice to anyone who’s new to the team.
Pinterest has clear and helpful brand guidelines that enable others to work with Pinterest. Learn from the big brands when it comes to brand guides, but don’t feel the need to make yours as corporate.
What is your Brand Persona?
So, how do you create the perfect brand persona for your e-commerce site? Your brand persona needs the following four elements:
Your brand pillars are the bare bones of your brand – a few words that completely embody what your brand is about. For example, the brand pillars of Coca-Cola are happiness, refreshment, optimism, fun and authenticity.
Brand essence is the core definition of your brand and should be stated in one or two words.
Promise. The brand promise demonstrates the benefits that customers can consistently expect from each interaction with you. Virgin’s brand promise is ‘To be genuine, fun, contemporary and different in everything we do at a reasonable price.’
A mission statement declares your company’s purpose and the reason for existing, beyond simply making a profit. The mission statement of e-commerce fashion site ASOS is ‘To become the number 1 fashion destination for 20-somethings globally’.
Mahabis is a new e-commerce brand with a great brand persona that seems very of the moment. Their cool and edgy take on slippers have got everyone talking and rushing out to buy their own set of mahabis. Everything from the on-page copy to the site design and products exudes a cool Scandinavian minimalism.
Looking Good: How to Develop your Brand’s Visual Assets
Once you have nailed your brand’s message and persona it will be easier to decide exactly what your customer-facing assets should look like.
Creating a moodboard of images and elements that showcase the brand you are trying to create will provide a handy reference point to help you develop the following:
- Logo. A good logo is distinctive, simple, memorable, versatile and timeless, and should reflect your brand pillars at first glance.
- Colour palette. Your colour palette sets the tone for your brand visually and plays a large role in how your brand is received. For example, blue is perceived as being loyal, trustworthy and calm.
- Fonts. You may not notice it, but typography plays a vital role in brand identity. Typefaces have personalities and picking correct one will imbue your brand with the feeling you’re trying to convey.
- Tagline. A catchy tagline expresses a complicated emotional concept within just a few words. ‘Because you’re worth it’, the tagline for cosmetic company L’Oreal is an excellent example of a tagline that we’ve all adopted.
This American independent cookie retailer, Michel et Augustin, has a very distinctive visual style.
Colourful and full of quirky illustrations, their website stands out from the dozens of other corporate cookie sellers.
Rebranding ready-made or existing ecommerce websites
If you already have an e-commerce business that’s up and running, maybe it’s time for a strategic rebrand? Or if you’re looking to invest in an e-commerce business, you may feel a need to put your own stamp on it too.
Here are some brand revamp considerations:
- Research first. Before making drastic changes, do some research into the ways in which the business is currently doing well. You don’t want to throw things out that are actually bringing in business.
- Keeping your business going. Think of ways to change the branding in a way that’s consistent with what’s been done before. Try to connect with a narrative arc, rather than just start from scratch.
Test your branding. Hopefully, you will be able to gauge how successful your branding is based on sales, but it’s worth digging a little deeper by asking your customers directly.
Asking your customers to complete an online survey after they have made a purchase can provide valuable information as you test out a new website or branding.