24 Dec Developing a Brand Identity for Your Ecommerce Business
When you first start a business, one of the most important things you have to consider is – what is your brand.
What does your business stand for and how is that presented to others?
It is something that has to go through your business from the top to the bottom. This is your company’s persona and it is both informed by your audience and informs your audience of who you are. It starts with the name and can go all the way down to the fonts you choose to utilize in your marketing. A brand is the most visible way to tell consumers who you are and what your business is about, while also establishing recognition. Without a brand identity, it is hard for consumers to connect with your product and recognize it in the wild.
There are 5 core things to think about when working on your brand and they are your Name, Tagline, Logo, Colors, and Fonts.
You might have a name for your business already or you might be starting a new business and need one, but either way, it’s important to look at your name and really think about whether or not it’s effective. Your name should stand out in a crowd. You don’t want a generic name that will be forgotten within a few seconds. You want it to stand out in their mind. Google is a weird name, but you remember it. You want a name that reflects some aspect of what you do. Amazon reflects the idea that it has a large variety of products, like the Amazon rainforest. Sprint reflects the speed of their network. The main thing to do though is make sure people can remember it and spell it. If you need to spell it out everytime you mention it, it’s not a great name. If it’s just some random assortment of letters or some obscure name, it’s going to get forgotten.
There are plenty of ways to name your ecommerce business. It can be as simple as using your name. Sometimes, it can get more complex and you have to make up your own word or portmanteau. You need to figure out if your name fits with what you’re trying to get across. A generic name doesn’t tell anything, in itself, but if you have an exotic name, it can give your company an exotic flair. Maybe you’re lucky and you have some last name that sounds extremely high class, and you happen to sell clocks, those two go together well.
When it comes to making up a word, remember that it has to be memorable. Portmanteaus are a great way to achieve this by combining two concepts and bringing them together, by using two separate words and putting them together. Microsoft, Microcomputer and Software, is one of the most recognizable names in the world. It’s also almost impossible to misspell. You don’t want to create confusion when you make up a word. It needs to be clear and concise.
If worse comes to worse, you might have to just make up a catchy name. Google, a misspelling of Googol, is a great example of this. It’s catchy and rolls off the tongue. It’s only two syllables and is easy to remember for it. This name works because it’s easy to remember. It may sound like nonsense but it sticks around. That’s the thing you want to try and emulate when you are making up a word for the name of your business.
If you’re having difficulties coming up with a name, don’t fret. The name of your business is the thing that sticks around forever. You can change logos, colors, everything, but changing your name loses all recognition you had. Take your time with it and be happy and secure before you finally choose it.
A tagline is the closest you get to communicate verbally with your clients about what your company’s identity is. It’s a quick few words that you want to stick with clients when they walk away. It’s short, only a few words and it has to be catchy. The tagline is not your elevator pitch. It is not your mission statement. Those things are direct and are supposed to tell potential clients or investors what your business is about. Your tagline is just a simple phrase to remember your business by, that can be cute and clever.
This can take a while to mull around but the thing to focus on is that it needs to in someway reveal a core tenant of your company. Nike’s “Just Do It” emphasizes the idea that there are no excuses for success and to get out there. Apple’s “Think Different” emphasizes that their product isn’t the mainstream and is different from the suit and tie of other computer companies.
Your tagline is your company’s motto. It’s the thing that defines your company’s culture, attitude, and how it does business. It’s not just a phrase you paste on there. It gives your clients some insight into what you’re business is about. You want to make sure your tagline reflects how you do business, that way your clients know a bit about you before doing business with you.
Your Logo is the face of your company, so do you want your company looking like the Elephantman? This can be one of the hardest parts of putting together your business’s brand. It is the part that everyone will see when they first see your business. It needs to be unique, it needs to reflect your business, and it needs to be memorable. It’s a lot of things to think about and can be very difficult to put together. The best thing to do is to hire a professional for help with this step. You might already have a logo but it doesn’t hurt to see what a professional has to say.
If you’re looking for a cheap logo, you can go over to Fiverr.com, specifically the Logo Design section. The problem with these is they can be spotty. Some can just use a template and then apply it to your company name. There’s little feedback and what you pay for is what you get. If you are looking for a professionally designed logo, that can cost you, on average, between $250 to $500.
If you decide you want to do it yourself, you want it to be something that you can copy and scale up and down. You need to be able to adjust its size and put it on anything: A website, a Twitter banner, an advertisement, anywhere. Your logo is the face of your brand and it needs to stay the same.
