Brand. Everyone is talking about it now in the ecommerce world, especially the Amazon FBA world.
They should be. It matters.
But first - what exactly is the difference between an ecommerce brand and branding?
Brand definitions vary, and people will argue over which is best. All are mostly correct and “getting at” the same thing, in my opinion. I think many people mix up brand, branding, and marketing. It's confusing and hard to implement. My thoughts on ecommerce physical product brand building are below. I kept it simple, relatable, and actionable.
A brand is a group of products or services that solve problems for a specific group, such as boxers, knitters, software developers, photographers, or dentists. Knitting brands sell needles, wool, carry cases, pattern holders, patterns, etc.
However, branding is how people feel about your brand. Branding and marketing are different but often used interchangeably, yet the truth is that marketing is how you tell people about it; marketing promotes your brand. Advertising and marketing help build brand identity, but they're not it in and of themselves what makes a brand a brand.
So what is it that makes the difference between a product and a brand?
Brand DNA is a double helix of intertwined beliefs, values, and ambitions that define your brand. However, your Brand DNA does not need to be a perfect statement to be framed and hung on the wall. Accepting this will be difficult at first, but you'll return to it and revise it as you build your brand: Brand DNA is dynamic and changes as your brand develops.
So let’s dig into the genes of your Brand DNA, especially as it pertains to building a successful ecommerce brand.
Remember when you first dreamed of your brand? There was a powerful force – a 'why' – driving you. That is your brand's purpose! For me and my first brand, Beast Gear, the purpose was to challenge the elitist notions in the fitness industry. To ensure that everyone, irrespective of their stature or status, could unleash the beast within them.
This may seem ambiguous, but it has a real impact. Everything you do must fit the brand's purpose. Make sure to audit everything by asking yourself "Does or does it NOT fit the purpose?": there can only be a yes or no answer! When people sense you’re about more than just raking in the cash, they don’t just buy from you; they love you.
Your Takeaway: Dig deep. Why does your brand exist beyond the profit?
A brand without vision is like a ship without a compass. What does your brand aspire to do as it relates to your customer? Forget your financial goals and more “business”-related goals for a moment. But ask yourself, what does a world where your brand is successful look like? Where are you going as a result of your purpose?
Admittedly, I didn’t think about this when I first started Beast Gear. I knew why I was doing it, but I didn’t know where I was going. But I might have said, “In a world where Beast Gear is successful, we’re the number one choice for fitness fans looking for affordable, quality gear they can rely on.” I could even go a step further and add a philosophical element, such as, “Because everyone deserves to beast their fitness goals.”
Your Takeaway: If you could fast-forward to the pinnacle of your brand's success, what would it look like?
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If your vision is the destination, then your mission is the roadmap. It's your daily grind, ensuring every little thing you do is moving you one step closer to the big vision. It's a living, breathing entity that your team can rally behind.
It can help to state the purpose and vision first, then state the mission. Why we exist (purpose), where we’re going (vision), how we’ll do it (mission).
The purpose of Beast Gear was to challenge the fitness industry's status quo and inspire people of all fitness levels to "Be More Beast." The vision was to become the number one choice for fitness fanatics, and the mission (or the “how”) was to do it by providing them with high-quality training equipment, exceptional service, and a community that encourages and pushes them to achieve their fitness goals.
In practice, we accomplished this by selling high-quality products via our website and online marketplaces, as well as providing important fitness information to our clients via social media, our website, and platforms such as YouTube.
Your Takeaway: Define your roadmap. How will you make your vision a reality, step by step?
Your brand’s values are its guiding principles. It's what you stand for, and more importantly, what you won't stand for. These are non-negotiables that dictate everything from partnerships to customer interactions. For Beast Gear, values like valor, strength, and dependability were the pillars we stuck to.
Your Takeaway: Identify 3-5 core values for your brand. Make sure they resonate and represent what you deeply believe in.
You might be thinking of colors, logos, and fancy designs. But it's so much more! It’s how your brand behaves, communicates, and makes people feel. Your brand identity is the harmony of visuals with voice. It's how Beast Gear, with a fierce Gorilla logo, championed values like valor and dependability, instantly recognizable and resonating with its audience.
Your Takeaway: Beyond aesthetics, how does your brand ‘feel’ and ‘communicate’ with your audience?
Every interaction, message, and product your brand offers carries an unsaid commitment. It's that subtle, ever-present guarantee that your brand will always uphold its values and vision. Your brand promise, though often unwritten, is always felt because it's the silent foundation of trust.
Ponder over the implicit promises your brand makes. Are they being consistently upheld?
As you embark on this brand-building journey, here’s something I can't stress enough: Focus. A laser-focused brand is a powerful brand. Keep your eyes on the prize and stay in your lane! The riches are in the niches!
When I first started Beast Gear, I knew I needed to narrow my focus in order to build a stronger brand. I wanted us to be known for producing high-quality fitness equipment that allowed people to channel their inner beast. I considered starting a clothing line and even a supplement line. Fortunately, I must have had steering correction enabled because I stayed on the training gear path – and it's been Beast mode ever since.
Now that you’ve gleaned the essence of building a captivating brand DNA, how about taking things up a notch?
I'm thrilled to announce my upcoming book, “Quit Stalling and Build Your Brand”. And guess what? For those hungry for success and eager to dive deeper, I'm offering early access to the book.
But that's not all! By joining the waitlist now, you'll unlock exclusive bonuses tailored to supercharge your brand-building journey. This isn't just early access, it's a VIP ticket to brand mastery:
Stay focused and build your brand better today for a more successful tomorrow.