How your online shop becomes a brand

by Kristof Maletzke, 07.05.20

Apple, Nike, Sony – these are examples of brands that are firmly anchored in the minds of virtually all consumers worldwide. Also, small online shops can work on their branding to remain in the memory of their customers and to convey their own identity.

Let’s first look at the Wikipedia definition of the term “brand”: A brand is a “name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”.

The first thing you should do is to define your shop’s offering and the values behind it. Which position does it occupy in the market and how does it differ from the competition? Once you have worked out the essence of your shop and your products, you can work out its identity.

Pay attention to these points:

  • What do you sell?
  • Who do you sell it to?
  • What advantages do your customers have when they buy from you?
  • What are your unique selling points?
  • How does your shop differ from the competition?
  • What are the emotional reasons for buying from you?

The answers to these questions are the basis for successfully establishing the brand of your shop.

The right name

If your online shop does not yet have a name, there are many possibilities in deciding for a brand name. What feelings and associations would you like to arouse with the name? Perhaps the brand name already reveals what kind of shop it is? Like your shop, the brand name should also be unique. A quick Google search can reveal if your name idea is original or if someone has already claimed the name.

The character of your brand

A brand should convey a feeling. We all have convictions and values that make up who we are. This also applies to your branding. When creating a brand, think of the beliefs, values and thoughts you would like to convey. Once you have gathered this information, it will be easier for you to define the character of your brand.

Your company’s voice has a special meaning. It determines the way in which you address your customers. For example, should the voice be courteous, professional, funny or provocative? Or everything together? Like the other aspects of your brand, the corporate voice should be aligned with the brand identity.

The brand message

Have you already developed an elevator pitch for your brand? Behind this term is a simple concept: Imagine that you meet someone in the elevator whom you would like to convince of your brand. However, you only have a few seconds to do this and must therefore focus on the essentials. How would you describe your brand in just 60 seconds? You can derive your brand message from the elevator pitch, with which you can define in a few words what the core of your brand is.

The right logo

All major brands are immediately recognisable by their logo. Think of the “M” from McDonalds or the bitten apple from Apple, for example. That’s why the logo is perhaps the aspect of your branding with the greatest impact on your customers. It visually represents your brand values and beliefs and therefore needs to be well thought out.

It is usually a good idea to create a logo that matches your products, so customers can see at first glance what you are selling.

After you have created your logo, it should be integrated everywhere: In your shop, on your business cards if available, on advertising materials and so on. Each of these measures increases the chance that your customers will remember your brand.

Brand design

A strong brand usually goes hand in hand with a catchy shop design. The choice of colors in particular allows you to determine how customers perceive your brand.

What colors come to mind when you think of the Apple brand? Probably white, black and possibly grey. The simplicity of Apple devices is reflected in the reduced color palette, as you can see in this screenshot of the Apple website.

Beware of changes

Imagine McDonalds changing their logo to a big red D or Apple using an unbitten apple as a logo. The confusion among customers would be great. Therefore, the brand identity should be maintained permanently so that customers will remember it for years to come. Changes such as redesigning your logo should always be done carefully.

The brands of your competitors

It is worth investing time in analysing the activities of your competitors. Pay particular attention to the following aspects:

  • What makes the shop and the brand unique?
  • Which emotions are conveyed by the brand presence of your competitor?
  • What role does the company name play for the brand?
  • What are the special features of its visual identity?
  • How is the logo designed?

Of course, the aim is not to imitate your competitors. Instead, it makes sense seek inspiration and to consciously differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Now it’s your turn

Perhaps you already have some initial ideas on how to present your brand convincingly? Then the work begins now. Remember: Building a brand takes time. So don’t be demotivated if your brand is not immediately recognized after just a few months. If you work on it constantly, you may be able to become a household name for your target group.

About the author

was Communications Manager at ePages.

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