This is a guest post from Caroline Powell. Caroline is the Marketing Coordinator and Events Manager at Seller Labs. When she’s not focusing on email automation and webinars, you’ll find her jamming on her planner or quoting Broadway musicals.
The days of just selling online are over. As consumers flock to eCommerce, they’re increasingly likely to buy from a brand they can connect with. Building a brand is the smartest thing you can do to increase your chances of eCommerce success.
While marketplaces like Amazon are placing importance on strong brand identity, it’s still not quite enough. The most successful brands know their branding strategy, have connected with their audience, and are everywhere that their customers like to shop.
In this article, we’ll go over how to generate sales by crafting your brand identity and building a community.
Create your brand identity
One of the hardest things about building a brand is knowing where to start. However, keep in mind that your brand can evolve. Celebrities evolve their brands all the time, like going from country music into pop. Think about how Dunkin Donuts is now just “Dunkin,” because they are so much more than just donuts.
All you need is somewhere to start building. With answers to just three simple questions, you too can build your brand.
Who are you today?
To start, be unapologetically you. Great brands know who they are and don’t care what other people think. If you’re a veteran, own it. Products made in the US? Include it! Discover who you are, and let that brand messaging make you different.
Just like products or services have unique selling propositions (USP), parts of your brand do as well. When you find what makes you stand out from the competition, you win. Lean in to that to define your brand.
Who are your customers?
Utilizing a buyer persona to craft your brand is a great place to start. Once you know who your average buyer and target audience are, it becomes easy to build a mission statement that resonates with them.
Chances are, a women’s skincare brand will not be built on the foundation of an AC/DC lyric. A men’s deodorant logo is unlikely to be inspired by the artwork of Degas.
Who do you want to be?
It’s important to note here that the question is not “Where do you want to be?” Think of your brand just like a person. When people think of your company, what do you want them to think? Some brands identify as powerful or creative or even subtle.
Sometimes, building a brand is aspirational, especially in the beginning. You are not today who you want to be next year or five years from now. A brand that starts off as “understated” could evolve to become “minimalist” in a few years.
Something else to consider is the longevity of the brand and target audience. Do you plan to grow and “age” with your original target audience, or will you always just target a specific age range?
For example, while millennials are still considered millennials, they’re no longer the absurdities of headlines that have surfaced in the last 5-7 years. (If you’re unsure what this refers to, just look at the Google Image Results for “millennials headlines”.)
Bringing It All Together
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your brand. You just have to get started. Don’t think small, but it’s okay to think simple. Data will help to develop your brand over time, so be prepared to adapt.
At the end of the day, the heart of every successful brand is a delightful customer experience. The more easily a buyer can connect with your brand in some way, the more likely they are to come back or share your brand with others. This leads us to the concept of community.
Establish your community
In the beginning, “community” generally referred to those in the immediate vicinity. Before the days of eCommerce, it was your local community. Now that brands can reach buyers all over the globe, who is your community?
This ties back to the concept of buyer personas. Your products may target stay-at-home parents, or book lovers, or people who are left-handed. Whoever your target audience is, connect with them!
We live in a world of countless social media apps that makes connecting to our digital community easier than ever. Depending on your brand and target audience, there are countless ways to build and connect with a community.
Let’s apply some creativity to a well-known seasoning brand like McCormick. Some tactics they could employ to establish a community and connect with their target audience are:
- A recipe contest using some of their seasonings
- Sharing top recipes on their blog
- Community voting on favorite spices or seasoning blends
- Video series with aspiring chefs using the spices
Go where your shoppers are
This is, quite possibly, the most important part of building a brand. Shoppers can only buy what they are able to find. Do your shoppers frequent particular websites? If they shop in-store, where are they shopping?
At the very least, every brand should have its own website. Even if you’re strictly using it for brand recognition and SEO, driving sales to platforms like Amazon or Walmart, you should still have a website.
Death Wish is one of our favorite examples here at Seller Labs. If you’re looking for a brand that is unapologetically themselves, it’s Death Wish. They boast the “world’s strongest coffee” and their brand is black, simple, and covered in skull and crossbones. You know right away who their target market is.
The brand started in 2012 because there was a need for strong coffee. That was their USP. Since their beginning, they’ve had a Super Bowl commercial, become one of the top (non-sponsored) Amazon results for “strong coffee”, and evolved their product line to include coffee mugs, K-Cups, and more.
Columbia’s website boasts that their products “reflect our Pacific Northwest heritage and indomitable spirit.” You often see their products referred to as “tested tough.” When Columbia started in 1937, it was originally just a hat company. However, they have evolved over the years to be one of the leading active and outdoor wear companies in the world, outfitting anyone from Olympic skiers to offshore anglers.
“People against dirty.” Now that is taking a stance (in a fun way). method has even gone so far in their branding as to avoid capitalization across their website, tying back into the brand name. Their USP was that they’re a clean brand that you can be proud of using.