When you’re looking for a gift for a friend, do you opt for a well-known branded product or the lower-priced generic version? After all, a gift is a gift, right?
Well, that’s what you may think, but brands matter when it comes to consumer choices.
Leading brands have worked hard to create an image of quality and consistency, which can evoke memories and emotions beyond the brand’s product or services alone.
These brands also succeed by effectively conveying the values that are most important to their customers. For beauty companies, examples of this might be sustainability, quality and diversity.
All of this develops a sense of trust, and when a consumer trusts a brand, they are loyal and more likely to become a repeat customer.
But with the popularity of ecommerce only continuing to grow at an exponential rate, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. That’s why focusing on building a strong brand is incredibly important.
Whether you’re just starting out or looking to rebrand your existing business, we’re sharing these seven easy steps to help you establish a brand that will stand the test of time.
- Define your target audience
Before you do anything else, it’s important to find out who actually wants to buy what you’re selling. Research and define your target audience, so you know who it is you are attempting to market to.
Try to be specific with your choice of target customer—and remember, your business isn’t for everyone, so don’t try to appeal to the masses. Instead, choose a specific niche; that way, you will have less competition to worry about.
If your brand or business is already established, look at your existing customers and ask yourself what you already know about them. Examine key customer data such as how old they are, where they come from, and why they’re interested in your business.
If you’re just starting out, try imagining your ideal customer instead. Create a ‘buyer persona’ by establishing identifiers such as age, gender, location and other demographics, in addition to purchasing habits if you can find them.
Moreover, it can help to examine your competitors and see what kind of customer they’re targeting. Look at their social media pages and check out their social followers, as well as who they are following. One great way to see the types of language and positioning your competitors are taking is to see what ads they are using - this can be done on most advertising channels, but we recommend looking at Facebook’s ad library where you can simply enter a brand name and search their ads!
As you go through this process, make sure you are taking notes. Ultimately, this research will inform how your brand should focus and where to take it to set yourself apart from the competition when reaching your target audience!
- Create a brand identity
Once you have established your target audience, it’s time to consider your brand’s identity. The best way to do this is to think of your brand as a person. Just as we are all made up of our own beliefs, values, and purposes - so should your brand.
Identifying these characteristics will help you create a brand voice that speaks to your audience. Are you formal or funny? Maybe you are casual but professional. Whatever route you choose to go down must resonate with your audience.
Defining your brand voice allows you to ensure that copy and language is consistent across all of your channels, such as social media or your website.
It may also be useful at this stage to come up with a positioning or mission statement, which is a line or two outlining what your brand does, who your target audience is, and the benefits of your brand. This isn’t necessarily something to stick on your business cards but more of an internal guide to remind you of your brand’s value and help keep everything consistent.
As an example, here’s Clinique’s positioning statement:
In 1968, a savvy beauty editor asked a leading dermatologist “Can great skin be created?” Clinique was born. Clinique’s mission has always been to provide the safest, most effective formulas in simple routines that bring remarkable results. No parabens. No phthalates. No fragrance. Just #HappySkin.
- Come up with a name
Choosing a name for your business is probably one of the biggest branding decisions you’ll make. Whichever name you choose can say a lot about your company. Although it doesn’t have to define your brand, it does need to instill something that conveys the right ideas or emotions to your audience. It’s important to define your brand name with critical and creative thinking in order to avoid some common brand naming mistakes.
Luckily, there are some really good online tools to help, such as Shopify’s Business Name Generator.However, you should try to avoid anything too generic or easy to imitate, as it’s harder to trademark or get an available domain.
There are various approaches you can take:
- Metaphorical names, such as Amazon or Kayak
- Two words coined together, such as Snapchat or Pinterest
- Invented names like Skype, Venmo or Kodak
- Descriptive, evocative names, such as PayPal or JetBlue
- Literal names, like The Cheesecake Factory or Toys’R’Us
- Strategically positioned names, such as Burger King or Best Buy
- Acronyms for a longer name, like HBO (Home Box Office)
- Names that rhyme, think Fitbit, GoPro, and 7-Eleven
- A play on words, like WhatsApp and Pupperoni
- Completely unrelated words, such as Apple and Puma
- Alliterative names, like Coca-Cola or Bed, Bath and Beyond
- Named after the founder, think Ford or Levis
Before you commit to a name, run it by a focus group first and see what they think. This can help establish whether it has an unintended meaning that you may have overlooked or something else you could have missed.
- Choose your brand’s look and feel
Choosing your brand’s look and feel is an important decision, as it determines how your customers will identify your brand at first glance and across every touchpoint from then on. This involves picking colors you want to associate with your brand, the fonts you’ll use on all of your text, and whether there is any other imagery or pictures you wish to incorporate.
