eCommerce Cultivated | Episode 33

Branding 101: Branding For eCommerce Businesses


An important part of business is your branding your brand often represents you before you get an opportunity to explain it to anyone. In this episode, I am going over branding 101: branding for eCommerce businesses why it’s important to have a solid brand foundation.

I’ll also be going over some myths that you need to know so that you can avoid some costly mistakes.

Listen to the episode and let me know what questions you have by joining our FB community to continue the discussion.

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Show Notes


As more and more people are starting and growing their businesses. You are most likely hearing a lot of discussions around branding. 

In my last episode, on product proof of concept where I discussed how to validate that your products will actually sell. Part of that journey is getting feedback from your customers on what visually appeals to them. Which is part of your brand. 

Whether you realize it or not branding plays an important role in your business. And I’m excited to talk about this and some of my perspectives on the topic.

But…

Before I dive into today’s episode I want to quickly mention that I have limited spots open for VIP days. A VIP day is a dedicated day where we focus on getting things done in your business. That could be figuring out how to optimize your Shopify store, establishing a brand & marketing strategy for your business, or even helping to set up your Klaviyo email marketing account. 

This is a great option for those of you who want to get help sooner than later. Especially for those of you that don’t have the time to wait months to get important changes done for your store. These are limited and usually are only available for my private clients but I wanted to make it available for those who aren’t in need of a full brand and website experience. 

To book a spot and finally get that growing to-do list in your business finished. Connect with me over at The May Creative where you can learn more and we will discuss what this can look like for your business. 

Alright, so let’s dive into branding and why it’s important.

What Is A Brand?

The definition of a brand is so varied. Which I actually think is a pro because you can get a lot of different perspectives this way. To me a brand is almost like a person, you always remember how they make you feel. 

With that being said, I like to also think of a brand as an experience, a feeling, and a memory. In more official terms a brand is… 

A brand is a way of helping others identify and relate to your business. 

There are millions of brands that exist today and the ones that usually stick with us give us some sort of emotion or memory. 

If I say “taste the rainbow” – which brand comes to mind?

Or how about Disney what types of memories come up for you? Do you think of certain movies, childhood toys, or even amusement parks?

Somehow each of those companies has been able to create certain associations that they want their audience to remember about them. These brands I’ve mentioned have personalities such as fun, happy, whimsical…

I love this quote by Peter Steidl who is the author of Neurobranding

He states that “a brand is a memory”

Which makes perfect sense: a brand if done well creates a memory. It gives you something to associate with or hold onto. 

Think of your own brand and ask yourself this question: What do I want people to remember about and/or feel when they interact with my brand? What is the lasting impression I want to leave?

A brand is more than surface level and I want to talk more about some myths surrounding branding.

Myth 1: Your Brand Is Your Logo

This has to be one of the top myths about your brand. Every designer understands this statement. We often get potential clients and clients thinking that their brand is their logo. 

In order to have a logo, you need a brand first. Let that sink in for a minute. 

Your logo is an extension of your brand – the identifier of your business. It is not your business.

Before even diving into the visuals a brand has to go through a development process. Such as defining what it will represent, who it will associate with, and define the type of customers it would like to attract. Plus figure out the type of personality it wants to have and so much more. 

Once a brand has gone through the proper process of establishing its foundation. Then it can start to look at its visual identity. 

Visual identity is…

  • The logo
  • Colors
  • Fonts & Typography
  • Imagery, etc.

Now we can bust that myth – your logo is just part of your brand’s identity. Not the sole identity itself.

Myth 2: You Need An Elaborate Logo 

This definitely depends on your business but if you look at timeless brands their logos are very simple. When your logo is going to be featured in multiple places such as

  • Your website
  • Your social media profiles
  • Merchandise
  • Packaging, etc.

It needs to be flexible to be showcased in all those places. Plus it need to not turn off your customers. For me, as a personal preference, I don’t like logos on merchandise that get in the way or are obnoxious. I want to enjoy the product.

I think the most elaborate logo that isn’t annoying that I can think of now is Starbucks. They don’t use it on all their merchandise they mainly stick to their simple text-based logo. While letting the products be front and center.

Myth 3: Only You Define Your Brand

You may believe that you are the only one that defines your brand. But that is only partially true, you can set the direction and determine the perception of your brand. 

Honestly, your customers and clients are the ones who will solidify what your brand represents. The more they interact and engage with your business the more things will start to shift. 

This is how communities are created, people start to find commonalities and begin to self-identify with those traits. Then associate those traits to your brand. 

You can listen to episode 17, on Building A Community Around Your Brand.

You may be part of some communities of businesses you admire. Think about what makes you attracted to their brand. Then figure out what would inspire others to want to formulate a community within your business. 

For example, Mini Cooper drivers have dedicated communities and even ways they greet each other while driving.

A community can help reinforce your brand and make it stronger. 

Myth 4: Branding Is Expensive:

I think this depends on how you look at branding. In all honesty, branding is expensive when done incorrectly. When you move away from the idea that your brand is your logo. And, instead, see branding as the foundation of your business. It makes sense that is a bigger investment. 

Get this part of your business wrong and it could end up costing you more in the long run.

For example, maybe you spend the least amount of time and money on your brand identity and skip your brand strategy to save money. 

More specifically, you get a quote from a designer and find out it is $5000 and you balk because you only wanted a logo and at max wanted to spend $500. 

So you find someone to do your branding at the cheaper rate and they just provide you with a logo and no strategy. You’re excited because hey you think you have a brand.

Then have your products developed and discovered that your brand doesn’t resonate with what your business stands for or your customers aren’t attracted to your products. Leading you to have to go back and really build the foundation of your brand. Then relaunch at a later date.

To reduce the risk of this, it makes more sense to not hop into the visual side of your business first. But to build from a strong foundation – a brand built on a solid foundation has a higher chance of succeeding. 

Myth 5: Branding Is Marketing

This is an important one to mention because sometimes people think that a designer is also a marketer if they create branding. 

Let’s clarify this a bit, marketing is about delivering a message that helps people take action. Usually, that action is to make a purchase. 

How branding fits into this is that when you clearly understand your customer. That you identified in the brand strategy of your business. You understand who you are speaking to and what message to deliver to them. Then you can use supporting design elements to help attract them to your brand. 

When you are ready to market your business you take your brand strategy & guidelines to a marketer. That marketer will then use that information to develop your marketing strategy. Because you are providing them with your brand’s strategy & guidelines, they are better able to help you create marketing materials that align with your brand voice. This is especially important if you are planning to do ads, your advertising company will want to know as much as possible about your brand to create the right marketing assets for your business. 

There is so much more that goes into branding and I will link some additional resources in the show notes of this episode. 

Think of your brand as an experience and for experiences it is important that they are intentionally designed. 

Just to recap I talked about

  • Your brand is not your logo but a visual identifier of your business.
  • That you need an elaborate logo to stand out.
  • That only you define your brand, your community also defines it as well.
  • Branding is expensive when done incorrectly
  • Branding is marketing

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this episode and to hear your questions about branding. Be sure to join the Facebook Group eCommerce Cultivated Lounge. Which is an extension of this podcast and a way for us to stay connected to go more in-depth about topics.

Also, don’t forget to leave a review on Apple podcasts so more people can receive this information.

k-tmc

Hi, I'm Karen, the founder + strategist/Shopify expert behind The May Creative. I help growing luxury, lifestyle & beauty product-based business owners craft an elevated Shopify website experience. So they can scale their business & reach their next level of success. Connect to learn more about working together. Or check out the episodes below or dive into some insightful eCommerce articles.

Karen

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