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What Is Branding: The Ultimate Guide

16 min read

When talking about ecommerce and successful marketing strategies, one of the terms that usually stand out is without a doubt the concept of branding. Last evaluated in 2021 by marketing consultant agency Invesp, 59 % of consumers prefer buying products from familiar brands over unrecognized ones. In a crowded and competitive market, your brand is what will set you apart from the rest and unguardedly drive customers to your store. When we talk about branding, we refer to nothing more than the idea your customers and audience have created of your products and services.

The reality is, without a brand, you can have the most valuable and innovative product that fills all of the gaps in a specific niche or market while offering unrivaled quality, yet still fail to compete against the rest. This is because, more than a product, you’re selling an experience and a concept, which is only achieved through branding.

Without a proper branding strategy in place, you’ll find it very difficult to appeal to your audience and make long-term connections. Even in relation to something as simple as a pen or pencil, items anyone can produce and sell when attached to a reputable name or identity, consumers are immediately driven toward it over unrecognized logos and unbranded products.

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We Have All Experience Brand Loyalty

Don’t believe us, just take some time to stop and observe the next time you decide to buy something. Subconsciously, as consumers, we have been creating purchase patterns and habits for years, and many are influenced by big retailers through successful branding tactics. For example, most people, when they go buy a pen, their first thought is the brand Bic, a global preference. The Bics brand has become a familiar face for thousands of consumers, and even if they notice a cheaper price or another pen just as good with perhaps more to offer, they still go for the Bics one as they have already built loyalty and trust with the brand.

With this said, building a brand and gaining the public trust is not easy by any means, and many fail. We like to believe a big reason this occurs is due to a lack of understanding and education on what exactly branding is, and eventually what it truly means to own the term and make it your biggest business strategy.

This is exactly what this post is about, the concept of branding, and what it is. Let’s jump right in and take some time to find out what exactly is branding, and how to turn first-time buyers and visitors into lifetime customers.

What Is Branding?

At its core, branding can be defined as the active practice of visually describing to your customers what your products, business ethics, store, quality, accessibility, and so much more are all about.

You can count on branding to build a positive or conflicting perception of your business in your customer’s eyes. With just a look at the colors you use in your logo or even the kind of packaging you offer, customers can immediately make a decision whether they want to purchase from you or not. The important thing to remember is that branding is a lot more than just a logo. The term is an active form of the word brand, and it signifies the action you take to further advance your business culture and mission statement.

With all of this and more, I guess the main point we’re trying to make is that you can’t expect to take your business to the next level or reach its full potential without proper branding, let alone zero branding. Believe it or not, as you read this, we can assure you there is someone out there venturing the waters of ecommerce who has skipped the branding process and is trying to grow a business without it. I think we all know how it ends!

The reality is unless you plan to sell basic everyday life products like cups or key chains, for example, you’ll need to establish a brand to succeed. In fact, I think we can go as far as mentioning that nowadays, there is not a single item or service you can market without a branding strategy in place. We have gained the courage to say such a fierce statement because in today’s society, most people search for reputable and recognizable brands for every single purchase, even if it relates to clock batteries or light bulbs.

More Than A Logo, Branding Is an Experience

As I once learned from famous and successful entrepreneur Alex Ikon, who has for years made emphasis on the importance of branding, if I was to paraphrase his teachings it all sums up to everything being all about the experience. During his time owning the successful Luxy Hair brand and company, he stated how customers were willing to pay higher prices when hair extensions were attached to their brand identity and name, while no one showed interest when he placed a surplus of his products at very low prices on third party platforms with no way to trace them to the Luxy hair brand.

With this, you can see how many times it is not even about offering the most competitive or lowest prices, but without a doubt how customers perceive your business and the concept, you help them create it.

I hope you can start seeing how the branding process works, and what a powerful and unparallel tool it can be. Let’s keep going.

The Elements of Branding

There are approximately four pivotal elements of branding, with a few more which can be considered recommended or many times non-negotiable additions. Together, these elements come together to build and create your brand identity and the visual description of your business. Any brand you come across or have built loyalty with, very likely or unequivocally, counts with the following elements we are about to cover.

Here’s what to keep in mind when building your brand strategy and getting started on the branding process.

Mission Statement. Be clear of what you’d like to achieve with your brand, what makes it unique, what is the driving force behind it, and what are the values you wish to go by. Being aware of these will keep you focused and on track, helping you align every other part of the branding process and remain cohesive with your identity. Beyond offering guidance and harmony, your mission statement and many times will be the reason why your audience and customer choose you over other brands and ultimately keep coming back.

Logo. Every brand needs some form of visual identity, one they can add to every product they sell or service they offer to let shoppers know they’re purchasing their products and not someone else’s. Try naming a brand you know without a logo?—I’ll wait! Hard one, no?

