It’s no wonder that branding is perceived as a complex matter. Branding isn’t a tangible thing. One company can have a logo, mascot, professionally designed web pages, and landing pages, and all of the things that you might associate with branding, but still not have a cohesive brand. Another business owner can take a seemingly casual approach and attain the instant familiarity and trust that good branding earns.
The saying, “I can’t define art, but I know it when I see it,” could very well apply to branding.
However, this doesn’t mean that branding efforts don’t make a difference. They most certainly do. In fact, doing the right things increases your chance of developing a strong branding identity for your e-commerce business.
1. Understand what branding is
Branding involves the thoughts, expectations, and emotions that come to your mind when you think of a particular company. It is the sum total of your personal experiences, word of mouth, advertising, historical perceptive, and imagery.
Some branding efforts rely solely on products, services, and reputation. Others rely on storytelling, customer experiences, and personality. Either way, the end goal of branding is the same. By creating a brand, you maintain control of your messaging and ultimately the way that your brand is perceived.
2. Determine the elements of branding that you can fully control
There are two elements that are always under your control. They cannot be changed or influenced by competitors or customers (satisfied or not):
- The first is your brand’s persona.
- The second is the visual elements that are associated with your brand.
Your brand’s persona is a bit like an invisible mascot. It is the attitude and personality traits that people would use to describe your brand if it was a human being. Red Bull is one brand that comes to mind. Its persona is young, intense, athletic, irreverent, and high energy. Its into travel and adventure.
You develop this persona. Then, you build on it using content marketing. It is what makes your brand relatable to people.
The visual elements are nearly as important as your branding. People overall are visual thinkers. Your logo, web design elements, colour schemes, fonts, and other visual elements add up to make your brand’s visual impact. In fact, this is so important to becoming recognisable that many brands would be lost without it.
There’s a social media game that involves guessing brands based on the company logo or what appears on their product packaging. All of the words are scrubbed clear. What’s left is the size, shape, and colour. It’s enlightening to see how many brands are recognisable simply based on visuals alone.
3. Know what is out of your control
You cannot control how your customers choose to interact with your brand. You cannot control what they expect from you. You cannot control what they say about you. You can attempt to influence and direct.
In spite of this, these are the the things that are ultimately up to them. This doesn’t mean you should ignore these factors altogether. You should always work to provide great customer service and customer experiences. However, when it comes to branding this should not be your focus.
4. Choose your visual assets well
As an e-commerce brand, your visual assets are extraordinarily important. The visual elements that you maintain on your online store create a sense of familiarity and trust. Presumably, many of these elements are already in place such as your logo, the fonts that you use, etc.
The biggest consideration here is to use an online shopping solution that allows you to remain as true to the visuals associated with your branding as possible. Check out reviews of shopping cart solutions to see if they allow you to use your own visual assets.
5. Build your brand persona
To start building your brand persona, you might want to go back to your old marketing documentation — specifically, your buyer personas. After all, shouldn’t your brand persona closely relate to your target audience?
In fact, your first decision should be determining how your target audience should relate to your brand persona. Is your brand persona a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of guidance? Is it a partner in crime as your audience seeks out fun and adventure? It’s traits should reflect these answers.
6. Establish an effective content strategy
Once the two important elements of branding have been established, the most important thing going forwards is content. This is your means of controlling both messaging and perception (at least as much as possible). Blog posts, social media content, email marketing, etc., are all important factors in your ongoing branding.
However, you shouldn’t dismiss content such as product descriptions, chatbot dialogue, or other incidental content that your audience will confront while shopping. It all adds up to your overall branding efforts.
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