The human brain has an uncanny ability to recognize symbols. Have you ever played “guess the logo” on your smartphone? The game shows how efficiently our brain assimilates symbols with (in this case) the brand it represents. If you see the silhouette of the Mercedes-Benz logo or the Nike symbol, you’ll probably know what the symbol represents within a second.
The logo guessing game shows the power behind great branding. Instantly recognizable brands like McDonald’s and Nike use symbols and catchphrases to embed themselves in the minds of their customer. Do you immediately think “Just Do It” when you see the Nike symbol? Probably so – why? Because Nike has established itself as an easily recognizable, unforgettable brand.
Why Is Branding So Important, Anyway?
Okay, so McDonald’s, Apple, and Nike are unforgettable brands. But does branding itself have anything to do with their success?
Actually – it has everything to do with their success.
Think about Apple, for example, any product with the Apple symbol on it will sell like hotcakes because the logo is synonymous with class, elegance, productivity, and innovation. Apple’s products aren’t any better than their competitor’s on a technical level (in some respects), but they outdo nearly every other smartphone brand in sales each year.
Now – think about Motorola. You might picture the logo, but what comes to mind when you think about the brand? Motorola currently produces the most technologically advanced smartphone on the market, but its sales are a fraction of the iPhone 7’s because Motorola’s branding is far less effective than Apple’s. A shopper’s perception of a brand is powerful – many people perceive Apple as the most innovative smartphone manufacturer in the world, so to millions of shoppers – it is.
Think about this comparison and relate it to your own business. Selling high-quality products, leading innovation, and offering great customer service all play a role in your bottom line, but branding is the driving force behind your sales.
How to Build an Unforgettable Brand From the Ground Up
So you’ve decided which products to sell and you’re ready to open your store. Before you start selling, start building the foundation for your unforgettable brand by outlining your vision and how you’ll make it a reality.
1: Outline Your Vision
What kind of future do you visualize for your store? Do you want to make quick sales or do you want to establish yourself as a leader in your niche?
Pinpointing your vision for your store’s future takes time and introspection. Ask yourself the following questions to help you get started:
- What are your values?
- What are your passions?
- Who is your target audience?
Answer these questions and use them to build a brand which targets the right goals. Your brand should share your values and your passions with your shoppers. Think about TOMS shoes, for example, the company gives part of each sale to charity, as the owner of the brand values philanthropy. This attracts customers who also value charity, and the company has established itself as an unforgettable brand as a result.
2: Establish Visibility
Your target audience must be able to see your brand if you want it to grow. There are millions of eCommerce stores online, each trying to carve their way into the top 1% of online stores. To capture the attention of online shoppers, you’ll have to work for it – the “if you build it, they will come” mentality doesn’t exist in eCommerce.
To establish visibility, you need to provide value. Make it clear why shoppers should buy from your brand instead of a competitor. Value comes in many shapes and sizes, and it doesn’t mean you need to offer the lowest prices in your niche to make sales. You can provide value in several ways:
- Use content marketing to give your shopper actionable and entertaining information.
- Offer a very high quality or unique product which can’t be found elsewhere.
- Create an effective and desirable gimmick. Just as TOMS donates a few dollars from each sale to charity, you could implement a similar gimmick into your own brand to provide value.
- Offer top-notch customer service.
3: Build Credibility
Scams are aplenty online and shoppers have grown increasingly wary of them. Shoppers need to know they can trust you before they’re willing to purchase a product – they need to know they’ll receive the product and they need to know the product will work as advertised.
How can you build credibility?
- Use testimonials, case studies, and reviews to showcase the experiences of other happy customers.
- Create a professional and responsive website.
- Work with trusted influencers in your niche to establish a good reputation among their followers.
4: Deliver Consistently
Consistency is a major part of branding. When a company’s service and products are consistently delivered as expected, they further establish their brand as recognizable.
When you open a can of Coca-Cola, you know exactly what to expect: a pop, a fizz, and a swig of delicious and timeless soda. Coca-Cola tried to change their recipe several years back, and customers were so outraged at the brand’s move they forced the company to return to their old recipe. Why? Because consistency is key. Customers expected a certain flavor from the brand and Coca-Cola didn’t deliver.
If your customers expect something from your brand, give it to them – over, and over, and over again.
5: Be Authentic
Authenticity is a requirement for excellent branding. You’re marketing to people with a passion for your product, and they’ll know if you’re not being honest about your statements.
Shoppers prefer brands who are authentic. Yes – branding involves building a facade for your store, but you don’t have to be fake to build this image. Your image should exaggerate your values as a company, not pose fake values. Being authentic doesn’t require hard work or carefully planning – to be authentic, you need to be yourself and let your target audience connect with your brand on a personal level.