Let’s kick off with some mind-boggling numbers to inspire you on a more practical, profitable scale: by 2021, it is expected that the revenue earned from e-commerce will reach $4.5 trillion worldwide. Yes, you have read that correctly, we’re talking trillions here. And it’s no wonder you want a piece of a multi-trillion-dollar pie, but with such a staggering growth rate, it gets all the more complex to stay above the surface and even more challenging to build a memorable, recognizable brand.
So, how do you stand out in so much shopping noise online? The only possible answer to that is through branding. We are long past the stage when having a sleek website with lovely images and optimized customer experience will do – now, more than ever, matters how you create your brand identity if your values and your purpose resonate with your target audience, and how well you protect their loyalty.
To that end, whether you are just starting out, or you are already a part of the e-commerce game, it’s high time you focused on creating a brand worthy not just of your products, but of yourself and your future legacy.
Showing off your difference
Plenty of emphases is always put on thinking outside of the box in creating your product and giving something new to the world. Because, let’s face it, for the time being, Tesla is doing quite well, but if you simply copy and mimic an existing brand’s story, you are not bringing anything new to the table, and you are, in essence, replaceable in a heartbeat. Someone who has been a part of the system for longer will beat you to a customer because of their long-standing reputation, while newcomers may seem intriguing simply because of a curious design.
All of these aspects of your online presentation are fickle, hence the need to concentrate on what truly matters, and that’s creating a brand that offers a value missing in the market. In all fairness, with such oversaturation of businesses, finding, defining and making this “edge” known to the world will be a battle, but one worth tackling for the sake of long-term success.
Creating a meaningful bond
Branding and marketing experts everywhere know all too well that we, mere mortals, base most of our shopping decisions on our emotions, and not on a rational basis. Even studies in neuroscience that include MRI scans show that we primarily use our emotions when we evaluate a brand, so no matter how amazing, unique and functional your products may be, if it doesn’t inspire that deeper, emotional connection, you might as well sell them rocks. Oh, wait, even that can be done successfully and with wit, only if you focus on branding.
From choosing the right colors, fonts, slogans, taglines, people to represent you, content you share and create, everything plays into the “feeling” of a brand. However, most businesses turn to professionals, such as this branding agency from Melbourne to help them create this emotional appeal from day one. Aim for making your shoppers smile, laugh out loud, be shocked or inspired to take action, but always focus on emotion, not just appearance or functionality.
In the era of influencers and overall shopping transparency, feedback, comments, likes, shares and reviews are the lifeblood of your brand. When you fail to get any genuine reviews and exposure, it’s as bad for business as it would be to get negative comments and no referrals whatsoever. Simple paid advertisements no longer appeal to a wide variety of people, Millennials in particular, as they are much more likely to shop based on their friend’s and family’s recommendations than to blindly follow the most advertised product.
A strong branding strategy inspires people who truly need your product to test it out, express their opinions, and recommend your product to people they know and love. What’s particularly worrisome is that only 33% of businesses analyze and ask for reviews, and this is one of the most powerful motivators for others to trust your brand. But when you build your brand by letting your customers play an active role through sharing, unique hashtags, contests, gift cards, and personalized notes on the product they purchased, you inspire them to recognize themselves as a part of the story.
It’s your business foundation
Do you have a plan how you can make your employees feel proud to be a part of your company? How will you keep your retention rate up? Do you know the essence that drives your marketing and advertising efforts? It all comes down to forming a clear brand identity based on values your employees and your future customers will gladly support. On a more practical level, when you have a formed brand, you will also have a clear set of guidelines for all the teams that represent you to shape the voice of your company accordingly.
And suddenly, your new Aston Martin or your favorite BMW costs significantly more than the sum of its parts. Branding breeds value that goes far beyond the price-tag, so luxury or not, your brand is no longer perceived as a mere commodity, but as an item that possesses qualities that cannot be measured in monetary value. Finally, every business aims to earn trust, loyalty, but also a profit, and branding is precisely the road to achieving these goals while satisfying a need in the market.