For so many young, budding companies branding is an important, essential, and awkward uphill battle. Last week, our partners in Frooition gave a professional insight into why branding is so fundamental to your companies success. Frooition are experts in eCommerce branding, and this week they’ve got the 3 best tips for building your brand.
TIP #1 Keep it natural & honest
The easiest answer is to keep it natural and honest, project the story and values that you believe in already, highlight the differences in your business and build your brand off the back of those strengths. It is much easier to create a consistent brand when it’s based on fact rather than an overly engineered story.
If you sell vehicle parts because you love cars: project it. Customers identify with a fellow petrol-head and will place much more trust in your brand than a generic modern brand.
If you’re the 3rd generation owner of a family business: shout about your heritage and pedigree. It all adds confidence to your brand. E-commerce customers are switching off from traditional marketing, they simply don’t believe the bold corporate-style claims they see a million times per day in adverts. Customers are rapidly moving towards natural, opinion style shopping.
Think about the content on Instagram and Youtube: “honest” reviewers have far more influence over purchasing decisions than glossy adverts.
TIP #2 Consistency is KEY!
Consistency is the greatest tool for any brand. You cannot afford for customers to have an inconsistent experience with your brand. The bad experiences far outweigh the good experiences. 5 stars are standard, anything less is sub-standard.
It should be obvious but your colours, logos and fonts should always be consistent wherever they are used including on print, marketplaces and e-commerce websites. Even if logos and colours need to be simplified for certain applications (e.g. print) at the core they should be consistent.
Once you have decided on your branding, spend some time putting together a thorough brand guidelines document. Detail exact colours for screen and print, state which sizes are used for which headings and demonstrate spacing around the logo and wording.
In addition to brand guidelines, you should produce a “tone of voice” document. This should be a matrix of how you communicate with customers and online, including things like style, greetings and wording. A great example of brand guidelines: Identity, tone of voice and style guidelines by the University of Leeds.
It should go without saying but spelling and grammar should be part of your brand guidelines, you may choose to use “incorrect” grammar and altered spelling as part of your brand – just make sure it is consistently incorrect!
Here at Frooition, we are used to working with other companies guidelines when creating marketplace designs or building full e-Commerce website designs. Rather than shackling creativity, they provide a rule-set that allows us to be more efficient in our delivery. Clients with a brand guideline, typically, complete their projects 20% faster than those without. Once you have generated your Guidelines, ensure you share it with staff and get their buy-in. Your staff will make or break your brand with consistency.
Your job as a business owner is to find a way to ensure your staff are all working towards a common goal, part of that includes adhering to your company guidelines. When staff start to slip from the guidelines, ensure you pick it up and remind them quickly to stop habits forming.
Consistency doesn’t stop at your online branding and tone of voice. Ensure your communications, paperwork, and even your packaging are brand consistent. Even if you are using a fulfilment company, some companies (such as the brilliant Huboo) allow sellers to use branded packaging and slips and retain the benefits of 3rd party fulfilment.
TIP #3 Simplicity is your friend
At Frooition we believe in the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Where possible use the simplest method possible to achieve the outcomes. That goes for branding, design, processes and even technology.
Start-up companies that succeed usually pivot at some point in the early days. This means that if you’ve stuck with complicated, very product-centric branding then to change products you need to rebrand. This slows you down and could be the difference between success and failure. Instead, opt for more simplified branding in the early days.
Once you become more established it is possible (and usually a good idea) to become more industry focused – again keep that branding simple. The more simple your brand, the more simple the guidelines will be. Simple rules are easier to follow!
Whilst it is arguable that our attention spans are decreasing (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38896790), the speed that people load your content is decreasing and the number of competitors is increasing. You have less time to grab customer attention. With that in mind: write your online content and descriptions with short, easy to scan and punchy paragraphs, using headings to highlight key points, rather than writing war and peace.
Follow the tips above to make branding much easier. Spend the time upfront creating the correct brand and writing an easy to follow rule-set and you make life MUCH easier in the future. Train your staff well, make sure they understand the importance of branding and get them on-board with your brand. They can make or break your brand with seemingly small transgressions. If you do not have the time or resources in-house to build your brand then it is worth using a professional branding company to help you create professional channels for your business.
Frooition is an established e-commerce branding company with 15 years of experience creating brands and stores for eBay, Amazon and e-Commerce websites.
If you follow your guidelines then you should minimise mistakes. In our honest opinion it is better to get more content out there following your branding than worrying about perfecting 1 piece. Try to push some content that re-affirms your brand every day, be that a blog, tweet, Instagram post or conversation with a client.
This post is a guest post for Huboo.co.uk written by Andrew Pinner, BDM for Frooition.com.