Thursday , 19 October 2017
Most markets these days are saturated. You need to stand out in the crowd. You can start this process with your brand. Remember, you reflect your brand & others perceive it. You want your brand perceived in a way that is rememberable & professional.

Creative Business Branding 101 – How to Set Yourself Apart

 

Circles - ORIGINAL mixed media painting

Circles - ORIGINAL mixed media painting| by: Cherylconnell

Branding is one of those subjects that can be very confusing for small business owners just starting out. Referring to business, when you here the term “branding” what comes to mind?

  • A logo
  • A style, look, or feel
  • An ideal

Yes! All of those things have to do with branding, & as a business you need to brand yourself!
But how? Well let’s start with the basics. Keep these 3 things in mind.

What is a brand?

A brand tells who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

So if you sell handmade wooden kitchen utensils, your “brand” would need to reflect what your business is about {handmade, natural kitchen products}, what you sell {wooden utensils}, and how you sell {online, brick & mortar, wholesale, etc.}.

You reflect your brand, and people perceive your brand.

Why you need a brand.

  1. To set yourself apart. Most markets these days are saturated. You need to stand out in the crowd. You can start this process with your brand. Remember, you reflect your brand & others perceive it. You want your brand perceived in a way that is rememberable & professional.
  2. Effective Marketing. If your brand reflects a certain image, then when you market your products you don’t need to waste time explaining what your business is about, what you make, & how you sell. Your brand reflects it. In the above example, if a company that sells kitchen products is looking for wholesale accounts & they want an organic, natural selection to offer to their customers, they will immediately perceive that your business may be a potential account based on your brand which reflects natural & kitchen.

How to create your brand.

Remember how I said earlier that a brand tells who you are, what you do, & how you do it. This is the first step! You have to know what you want to reflect. If you don’t know what your business is about then others won’t know either.

Okay, creating your brand…

  1. Mission Statement. Why do you do what you do. Your goal for your business…besides to make a profit? This can go on your shop profile or in your shop announcement. Definitely on your “About Me” page if you have a website or blog. Keep it semi-short though. People don’t want to read a book! To do this, explain why you create the products you sell. Tell who your selling them to {your target market}. Example: My mission is to provide affordable handmade, natural kitchen utensils made from the finest materials available in order to provide my customers with beautiful, long-lasting, quality products for their homes.
  2. Describe your products. Explain key features & characteristics. Tell customers what sets you apart from your competition. Example: hardwood: maple, oak, walnut, ergonomically designed, smooth & sealed to last longer, lifetime guarantee.
  3. Describe your target market. Narrow your focus. I know you’re thinking, “If I narrow down who I’m selling to then I’ll loose customers.” Well, yes & no. You many have a narrower target market, but those are the people who are going to buy your product. All the other people that you’re marketing too aren’t buying your stuff anyhow because it’s not for them! Example: This businesses target market is to the person who likes to cook, values handmade, natural products, and shops online. Yeah, that cuts out the folks who cook cheaply. They aren’t going to spend money on a handmade product. It cuts out the people who like stainless steel everything in their kitchens. These are wood, but these people weren’t buying from this business in the first place so getting rid of them isn’t a loss. It’s a gain. It saves the business time & effort in marketing.
  4. Business or Product Name. Get creative here. Go back to your mission statement & pick out keywords from it. Then name your business or products after those elements. Example: Keywords: handmade, natural, quality. Business name: The Handmade Kitchen.
  5. Tagline. Taglines need to reinforce your mission statement. They’re obviously shorter, but they need to convey the same message. Example: Affordable, handmade, quality utensils that add beauty to any kitchen.

How to use your brand.

# Get some good quality, professional looking graphics for your shop. Here’s the deal. If you want to be perceived as selling good quality products that people are going to buy, you need to look professional. No more grainy, stretched graphics that look slapped together. You can find TONS of shops on Etsy that will make logos & shop graphics that will reflect your brand for cheap. See this article on

shop avatars & banners

. Don’t forget to get the color codes used in your graphics. If you ever need more graphics you’ll want your colors to match up.

  • Always use your shop name & tagline together. Remember your tagline is like a condensed mission statement…it’s part of your brand. DON’T LEAVE IT OUT! Use these two things in every way you market. Shop, website, email signatures, advertisements, business cards, etc.
  • Market & Promote it. Your brand that is. I’m not talking about your business or your products. I’m talking about your brand. If you market your brand at the same time you market your products, then they become synonymous. Anytime you add a new line of products to your shop, people will perceive them the same way they perceive your other products because your business is branded. It saves you from having to build up each product line!

Tell me what you’ve done to brand your business.

Nothing yet, well, get to it then come back here & tell me what you did!

  

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43 comments

  1. awesome write up…totally makes sense ..and something I have been looking at more recently… I just struggle with target market … that’s the one area Im so stuck on

  2. Check out this article by April Bowles-Olin of Blacksburg Belle…it’s about how to identify your ideal customer…aka. target market!

    http://bit.ly/fDSOM1

    Hope this helps you! Go get it!

