Businesses with strong brands do better. To make a name for yourself in today’s competitive marketplace, you need to give consumers something they can latch on to.
Your brand is who you are. It’s your story, your personality, your messages and everything else that’s important to your company.
Nailing your branding strategy right from the beginning is going to help drive sales and grow your company. But how exactly do you do that?
A brand can be anything and everything you make it. There are no limits. Yet there are some things you should consider. If you try to be something you are not, your audience will see right through you, creating a disconnect and hurting your ability to engage. And while it’s still a very profitable company, no one wants to be Comcast, a company everyone hates but that succeeds because there are few other options.
Instead, you want to build a brand people are passionate about and loyal to. And doing this requires chasing after the right strategy from the start. Here are some things to consider to help you choose the right branding for your eCommerce business.
Create Messaging That’s Sympathetic to Customers
One of the keys to choosing the right branding is understanding what people want from you. As a business, you exist to solve a problem or help people satisfy a need. To effectively create a brand that resonates with people, you need to demonstrate sympathy to the problems customers face.
To give you an example, let’s say you’re running an eCommerce site that sells skin and hair care products. The first thing you need to do is ask yourself what problems your customers have.
To do this, consider creating an Ideal Customer map. This is an exercise where you plot out the daily experience of your perfect customer, identifying pain points and matching them to the solutions you offer them.
For our fictitious skincare company, the obvious pain points will come when people are exposed to the sun or wind or when it’s winter and the indoor heating dries skin out quickly.
But what else? During this exercise, you should be able to distill other things people hope to get from the skincare brand they choose. Are there concerns about environmental sustainability? What about animal rights? Do people have extra interest in all-natural products? And what does that say about them?
Doing this exercise a few times will help you figure out what messages will sink in with people. You can go beyond saying you’re a skincare products company, and instead say you’re a skin company that cares about nature, working to harness it to make people’s lives better in a sustainable way or something similar. This way, you are addressing some of the broader concerns people have when looking for a brand to buy from, and this will help foster loyalty and engagement.
Make Sure There’s a Story to Tell
A compelling branding strategy tells a story. This means there are characters, a problem and a resolution. The only difference between the story you tell and every other story ever told is that yours doesn’t have an end (we hope).
It’s critical to make sure the branding you choose fits into this story. And to do this, you’ll once again need to get into the heads and hearts of your customers.
As we’ve mentioned, the purpose of your business is to solve a problem or remedy a need. Yet the problems that exist in today’s world are large and complex. No one person nor entity can solve them all by themselves. So it’s your job to determine what your role is in this story. How are you helping to solve these problems?
Maybe your job is to provide people with tools to help them solve their problem? Or maybe your role is to provide information and be a resource? It could even be your job to deliver hope.
Obviously, these intangible purposes do not create revenue; it’s your products and services that do that. But by being clear about your position in this story, it will be much easier to determine the messaging. You’ll have a much better idea as to why people engage with you, and you can use this to create messages that reinforce the relationship you have with customers.
Decide Something True to You
Brand authenticity is necessary for successful branding efforts. If there is dissonance between what you say you are and what you actually are, people will see right through you and disconnect from your messaging.
When choosing a branding strategy for your eCommerce business, make sure it reflects some aspect of you as a business owner, or your business as a whole, if you have a larger operation.
So, after you’ve taken the time to figure out a message that resonates with people, and also your role in the story you’re telling, you need to figure out what you do best. All of these components need to fit together in a coherent manner so that your branding efforts will meld together and be more effective.
If you’re passionate about the environment, it doesn’t make sense to build a brand around the idea of self-image and confidence. Perhaps this will resonate with customers, and so you, therefore, need to be aware of this audience preference, but don’t make it the center point of your branding strategy.
Ensure You Can Produce Lots of Content
Building on this, to be successful with your branding strategy, you’ll need to produce lots of content. You’ll need blog articles, infographics, videos, images, social media posts and much more to be able to reach your audience at as many touchpoints as possible.
Make sure you can produce consistent yet unique content that reinforces your brand messaging. You don’t want to run out of things to say and start repeating yourself. Going over similar topics in more and more depth is good—and actually encouraged—but repetition will push people away and hurt engagement. You need to choose something that not only offers enough material for consistent content creation, but that you are also willing to dedicate yourself to for years to come.
It’s important to take time to get all this stuff right in the beginning. While companies have had success rebranding themselves, this is typically an expensive and time-consuming process we hope to avoid.
Think critically about who you are as a brand and what your customers want from you. This will put you well on your way to choosing a branding strategy that can truly transform your eCommerce business.