On Wednesday 20th March, I, along with other industry experts will be taking part in an online Q&A session where we’ll be talking about branding your own products. All the details are here: Live Forum Q&A - Starting your own Online Brand.
We’ll be online for an hour at 12 noon to offer advice and answer your questions about this exciting subject and so to give you a little insider knowledge before the big day I thought I’d explain a few of the benefits of branding your own products beforehand.
So, first of all, if you’re under the impression that branded products are only for big businesses, I have to say that you’re wrong! Branding your own goods can be a really effective sales strategy to maximise your profits and build a loyal fan base of repeat customers. Perhaps you’re already sourcing unbranded stock from China or even creating your own merchandise; if that’s the case, then now is the time to consider setting yourself up with some really good branding and take your product to the next level.
What is a Brand?
For those without much knowledge of branding, you may think that the brand of your company is just simply the logo but there is much more to it than that. Your brand epitomises who you are as an organisation. It contains your trading name, and yes, a logo, but more than that it’s a symbol of recognition within your market area. Your brand could encapsulate a slogan that sums up what you do or the products you provide. Your brand could actually sum up what you stand for.
Big businesses invest thousands upon thousands of pounds into creating and working on their own brand. That’s the reason why we head to the golden arches when we’re after a burger, or can automatically associate the phrase ‘Just Do It’ with Nike’s little tick.
But you don’t need to invest that kind of money to come up with a brand for your own products that could work powerfully in your favour. I’m going to divulge some tricks later to help you build a brand on a budget, but first let’s think about some of the benefits of bothering to brand your merchandise, along with your online stores.
The Benefits of a Good Brand
There are a multitude of benefits to branding your own product so let’s consider a few of them now.
- Pricing strategy. Have you ever heard the expression of paying more for a name? Manufacturers such as Apple and Sony charge significantly more for their products than lesser known rivals, even for products that feature much the same specification. Why? It’s because of the brand name. When you’re just starting out on the journey of branding you won’t find yourself able to charge the same as some well-established makes right at the outset, but even just having a product that features a brand at all is a reassurance in the eyes of a customer.
- Recognition. You may only be considering the sale of one branded product right now, but as you spread into other products and other areas within your niche market in the future you’ll find instant recognition when the goods are branded in the same way. What’s more, if customers are seeing your logo on their products, and on your store, and on your website they’ll start to recognise it all the more, and may soon find themselves becoming more loyal to your brand.
- Business Size. Just because you know that your online sales business is a one man show, doesn’t mean that your customers need to know that. A strong branding gives the illusion that your business is likely to be large and well established; a business that you’d feel comfortable buying from without any worries about you running off with a customer’s money or failing to resolve an issue quickly. Combining a brand name and logo with high quality product packaging will do wonders for convincing customers that you’re a reputable business that’s here to stay.
There are many more benefits to branding your business and your products, but hopefully that’s enough to whet your appetite and get you thinking about this strategy ready for the Q&A session on Wednesday!
How to Create Your Brand
There are three main elements that you’ll need to consider when first thinking of the branding for your business. Although the decision is important, as it can be a costly endeavour to rebrand a business once it starts to see success, you don’t need to spend a fortune putting together a reputable brand design.
- The first element that you’ll need is your brand name. This needs to be something really memorable, and should ideally encompass a market rather than just one product to allow you to expand in the future. “SuperSandal” might be fine if sandals are all you’re ever planning to sell, but if you ever want to branch into other types of footwear then you should consider something more generic. Choosing a name can be difficult, as you don’t want to start trading under a name that another organisation is already using. The best way to find out if your name is available is to consult a lawyer specialising in copyright law, however this can be expensive. A cheaper option is simply to take your potential names to Google and search for them within quotation marks. This should give a bit of an idea as to whether they’re in use.
- Once you have a brand name in place you’ll need to think about a recognisable logo. If you don’t have much design experience yourself I’d strongly recommend outsourcing this one to a designer. You can hire a freelancer online for a very reasonable price, and they will often provide you with several different designs to allow you to pick your favourite. Head to a website such as Elance.com to create a job listing for a graphic designer to put together your logo. These websites allow you to see the feedback of the freelancers on them, so you’ll know that you’re working with a reputable supplier.
- With your brand name and logo in place it’s time to think of a catchphrase that sums up your product line. This shouldn’t be long; it’s just a tagline that you can use alongside your logo and within your product listings online to strengthen your business and your brand. If you’re not sure where to start you could consider looking at the taglines of some other businesses for inspiration. Just make sure you don’t copy their existing catchphrases word for word!
Many exporters from China and over overseas manufacturers will be willing to add your brand to their unbranded products and by spending a bit of time getting this step right you will soon be selling really professional goods for a far higher price than the unbranded equivalent.
I’m looking forward to welcoming you to the Q&A session on Wednesday and who knows, your brand might be the next big thing!