  3. I just had a logo, banner & avatar designed by a fellow Etsyian — bymasselyn. Very affordable and well worth it. (The avatar should show up here if I did everything right at Gravatar yesterday!) I’m also splurging and having some professional pictures taken of just a handful of my bags for promotional purposes. As soon as I they’re ready, I’m getting some MOO cards with the new logo and pictures. I absolutely hate my old cards now that I have the new design. Now if I can just get my courage up to work on getting my bags in some local shops, I’ll have accomplished the next goal on my list!

  4. Wow! Way to go girl! You are on the ball. Good luck with all your projects, and go ahead and schedule what you need to do to get your bags in some local shops into your planner now! Don’t wait!!!

  5. This is goooooood info.

    Thank you!

  6. Glad you enjoyed it Debra!

  7. Great info Meagan. Something more for me to take on board, inwardly digest, and action it. Eek!

    Thank you.
    Sue
    amazingbeads

  8. I recently changed shops to have my shop name reflect what I sell more accurately. I’m re photographing everything to have a similar look, and I’m going to have a new logo made up to show my brand better.

  9. Thanks Megan off to read…

  10. I have a wide variety of items, an eclectic mix. That confuses me as to my brand, because I carry many styles. Any thoughts on this?
    Thanks,
    Liz

    • Hey Liz! I took a look at your shop, and you can definitely come up with a brand for your business. You sell jewelry. It doesn’t matter that it’s eclectic…it’s all jewelry. Go through the steps…starting with your mission statement and move on from there. Your brand will revolve around your handmade, one of a kind, jewelry. You can have different product lines {metal cast jewelry and so forth} as long as it’s jewelry. Does this all make sense?

  11. Thanks Meagan! Very informative. You’ve provided some very clear specific ideas…

  12. Great advice. Thanks much.

  13. I’m so glad you all are learning so much!

  14. This is a great post! and am gleaning so much from the comments as well! Thanks!
    I’m afraid I tend to be “all over the place” with my things, but I finally came up with a tag line… “Bags, Tags, and Girlie Things” LOL that should about sum it up…sorta! Could you take a look at my shop and give any suggestions? Would love it!

    • my shop: http://www.sweetjeanette.etsy.com

      I noticed there’s no link in my name. sorry about that.

      • Hey Jeanette! I did check your shop out, & here are 3 things I think you should focus on.

        1) You need a shop banner. It looks professional & it should reflect your brand.

        2) Narrow your focus down. You don’t want your shop to look like a flea market. You want a specific category of products. You’re bags and clutches look very well made. If it were me, I’d brand my business around them. I’d focus on listing a lot of different options for customers to choose from.

        3) Work on photos. Everyone shop’s photos get better over time. Read as much as you can about how to take better pictures & practice, practice, practice. Here are some things to consider…backgrounds, lighting, & props.

        Hope this helps Jeanette! Good luck!

  15. Can you explain this part to me….”Market & Promote it. Your brand that is. I’m not talking about your business or your products. I’m talking about your brand.”?

    Does that mean every time I mention my business, Jewels by Trish, I should add more to it to keep the branding going.

    This is my Etsy shop if you need more info on me: http://www/jewelsbytrish.etsy.com

    Thanks! :)

    • I’m so sorry Trish! That’s actually a typo! It should read, “I’m not talking about your services or your products.” not business or your products. Again, I’m very sorry for the confusion.

      Here’s what I mean.

      Your shop’s niche is jewelry. There are a millions people who make and sell jewelry. You need to brand your shop. You want it to stand out among the crowd. What makes your jewelry different than most other shops. Do you use rare gemstones in all your pieces? Do you make every single piece by hand {not buying premade anything, I mean}? Do you only buy American made products? Whatever sets you apart and makes you different.

      I suggest following my steps above, coming up with a tagline to put on your banner, and then when you market or advertise your shop – talk about what it is that makes you distinct. Use your tagline. Then people will know and be familiar with your business so that when you launch a new product in your shop, they’ll automatically think it’s as great as the rest of your products without you having to do much promoting at all.

      Does that make sense?

  16. This is such great information- I have a background in marketing and PR but sometimes when it’s something close to you, an outside source really helps bring things into focus better. I’m giving some though to changing my tagline based on your comments- trying to find one that conveys the coziness of the product line (my items are all made from vintage sweaters) but I also want to play up the idea of surrounding oneself with pretty things just to brighten the day…..would love any thoughts!
    http://www.linaloos.com
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/linaloos

    One other thing I would suggest to others is to look into whether your area has a group or society promoting handmade items- I just applied to Handmade Boston for the networking potential and for the feedback from others in the same line of business.

    • Hey Jennifer! I totally get what you’re saying about it being more difficult to critique your own products since you see them so much!

      I took a look at your website & shop & my suggestion for a tagline would be something along the lines of “Brighten Your Day With Eco-Friendly Accessories From Vintage Sweaters”. Also, write up 3-4 drafts & have a few people take a look at your shop & pick which one fits your biz best!

      I’m also loving your keychains! I think you’ve got a great thing going with them. Keep up the good work & it will pay off.