You can not just throw a rainbow on your website and call it a day. Colors can reflect tones and ideas in subtle ways, while also being the clearest, most direct, way that people will recognize your brand. You need consistency so people can identify your work. Your colors need to reflect what your brand is about. When choosing colors, it’s important that they go together in some ways. The first thing you have to do is choose a primary color that reflects your business’ core values.
Here’s typically what they mean:
- Black: Modern, Sophisticated, High Class
- Blue: Calm, Serene, Trustworthy
- Red: Exciting, Vivid, Bold
- Yellow: Successful, Optimistic, Radiant
- Orange: Energetic, Friendly, Warmth
- Purple: Original, Artistic, Regal
- Green: Natural, Growth, Restoration
- Gray: Sleek, Technologic, Long-Lasting
- Brown: Old Fashioned, Grounded, Rustic
Once you choose a primary color, you need to choose if you want to choose two, or at most three, colors to compliment or contrast those colors. If you are choosing to compliment those colors, you are going for a more relaxed vibe. If you choose something that is contrasting, it will seem more energetic and eye catching. You want to make sure that they work together in some way though.
While picking colors can be hard, especially colors that go together, there are tools that can help you choose. The one we frequently use is a website called Palleton. With this tool, you can choose complementary or contrasting colors based on a single color, and even more helpful is it gives you the hexcode for the colors you’re using. The hexcode is a series of numbers and letters ranging from 0-9 and A-F that allow you to give the exact shade of color. It’s important to write these colors down once you find them because, while you may think “I want purple and yellow for my business” is specific, in terms of colors, it’s actually incredibly vague. there’s thousands of shades of each color and the hexcode allows you to pinpoint exactly what color you want.
While the words you choose are important, what your words look like is also important. There’s a big difference between this and this. The two main types of fonts are Serif and Sans-Serif. A serif font is a font that adds a small line to the end of a letter, while a Sans-Serif font does not have this. They both have their uses but typically a Serif font is seen as more formal, while a Sans-Serif font can be seen as more modern. There are, of course, exceptions, but you can typically look at a font and see the personality that is behind it.
At most, you should use 3 fonts, and they should each have their own primary uses. There is a main font, a complementary font, and an accent font. A main font should be the most readable text because it is the font that people will read the most. It is what you will use for most of your writing. A complementary is typically what you will use for headers and titles of articles or for product names. It should compliment your main font, but you can use a little more flair because it should be reserved for maybe a few words, and is typically bold. The final type of font to choose is an accent font. An accent font is rare but is used for possibly a subheading, an emphasized bit of text, or quotations. These are a bit rarer, but should be closer to your complementary font than your main font. These are typically italicized.
If you’re having trouble deciding on any of these elements, the best way to get out of that rut is to put together a document with the types of brands that you like, that fit with your business. Putting together their logos, their font choices, and colors into one easy to read document will let you see what you like. This is not a way to steal from them. It is a way to clarify what you like in a brand. Choose successful companies that are close to your own and share demographics. You don’t want to imitate them, you want to focus on what you like about those brands and integrate them into your own Brand Identity.
When choosing a Brand Identity, it might also help to think of what style reflects your business. There are general guidelines that you can follow to help define some parameters for your designs. For instance, let’s say you go for a retro style, like the Coca Cola logo. It has big cursive lettering. It uses only two colors that are bright. It’s values are all low key. Now, let’s just say, one day, it were to use a sans-serif font, it became black and white, like Apple’s modern aesthetic, it would look crazy. Google’s new look is a more minimalist style. It uses a simple font and simple icons to establish simple things. It increases how easy it is to use. Establishing a style for yourself can help you narrow down your design choices and draw from similar brands that use similar styles.
Brand visualization tools
The easiest way to visualize what your brand will look like is to put together a Branding Board. A Branding Board pulls together all the elements and let’s you see them put together, without having to invest a large amount of money on a website or promotional materials to see what it looks like together. It also acts as a guideline for your materials. It acts as a way of saying “These are the only approved things that can be used for my business.”
Typically, these have your Logo at the top, your tagline. It displays your fonts, fully – the whole alphabet, and it has your color palette that you have chosen.
Below is an example of a branding board, which outlines the brand identity for this company.
Start your business off with on the right foot and begin by developing your brand’s identity. Your brand is your personality and without a personality, who’s going to remember your business? You’ll be bland and drab and that’s no way to get repeat business or to attract new customers, even if the thing you are selling is better than all the rest. All the best companies in the world have strong identities. If you need any help with any of these areas, you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 267-519-7514.