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Day 7: Creating a brand is easy (if you know how to do it)

Chapter 8 by Tim Kock

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A brand encourages people to take action by highlighting the unique aspects of a business. It also gives depth to your online presence and tells your audience that they can trust your company.

Think about Nike and LEGO for a moment.

What attracts people to those websites? Personality. Branding.

So if you want to succeed in ecommerce, you need to create a memorable brand.

Building one from scratch, though, can seem intimidating.

There’s a logo to be designed, a story to be told, a font to be picked and the list goes on.  

Yet if you understand what goes into each step of ecommerce brand building, you can make one that can help take your store to the next level.

Today, we’re going to:

  • Create a logo
  • Pick a font and color scheme
  • Write an authentic brand story

Let’s go.

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A logo is probably the first thing people notice when they visit an online store. And it’s not hard to understand why – it’s the face of a brand after all, and is potentially representing the company on all fronts, including the web, social, and even offline.

Coming up with a stunning logo, however, is not just time-consuming, but can also be a big challenge to overcome for non-designers like me and Amanda. We know the basics of how to use Photoshop – but we’re no graphics professionals.

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That said, creating a unique, identifiable logo is still possible. And you have more than one option for achieving the purpose.

You can:

Outsource it

You can hire someone to design a logo for a low cost ($5-$20) on Fiverr.

logo creation fiverr

The site connects you with designers who can execute your brand’s vision with a good-quality logo. It also lets you choose design partners if you don’t have a clear idea of what you need or want someone to help you pick a design direction.

I’ve personally used Fiverr to get a logo made for one my stores.

One of the main things I learned is that the instructions you provide to the designer need to be as clear as possible. Otherwise, you may end up being disappointed with the result.

Use Canva

You may be familiar with Canva as a social media tool, but it actually has many free logos you can use. Plus, if you don’t like the default look of a pre-set logo, you can change it to be more in line with your brand’s outlook.

Just choose a template you like, and customize it to your preferences using Canva’s drag-and-drop editor.

canva logo design tips

And though it does require users to pay if they want to upload custom fonts, you can always sign up for its 30-day free trial to test things out.

If you aren’t satisfied with its capabilities (extremely unlikely to happen), you can simply cancel the trial. The tool even sends you a notification 3 days before the subscription ends. That’s really cool!

Get help from a friend

Another thing you could do is see if any of your friends know Photoshop.

If you manage to find someone, see if they could put a logo together for you. You can even consider paying them a fee for it.

Amanda, however, knows how to use Photoshop, so she didn’t need to outsource or tap into her circle of friends.

logo dropshipping

But even with graphic design skills, it doesn’t have to take a lot of work to make a nice, simple, catchy logo. To make the Evooli logo, Amanda just went online to download a free font and changed the color of one letter to add a splash of personality. Boom.

[highlight]If you want to experiment with this route, be 100% sure that the font you use is free for commercial use. Otherwise, you can get yourself in big trouble legally.[/highlight]

Now, I know that everyone isn’t good at Photoshop. Fortunately, there is still the option of Fiverr and Canva – all 3 options can help get you a business logo in no time.

I recommend having your logo in a couple different file formats, including a JPG and a PNG. Create a folder on your computer to keep these branding elements in.

Pick a font & color scheme

Apart from your logo, your font and color scheme will be essential parts of your brand. You probably got an idea of different fonts if you were making a logo in Canva of Photoshop.

As you can tell by Amanda’s logo, she chose a handwriting style font to stay in line with stylish feminine brands. Your style of font can say a lot about your brand. For example, big boxed letters can be more bold and masculine. All caps is strong, while lowercase is calmer.

Take a minute to think about logos you’ve seen and what kinds of ‘moods’ they create for you when you look at them.

As for colors, you’ll just need 2 or 3.

If your target audience is feminine and super ‘girly,’ you might want to consider traditionally ‘feminine’ colors like pink and purple.

But there’s actually a surprising amount of research about color psychology.

Conversioner made an awesome graphic to show some basics of what certain colors ‘mean,’ and the types of emotions they can trigger in people when used in branding:

psychology of colors

Write down the codes of your colors so that you have them handy for when you’re building your site. You can get this from the color picker in Canva or Photoshop, or ask your graphic designer.

For example, Amanda’s purple color is #6600cc.

Tell your brand’s story

What do leading ecommerce brands like ASOS, Forever 21, and Warby Parker have in common?

A great story behind their brand.

Telling your company’s story is a crucial aspect of brand building. It helps to shape how consumers look at you and allows people to start forging a connection with you and your brand. Get the story right, and you’ll lay a foundation that will enable you to set up a solid brand with an equally solid future.

Amanda Asks

“Are there any rules of thumb for writing a brand story?”

My answer: the key to a great story is to focus on how people might feel using your product.

Talk about what’s different about your audience or highlight how their lives have evolved along with their preferences.

Use a narrative to tie a positive experience to your products and company, so that people associate your brand with feelings like happiness, fun, relief, and relaxation.

Consequently, you can adopt metaphor and language that are commonly associated with those positive feelings.  

Here’s an example:

writing a brand story

Does it sound quirky?

Yes. But ThinkGeek’s brand story appeals to those who follow the geek culture or are into science fiction. The company also ties in a positive experience to its offerings by saying its products will stimulate its customers’ imaginations and fuel their geek core.

This brand story works for ThinkGeek not only because it helps potential customers imagine being better off with its products, but because it speaks its customer’s language: with the Force, geek out, and other phrases you see on their About Us page is common geek terminology.

Amanda came up with the following story for Evooli:

              dropshipping brand story

A brand story is an experience behind what you sell. And since people buy experiences, it is a great way to gain a competitive advantage and be more than just a stock mover.

[highlight]Coming up with a good narrative for your brand story is only half the battle: once you’re at it, you have to speak your customer’s language too. In fact, you should be doing this in most (if not all) of your communications. I’ll talk more about this aspect of ecommerce branding on Day 8.[/highlight]

Once you’re done writing your brand story, create an ‘About Us’ page in Shopify and add it there.

You’ll need to add a new page to your store. It’s easy:

  1. In the left sidebar of your Shopify dashboard, go to ‘Sales Channels’ ➜ ‘Online Store’ ➜ ‘Pages’
  2. On the top right, click ‘Add page’

You’ll do this for every new page you make – including the policies pages you’ll make on Day 9.

Add the title ‘About’ or ‘About Us,’ paste your story into the text editor, and click ‘Save.’

about us page branding

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Day 7 Recap

Today, you:

✓ Created a logo for your store or had someone else help you with it
✓ Picked a font & color scheme that will help to represent your top brand qualities
✓ Wrote a compelling brand story that captures what you’re all about
✓ Created an ‘About Us’ page to tell that story to your visitors

Creating a brand can feel overwhelming – so great job! We’ll do a bit more branding work tomorrow to shape up the final pieces. See you then.

next: Chapter 9

Day 8: Keep on branding

Yesterday, you laid the foundation of your ecommerce brand by creating a logo and telling your company’s story. Today...