  17. off to write my mission statement. thank you for your wise words.

  18. thanks for sharing these useful tips =] I’m trying them out on y etsy

    x

  19. Great post!

    I have worked really hard on this but I feel like the word “branding” throws me off. It is just so hard to see! Does that make sense? Its hard to do it when you can’t see it…lol

    Would you stop by my shop? Tell me what you think? http://www.etsy.com/shop/MegsCrochetJewels

    Thanks!!

    • WOW Meghan! Your jewelry is beautiful! It’s definitely something that you don’t see everyday so you have a great selling point there.

      I took a look at your shop, FB & Twitter profiles, & your blog & of course I’m just going by a quick review here, but you seem to be staying pretty consistent with your photos & banner, but not so much your blog & Twitter backgrounds. To me personally, it’s worth paying the money to hire a designer to design graphics that fit your brand to use everywhere. You can find some pretty good priced designers on Etsy if you look around. Pick 2-3 colors & 2 fonts that you’re consistent with across the board. You’ll look more focused & professional.

      One other thing I noticed was your tagline…you say your jewelry is for everyone. To me that doesn’t make me want to buy it if it’s for everyone. I want something unique, handmade, & special. It pays to narrow down your target market & get yourself into a niche!

      Good luck! Again, you have beautiful products!

  20. Great Advice! I changed the name of my store and logo recently and have seen a huge difference in my sales! Branding really works. Thanks for the article!

  21. I’m still reading through your article and, as always, learning more and more!

    One thing caught my eye as I was reading about branding. You (or someone) suggested getting the color codes when you order banners/avatars so you can match up colors later on down the road.

    Here’s a really simple tool that matches colors exactly every single time: ColorCop. It’s a small download that can tell you the exact color code just by pointing it over the color you want to match. http://www.colorcop.com

    I’ve used this hundreds of times and consider it one of the handiest gadgets I have on my computer!

  22. It seems that the article is incomplete? There are bullets that have nothing next to them & some of the sentences end in the middle. Looks like a useful article, but I would like to read it in its entirety.

  23. Branding is one of those aspects of business development people often forget. They are so involved with the product and service, they neglect to make it memorable and distinguishable to buyers. Having a tag, defining your target market and appealing to their needs is essential to stand out from your competitors and make people think of your business.

  24. Any mission statement ideas. Business is called Jewelryology. I made earrings?!?!?!

  25. Great advice I changed my logo it was all black and white …. now it has life. Please take a look at my store I will love to hear more ideas for my store !!!!

  26. I don’t know if this has been mentioned or not but when it comes to taking pictures a “light box” makes a BIG difference. I purchased 15yd of white cotton fabric and 2yd of black felt for a background. If you get different background colors to accent or hi-light you products it makes the photos much more attractive. Also you should be careful of how much background items you add with your product, too many will pull peoples eyes from your wares and clutter the final image. Just some advice i got off of a leather forum I’m on.

  27. I’m in my second year running my Etsy shop and branding has been one of the more difficult things for me to grasp. This article helps LOADS. Recently, I was very generously gifted a new shop banner (my old one was atrocious) and I traded for a logo design. I had the logo made into a custom stamp so that I can use it to make business cards and mark my (handmade) packaging.

    But I’m afraid that I am not presenting a very coherent picture. Most of my items are handmade accessories for men and women, with a focus on jewelry. But I also sell things related to my mission statement: Providing things that help people connect with the natural beauty that surrounds us. With that in mind, I also sell some natural curiosities and seeds from my organic garden.

    My tag line has been: “Rough treasures for Modern Maidens and Urban Warriors”, but I’ve been toying with changing it to “Bringing the Savage Garden to the Urban Jungle”. I made my shop name purposely vague (Two Horseshoe) so that I wasn’t tied to selling only one kind of item.

    My question is this… Is my brand too vague? By far, Jewelry is my best seller, but I definitely make the most profit on my curiosities. I make almost nothing from the seeds when my time is factored in, but I could streamline that process by quite a bit (and they have provided me with several sales and eyeballs when not much else was happening).

    Should my business name be more specific? Should I eliminate some of my product categories? What say you, oh guru of branding?

  28. I’m really struggling with a tagline because of the eclectic mix of what I do. I have a brick and mortar studio/boutique/gallery where I paint vintage furniture with new, colorful, artistic finishes. Pretty much everything in my shop has been painted…picture frames, metal art, canvas art, furniture, brass lamps, etc. I “rescue” most of these things from thrift stores, estate sales, and garage sales. The other things are all hand-made. I teach classes on how to refresh furniture using a specific line of paints that I market. I also make jewelry…. any ideas on how I could incorporate all of these in a tagline would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

  29. Hi there! I realize this is long overdue, but I am considering changing the name of my shop. Here’s the thing: right now, I have candles and tarts. I plan on adding in sugar scrubs, dog toys, soap, body wash, etc. I’m not sure what I should do at this point, because dog toys are really out there from everything else I’m selling. I currently having my logo/avatar being made, so that will be up in about a day :). For now, what suggestions do you have?

    http://www.etsy.com/backwoodsbeautygifts

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