Why Branding Matters for eCommerce
There is more to e-commerce site than just a catalog. It would be best if you created a familiar and positive reputation among your target audience. A brand is a reputation that a company projects to the world.
When most people ponder about a brand, they think about the visual aspects. They would picture the brand's logo, the product designs, and the color schemes. In reality, the factors that contribute to the success of a brand run deeper than the visual exterior.
A brand should evoke strong mental messages in the consumer. It should also inspire loyalty by creating an association with the consumer. Such associations can manifest in practical ways. Take the brand Fanta; for example, it represents youth and swagger. Anyone who can relate to these elements is more likely to develop an association with Fanta.
Your brand summarizes everything that your customers love about your products. Before anyone can buy from you, they need to have some knowledge about you. What they hear, positive or negative, has the potential to influence their decision.
Brick and mortar businesses have to craft their brands and protect their reputation. These establishments spend quite a lot of money on brand awareness campaigns.
How about online stores? Is there a difference between the physical world and the online community? Does "brand" matter in e-commerce?
How Branding has Evolved for eCommerce
Branding is an evolution of marketing practices that date back to 2000 B.C.
Initially, branding intended to show ownership. Commodities like livestock and timber had their owner's initials burnt into their sides.
In the 1800's the approach shifted from a "this is mine" mentality to the "I made this, so buy it" mentality. The medical industry was among the first to use branding in adverts. The strategy was a success, and they sold more cures and tonics.
In the 1900s, the economy was better than ever. Americans had more buying power. Companies had to figure out innovative ways of selling their products. They came up with unique selling positions (USP). This event was a milestone in branding and marked the birth of modern advertising.
By the 1960s, brands evolved to represent more than the products they sold. We saw companies seeking to make emotional connections with their customers.
In today's corporate scene, the success of a brand is not the quality of the product but rather how well the brand bonds with the consumer. To achieve this objective, companies rely on smart messaging and celebrity endorsements.
The Basics of eCommerce Branding
To appreciate the importance of branding, you must know the basics. Your brand is a set of associations and perceptions that customers have about your store. Branding is an attempt to influence and control these perceptions to improve sales.
Success in branding is projecting the image you want. Allowing the customer to understand what you are all about and what you represent. The customer should be able to differentiate your service from the competition.
To achieve success, you need to define the brand.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the following questions should help.
- What's your store's mission?
- What are the features and benefits of your products and services?
- What is the current perception of your company?
- What qualities do you want to associate with your online store?
- Why Branding is Important
Branding has the power to determine the success or failure of your online store.
Factors like poor customer experience and lack of visibility can repel customers. According to Kissmetrics, 61% of clients transact with a direct competitor at the end of a business relationship.
Here are a few reasons why branding is essential:
1. Branding Improves Store Recognition
A brand encompasses associations that customers make with your business and visual elements. The more memorable your logo design is, the more likely people respond to your brand. Catchy, your slogans make people want to associate themselves with the brand. As long as you keep a positive association, customers will keep buying.
2. Branding Can Help You Establish an Emotional Connection with the Customer
Crafting a brand helps establish some trust with your target market. Your reputation creates store loyalty. When you invoke positive feelings, clients feel more comfortable buying from your online store.
3. Branding Projects Order and Organization
Branding allows you to show off your organization skills. Clients and potential customers respond well to order.
E-Commerce Branding: Strategy Development
An effective brand strategy does not limit itself to a logo, website, and brand name. It includes everything that the brand stands for, or represents.
The main task in strategy development is figuring out the most effective way to get your message out. It is consistency in both communication and service quality.
Here are a few tips that may help you develop a successful brand strategy:
1. Define a Suitable Branding Mission Statement
The mission statement defines what you represent. Before Nike coined the "Just Do It" slogan, their mission statement was "Bring Inspiration and Motivation to Every Athlete."
2. Develop an All-Encompassing Brand Standard
Ingrain in your customers the standard of quality they should expect when they are buying from your online store. Whatever standard you set, make sure that your brand can maintain this standard. Consistency is key.
3. Get Involved in the Community
An exceptional brand builds a strong bond with its customer base. Create a forum where your customers can share their common interests and experiences with the brand.
4. Be the Brand's Biggest Advocate
Social media provides free access to a broad audience. You can take advantage of these platforms to showcase your eCommerce brand. As you establish your brand on social media, always remember to remain consistent with your message, logo, and brand colors.
Building Your eCommerce Brand
Let us assume that you have done the research. You understand your target group, and you have a clear definition of the image you want to project.
How do you build a memorable eCommerce brand?
Here are a few tips:
- Design an eye-catching logo
- Craft a slogan that conveys your business aims
- Develop some standards. For example, customer relations and return policies, e.t.c.
- Apply your visual elements across every marketing tool.
Water is a free commodity. But somehow, some people have found a way of commercializing this natural resource. By attaching different images and messages to the package, companies influence the consumer.
For example, Evian makes you feel young. Perrier emits sexiness and a breath of fresh air. Fiji water projects itself as pure, healthy, and natural. The bottom line is that your brand adds value to your product.
Success Stories that Prove the Importance of Branding
1. Nike: Just Do It
Once upon a time, Nike was a company that catered exclusively to the needs of marathon runners. Their past brand message emphasized only on professional athletes in hypercompetitive sports.
This strategy caused a massive disconnect between the company and the average consumer. Rivals Reebok took advantage and gained control over the fitness community.
To succeed, Nike had to appeal to the average sports and fitness enthusiast.
Nike reexamined its mission. Rather than focusing on pro athletes, the brand sought to deliver products for other sports. They coined a brand message that encourages people to go out and exercise. That is how Nike developed the slogan, "Just Do It."
In 1988, their sales were hovering around $800 million. By 1998 their sales grew to $9.2 billion and still thriving today.
2. Budweiser: The "America" Campaign
As micro-brews and craft beers continue to climb up the popularity charts, larger brands faced a challenge. They had to come up with innovative branding strategies to remain relevant.
Anheuser-Busch, the makers of Budweiser, recognized the need to remain in touch with their regular consumers and grab the young adult clientele.
To accomplish both goals, Anheuser-Busch had to formulate a bold plan to gain the attention of both demographics.
Results from the company's market research suggested that 42% of their core consumers were more likely to drive a pick-up truck. This demographic was also middle class and identified themselves as patriotic.
Anheuser-Busch embarked on their "America" rebranding campaign. In the summer of 2016, they briefly changed the name on their beer cans from Budweiser to America.
For this period, Budweiser offers more to the consumer than beer in a can. They sold patriotism. Budweiser convinced the consumer that they were as American as a greasy cheeseburger or an apple pie.
The campaign was a success. The brand resonated with its core consumer base in a cost-effective way.
Instead of redesigning the whole can, they only changed the name of the brand. The redesigning alternative would have been more expensive. The brand's fame pushed the product across all social media platforms and traditional news channels. Budweiser didn't have to produce marketing content.
Considering that the company did not spend much on the campaign, the returns were impressive. Within the first 48 hours of launch, Budweiser's total impressions rose to over 1 billion units.
What the campaign accomplished for Budweiser was far greater than selling more cans of beer. They won back their core customer base and re-established themselves as a crucial component in American culture.
So, Does Brand Matter in Ecommerce?
In business, there are a few tasks as necessary as branding. This concept cuts across all businesses, whether large or small, physical or web-based.
Your brand is the summary of your reputation. The strength of your brand can help your business stand out from the competition.
Branding can influence how consumers view your business. Branding is a powerful tool; it could be the difference between success and failure.