“Wherever you go, there are three icons that everyone knows: Jesus Christ, Pele and Coca-Cola.”
How did Coca-Cola reach such a status to be compared to Jesus Christ, a religious figure? (Or Pele, for that matter.)
But most would agree it’s more than that. It’s the brand. It’s what Coca-Cola represents.
At its core, a BRAND reflects how the consumer feels when they discover, use or think about your product. This includes names, logos and packaging. Brands represent promises, perceptions and expectations.
According to eCommerceFuel’s 2017 State of the Merchant Report:
*”Companies that sell their own products (labeled below as “Private Label” or “Manufacturing”) are growing about 50% faster than those that don’t.”*
While sellers all approach their businesses differently — deciding what to sell, sourcing suppliers, manufacturing and product launches, — many get stuck when it comes to private labeling and creating a brand.
Yet, as we can see, clear branding is becoming more important in order to succeed at selling on Amazon in today’s tough market.
In this article, we have created a basic guide to branding your company and products as a private label seller.
Creating and Designing a Brand
Your brand defines who you are, and what you do.
As Seth Godin defines it:
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer […] doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
What is special about your product?
Why would anyone choose it over something else?
Why would anyone choose Coca Cola over Pepsi?
Or Nike over Reebok?
It’s all in the brand.
In summary, branding helps you to:
- Improve recognition and apply a ‘face’ to your business
- Foster credibility and trust
- Generate business and return-customers
And the first step towards this is research.
Research is not the most thrilling aspect of building a brand, but it’s where you set the foundation for success or failure.
Here are a few things your brand research should define:
Who are you selling to?
What are their problems?
Let’s say you’re selling omega 3 fish oil. You would present your product in one way if you target older women with arthritis and another if you target young men focused on bodybuilding. Same product, different audiences, different points of view.
- Competitor Landscape:
Look at what your competitors are doing.
But don’t copy.
Steal what’s working if it makes sense, but be unique. Map out their strengths and weaknesses in a SWOT-analysis and spot the opportunities for your brand.
- Value Proposition:
Define what makes your brand stand out.
What’s so different about your product?
How does it solve your target audience’s problem? Make it the use and benefit of the product clear and concise — don’t get too witty.
Check out this guide by ConversionXL on the dos and don’ts of a value proposition.
Deciding On a Brand Name
Once your research puts the foundation in place, the fun part starts.
First, think of a name. This can either be a fun process — or an incredibly frustrating one.
How do you start choosing a name for your brand?
Look back at your foundation: Your audience and product.
What benefit do you want to promote?
What message do you want to convey?
Whether you’re selling omega 3 under the brand ‘ARSNL’ or ‘Women’s Health’ will affect who buys your product. You can go broad, or niche down to target a very specific demographic.
Here’s a quick process you can follow to choose a brand name:
- Brainstorm a list of keywords.
Ensure that they resonate with your brand. See what strikes a cord. Pay attention to the emotional responses they provoke.
- Check for free domain names.
You don’t want a brand with a convoluted URL.
- Narrow it down.
Get feedback on your keywords from friends and colleagues.
- Test them out.
Set up 3 identical landing pages at Unbounce with your top 3 brand names. Drive traffic to them via ads, and cap your spending at $50-100. Then see which brand name converts and resonates best with your audience.
Designing a Logo
Without even reading the name you recognize that brand. It serves as a powerful illustration of the impact a logo can have.
Now you get to be really creative. As with the name of your brand, you have to start at the beginning when choosing the image that will represent your brand.
What are you selling and who’s your audience?
What will they think when they see your logo?
What emotions do you want to convey?
Here are a few things you should pay attention to when designing your logo:
- Typography — should you use Comic Sans (no), Proxima Nova or go bespoke?
- Shape psychology — circular shapes tend to project a positive and more feminine message, straight edges suggest more practical, professional stability, and triangles tend to be associated with science, power, and masculinity.
- Color psychology — colors like blue and grey may appear uninviting, while red might seem aggressive. Pay close mind to how you want to convey your brand.
With that said, you don’t have to spend a fortune for a good one. But don’t skimp out too much as this will be the actual face of your brand.
Creating Branded Product Labels
Once you’ve got your brand name and logo down, then you have put it on paper. The product label is super important. It’s what makes your brand stand out from others on the shelf.
And your label should describe your product clearly and completely.
You’ll have to experiment and find what works best for you, but here are some guidelines when creating branded product label:
1. Use color, texture and type to your advantage.
Design your labels in CMYK, and ensure that the typeface and font size is legible — even from a distance. Don’t let your text blend into the background or hurt the eyes of the reader.
2. Clearly emphasize the key benefits of the product on the label.
3. Play with psychological interpretation of the label.
Silver might exude sophistication or a high-tech vibe; brown paper can convey an earthy, sustainable, and local feel; red might communicate passion, power or aggression.
4. Design the label with the container in mind.
Make sure that it fits the container, and decide on how much of the product you want to show.
Is it a transparent container?
Is the content pleasing to the eye?
Or should you cover it up?
5. Take a screenshot of the Amazon feed.
Paste your product into the screenshot. Does it stand out among the competition? Or is the label merely one of many?
If it’s not distinctive, you might want to go back to the drawing-board.
6. Get feedback.
You can use the same process as for testing brand names. Set up a quick landing page strictly dedicated to your product via Unbounce or Leadpages.
Use the same copy but try out different label designs. Drive traffic to the site via ads, again capped at $50-100, and see which label converts best.
Protecting Your Product With Packaging Systems
Packaging is another way to stand out and prevent others from copying your product. Unique and quality packaging can dramatically boost the unique feel of your product.
(And it can even conversions so make sure you display your packaging on your listing.)
Make sure your packaging is:
Custom packaging is key to elevating a good product in a competitive market.
Here are some things you can keep in mind and play with when developing your packaging:
- Choose the right type of packaging.
Do supplements always need to come in a bottle?
Or does coffee always need to come in a bag?
Think outside of the box — quite literally — and try to find the most appealing packaging for your product.
- What is the competition doing? Can you improve upon their packaging? Check their negative reviews for anything package-related and do it better.
- Pay attention to your information architecture.
What do you want your customer to see and feel once they look at your packaging?
Pick one key thing you want to inform your customers about and make that the centerpiece of your packaging.
Once you have a packaging idea and concept ready to go.
Ask these questions to vett your idea:
- Is it clear what the product is?
- Is the packaging an accurate representation of your product?
- What will this package look like in an Amazon listing? What will it look like compared to the competition? Does it stand out? Again, try the screenshot method and see if your product is distinguishable from the rest.
Photography and Images
When it’s time to photograph your product, make sure you show all the hard work you’ve put into your branding.
Make sure to look at Amazon’s product photography requirements to avoid headaches.
For more information about product photography, check out this post. The key is to ensure that you properly and accurately convey all the unique aspects of your brand in the photos.
And preferably ‘action shots’ too, showing your product being used in a context. Because what’s more appealing — an empty french press, or a french press pouring a steaming hot cup of coffee on a scrumptiously decorated breakfast table?
Branding is a Continual Process
There you have it.
Branding is an art and a science.
It comes down to creativity and quantification — come up with ideas and test if they work.
Branding is also a rabbit-hole. This is only scratching the surface.
Do you have any tips for improving branding?
What are your experiences? Let us know in the comments!