Ask yourself how your customers will identify a package from your brand in their mail compared to any of your competitors—and think about what they will see when they navigate your website and browse for products.
You may want to choose a particular color or color scheme because you like how it looks, but do note that colors can convey meaning and invoke certain emotions that you may want your customers to feel. For example, the color red can be associated with power, strength, and love, whereas blue signifies success, loyalty, and trust.
It’s also useful to know that colors can increase brand recognition by up to 80%, so be sure to check out the color palettes your direct competitors are using so consumers can differentiate.
Fonts, or typography, are another important element that can greatly impact how your customers perceive your brand. Sans-serif fonts tend to be more modern and friendly, while serif fonts are traditional and authoritative. Not including your logo, it’s also best to stick to a maximum of two different fonts - one for headings and titles, and one for body text—to avoid looking unprofessional and confusing your customers. Consider the statement your font selections make in your material like ads, website banners, or even your business cards.
- Write a slogan or tagline
Coming up with a slogan is an optional part of the brand-building process; however, it can help make your brand more recognizable and set you apart from your competitors.
A slogan enforces your brand’s persona, identity, values and position. It’s also a great asset for social media bios, website headers, packaging—and just about anywhere else where you only have space for a few impactful words.
The best slogans are short, simple, and catchy but can still tell your audience something they need to know about what your company does or offers.
Cosmetic and beauty brands have come up with some brilliant slogans over the years, with iconic examples including L’Oreal’s “Because You’re Worth It” and Maybelline’s “Maybe She’s Born With It” (voted the most recognizable strapline of the past 150 years).
If you’re struggling with ideas, there are plenty of online slogan generators to try, or you could get creative by writing out a list of rhymes, metaphors, or even literal phrases that come to mind when thinking about your brand.
And don’t worry if you feel like you’re committing to a slogan you’ll be stuck with forever. Pepsi has changed its slogan a whopping 30 times in the past few decades.
- Design your logo
A brand logo is the face of your company, and much like your company’s name, it’s one of the first things your customers will see and begin to recognize.
If your logo has been designed carefully and with consideration, then simply saying your brand’s name should conjure up the image of your company’s logo—think McDonald’s golden arches or Apple’s iconic apple.
As your brand’s visual representation, your logo should be unique, meaningful, and easy to understand.
It’s also really important that it is scalable for different platforms and in various sizes, so map out all the places it’s going to be seen—from social media to products to favicons. Consider these best practices, when designing your logo.
If you’re going to choose a text-based logo, then it might be a good idea to consider a version of your logo that has an icon element, such as the crown above the ‘R’ in the Rimmel logo. This will make it easier when you have to use your logo on smaller areas.
Looking at app icons is a good way to identify how your brand’s logo might look when scaled down to fit on different devices. For example, Netflix limits its app icon to just the ‘N,’ which has become as recognizable as the full logo.
Unless you come from a design background, you will likely outsource your logo to a designer. They will be able to talk you through the different types—from brand emblems to mascots and icons or letter marks.
If you’d like to learn more about logo design, read our in-depth article on best practices for logo size and design.
- Apply your branding across your business
Once you've decided on all the important branding elements mentioned above, it's time to apply them across every aspect of your business.
Consistency is crucial when developing a strong brand identity and creating a cohesive brand story that represents who your business is and what they stand for.
The more consistent you are—both online and offline—the more you can make your brand feel familiar to your audience, which builds brand loyalty and trust with them.
Be sure not to throw away all your hard efforts in building your brand by overlooking certain touchpoints, such as invoices, documents, and packing slips, as these can be great marketing opportunities to add your branding and maintain consistency.
Thanks to some powerful software available on the Shopify app store, it doesn't need to be time-consuming. Take Sufio, for example—it's an automated invoicing app that allows you to create and send beautifully designed invoices that reflect the true nature of your brand, including your logo, font, or color scheme.
As we all know, ecommerce can be a very crowded game, and as the competition grows, standing out has never been more important for connecting with customers.
A carefully considered brand does more than just get you noticed; it gets you trusted and remembered, which keeps customers coming back.
Attention to detail is key, so ensure your brand remains consistent with every opportunity you have to interact with your customers—from your store’s theme to your packaging and even invoice slips.
Ultimately your brand is your reputation, which is why you need to take the right steps to build it from scratch.
Blanka allows you to build your private label makeup brand in minutes. We provide everything that you need to launch it successfully, with zero minimum order quantities.
Head to our Shopify store today and sign up for a free 14-day trial.