Without a doubt, when you first meet someone the first thing you notice is their face and is usually the first element you use to make assumptions about this person. Just think about the saying, the eyes are the window to the soul. Well just like this, your logo works as the face of your brand, and for this reason and many more it should finely represent it and tell about its mission statement. You can learn more here about creating the perfect logo for your brand. Ultimately, we recommend you take this step of the branding process delicately and hire a professional if necessary.

Color Palette. Tell me what your favorite color is and I’ll know more about your interests. Well, Isn’t it interesting that starting at a young age we’ve always been curious about other people’s favorite colors? Well, what if this has to do more with getting an idea of who they are what they’re driven to than simply a random and conversation-filler question? I know, it is a silly question, but colors do have a lot to say, especially in relation to branding. In the end, just like your favorite color relates to who you are and your interests, your brand color palette should represent and speak of your business mission statement.

For example, if you run a funeral company, you very likely don’t want to use bright pink in your log or website fonts. Just take a look at the Whole Foods logo, as a quick example. Their mission statement is to provide wholesome and natural items; you can easily notice this on the green colors and small tree leaves found in their logo. Just like this, your color palette should speak and reflect your company’s values and what your customers are looking for when they choose to purchase from you.

Once you choose a color palette, this should be applied to every visual part of your company including package, logo, website, and more. And it goes without too much emphasis that it should remain the same on all of these, avoiding color variations as it can easily confuse your customers.

Font. Just like your color palette, your font should express who you are as a brand. This is one of the elements many new entrepreneurs surpass or fail to acknowledge, setting them as an amateur and destroying the public trust. When choosing a brand’s font, realize it’ll be used on most of the remaining elements and will also serve as the face of the brand. Every font out there tells a specific message. Whether it is a message of sorrow, joy, innovation, ancient, holistic, or even of love and separation. Choose wisely and remain consistent with your fonts.

Website. Don’t forget about your website. This is the place where your customers and first-time visitors interact the most with your brand, especially if you own an ecommerce business. Moreover, your website is many times the first impression consumers get of your brand. It should offer valuable information linked to b your brand voice and personality, its design should resonate with the products you sell. I should also give your visitors an idea of your business values and what you sell, even before they read any of the copy. You can learn more about building a website for free on our blog. We consider this a non-negotiable element and the backbone of your branding strategy.

Consider dedicating enough time and attention to each of these elements as they serve as the base and foundation of what your customers perceive. They do the talking and persuasion for you when there is no representative or website description to narrate what your products have to offer. Beyond the branding elements we covered today, don’t fail to add to the pictures additional assets like business cards, tagline, tone of voice, and imagery., which are all important branding tools. Remember is all one big puzzle, with each piece serving a different purpose.

Why Is Branding Important?

When trying to set yourself apart from the rest and create a lasting impact and perception of who you are, you’ll need a lot more than a fair price or a product description. It’s hard to achieve recognition and influence others without the help of visual elements and actions that support what you claim and differentiate you from the competition.

Branding will make the process a thousand times easier and help others feel attracted to your products or services.

Let’s do a small recap and take a look at what we learned today and why branding is so important:

  • It will help you stay in harmony with your original mission and vision.
  • It’ll help you understand more about your audience.
  • It will become the face and body of your business, helping you connect with your customers.
  • It will set you apart from the competition.
  • It will establish you as a trusted company.
  • It will promote your services and products without the constant need to reinvest like paid advertising for example.

Ultimately, your brand is a lot more than just your logo and mission statement. It can be anything from your newsletter, employees’ culture, the type of products you offer, and even what you choose to post on social media. For reasons like these and many more, branding will always be the best medium and tool to create memorable and lasting impressions on consumers and distinguish your business from the rest.

Use Branding to Take Your Business to The Next Level

The branding process can be very complex yet very rewarding. Just ask the hundreds of ecommerce owners that have made the most of their branding elements and used the concept as their business pillar. As you begin your own brand and begin venturing and tapping into the idea of branding, you’ll quickly realize you have to become a storyteller. The goal of branding is to give your audience a story to relate to and synchronize it with the perception they have of your business.

Our biggest branding tip is to always listen and pay attention to your customer’s feedback and how they’re reacting with the story you’re trying to tell them, and ultimately find the best way to influence them to interact with it.

Join the Ecwid team of successful storytellers and ecommerce owners that are making an impact through their brand story and unique ways of connecting with their audience. We have made it easy for anyone with a desire to share their own story to take the plunge and get started anytime. And if you are already part of the Ecwid community, tell us how this post was helpful for you in the comments!

Do you want to learn more about branding your online store?

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About the author

Svetlana is a content manager at Ecwid. Likes yoga, coffee and plant foods. She raises a dog and grows a garden.

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