In a world with endless possibilities and fierce competition, it can be difficult to identify the best use of your time as an entrepreneur, especially when your business is just starting out. Our suggestion on where to begin? Go back to basics: focus on branding. Think of your brand as the foundation on which your entire business stands. It’s so much more than a particular color scheme or font (although those are part of it too!).
At its core, a brand is the experience people have when they use your product or the feeling they get when they wear your clothing line. Your brand has the powerful potential to provide a sense of belonging. Once you’ve cracked that code and made that connection with your target audience, they will become loyal customers, and loyal customers are the key to driving your business to success. It all boils down to this: people buy brands, not products. That means having a well-formed, intentional brand is absolutely essential.
What is a brand?
Your brand is the sum of all decisions made pertaining to how your business is consistently portrayed to the public. At its most literal, a brand can be defined by visual key factors, such as the fonts, color palettes, or the logo you choose; however, a brand that will truly sell your company is also defined by many far more complex elements. The vision you have for how people will feel experiencing what you sell, your values as a company, and your company’s personality are all part of what is necessary to create a lasting and meaningful brand that accomplishes the key goal: personal connection. You control the narrative of your business and how you want to be seen and valued by your target audience.
For more detailed information on how to form a strategic and thoughtful brand step by step, download Hazil Studios’ free Branding Guide here!
Lead with Values
Authenticity is the best way to resonate with your target audience, so when building your brand, remember first to look inward. What are your personal values? What values do you think it’s important for your company to portray? Note that in honing your brand to represent these, your business might not be a top favorite for every single person - and that’s ok!
When your brand is authentic and honest, people will recognize that and trust you. It is better to market to your niche target audience than try to please everyone with half baked promises and insincere statements. Focus on who you want to sell to, make a commitment to your values, and deliver on those commitments. A client of ours who has done this extremely well is Narzbaby.
Having been recently featured in both Glamour and Vogue, Narzbaby is a chic family-owned and operated baby boutique based out of New York. Narzbaby takes great pride in providing parents, from one family to another, with products that represent quality, functionality, and affordability. Their brand gives customers the feeling of family, knowing that they are getting quality, beautiful products at a reasonable price.
Leading with your values drives the spirit behind your brand and is the key factor in changing the story from people simply buying a product to people buying an experience.
A Loyal Customer is your Best Investment
When people resonate with your company’s brand, the consumer mindset changes to investing in a version of themselves they want to become and, most importantly, believe they can become with your product. Gaining that level of trust with your target audience is a huge step forward to building loyal customer relationships.
A great way to entice customers invested in your brand into becoming lifelong customers is by offering a rewards program or referral offers. We love Growave because of its easy and intuitive way to build a custom loyalty program. Offer your customers points for making repeat purchases, sharing their birthday, or following your social media pages. Giving back to your most loyal crew will make them feel seen and appreciated by your business. That’s a win-win situation all around!
If you’re looking for an additional way to cement your customer base, try a membership program! Appstle on Shopify today is a great place to start - it’s the perfect app to help you organize, enhance, and control your membership program.
Once you have a solid base of loyal customers, always keep an eye on their feedback. Use them as a sounding board to keep your values and mission on target. People will tell you what they want and need, and your business should be flexible enough to keep up with it. If your loyal customers are happy, that likely means you are being authentic and transparent with your brand.
Importance of Investing in a Brand
Think of your brand as a living component of your business that needs to be nurtured. A brand does not have to be set in stone, and, in fact, it shouldn’t be! As your business grows and changes, you can revisit, reassess, and revise your brand anytime you want. Growth is a hallmark of success in eCommerce, and not just the type of growth that involves numbers and dollar signs. As you learn what your base customers want and care about, be willing to incorporate feedback into your business. Leading with values doesn’t mean you have to be rigid in those values. You can deliver on your promises and be your most authentic self while learning and making adjustments along the way.
People want to be the best versions of themselves, whatever that means to them. Investing in your brand gives you the opportunity to connect with your target audience on a deeper level, ensuring that they are not only purchasing products when they come to you, but they are investing in who they want to be. Put simply, investing in your brand is the smartest business decision you can make for your company long-term.