What is Branding?

Branding is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products or services in the customer’s mind by combining such elements as logo, design, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications. Effective branding helps companies differentiate themselves from their competitors and build a loyal customer base.

Why is Branding important?

First and foremost, a unique brand can have a huge impact on your business by giving you a competitive advantage over your rivals and helping you acquire and retain customers at a much lower cost.

In eCommerce, where new businesses (and therefore, new competitors) are springing up every day, an established brand can be an invaluable asset in bringing customers back time after time and generating profit. Regardless of whether you’re investing time and effort into crafting a compelling brand or paying no attention to it whatsoever, your business still has a brand, however, it may be completely different to how you intended to be seen.

By carefully constructing your brand through stories, relationships, marketing messages and visual assets, you have the opportunity of shaping your customers’ expectations for your business and creating a unique bond that goes beyond the buying-selling relationship.  

Brands that manage to take a step further and establish a special, long-term emotional connection with their customers become lovemarks. Essentially, lovemarks draw on three key elements: mystery, sensuality, and intimacy. Mystery is infused by tapping into dreams and the powers of inspiration, building on the value of icons and myths, and exploring the ideas of past, present and future. Sensuality relies on the five senses to locate touchpoints with consumers, whereas intimacy is achieved through empathy, passion, and commitment. Transitioning from a strong brand to a lovemark can have a tremendous impact on your business, as you not only create customers for life, but they also become your greatest evangelists, promoting your products/services and driving continuous sales for you.  

Good branding is strategic, while marketing is tactical. When you establish the higher objectives and clearly define your brand promise, you can start crafting a marketing plan that’s geared towards achieving those goals.

The importance of Branding in eCommerce

Branding is a complex process that requires careful planning and calculated approach. Ideally, you should have your branding strategy worked out before you launch your online store to avoid working backwards to try and get your business aligned with customer expectations. A strong brand is easy to relate to and draws on values that resonate well with the target audience. For an eCommerce shop, a strong brand can also be the safety net protecting a business from having to compete on price.

So how do you go about building a brand for an online shop? Here are the key steps in eCommerce branding:

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Justas Markus: CEO & Co-Founder of GetFound XL and a blogger at Entrepreneur.com, Observer.com, Influencive.com and others. Catch up with Justas on Twitter.