Many businesses live or die based on their branding. Consistent messaging creates a satisfying sense of continuity for consumers in the same way that conflicting messages create uncertainty and lack of customer loyalty. Ensuring that all of your brand messaging remains consistent and in-line with your target market’s interest is no easy task. And getting noticed is equally difficult, online and in a crowded market, due to the plethora of competition shouting similar messages.
I spoke to Frank Horowitz, CEO of , an e-commerce business selling athleisure clothing for women, about his success and the challenges of branding a business online. And the challenges are plenty, from creating consistent and compelling messaging to ensuring your target market hears those messages loud and clear. Amidst these challenges that every retailer faces, LA Society has significantly increased their customer base month over month and is planning on opening a few retail stores in the next six months. Horowitz shared his top three tips on branding an e-commerce business.
Take A Stand On Potentially Divisive Issues
Many startup entrepreneurs and CEOs alike are afraid of using their business to take a stand on divisive economic, political, or humanitarian issues for fear of driving away potential customers. After all, once your business is branded as edgy, experimental, or traditional, for instance, it’s difficult (impossible, sometimes) to undo that image in the minds of consumers.
But intentionally identifying your brand with target-market-appropriate beliefs and opinions can be a powerful way to get their attention and their loyalty. “Your business has to believe in something. When it does – when it believes in the same things that its customers believe in, that brand becomes a force to be reckoned with, no matter how crowded the market,” says Horowitz.
LA Society does just that, by taking a strong position on potentially divisive issues such as humanitarianism, celebration of all body types, and commitment to environmental sustainability.
Create A Community For Your Customers
Most people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be involved in a tribe – a group of people with similar beliefs who are dedicated to the same mission. When people are part of a community which is meaningful to them, they will do almost anything to remain within that tribe. They will pay money, spread the word, and even invite their friends to join.
These psychological tendencies can be extraordinarily powerful when branding your business in a crowded market. By creating a place for your customers to rave over recent product releases, share their opinions about your business, and engage with your brand’s identity, you gain traction through word-of-mouth, intelligence on what your target market thinks, and near-unwavering loyalty to your business.
This community of customers can be on your social media platforms, through meetup groups, on forums, anywhere they can assemble and communicate. LA Society, for instance, built its community primarily on , with approximately 24,000 followers, allowing its loyal customers and curious prospects alike to stay updated on new product releases, discounts, and promotions.
“Our Instagram account is a place where people can connect with each other because of their common interest: our brand. It’s great for branding and getting updates to our customers, but it also creates a sense of community and closeness for our most loyal supporters. And nothing helps a business stand out in a crowded market quite like a consistently loyal tribe of customers spreading the word to their friends,” adds Horowitz.
Gather PR Attention For Your Business
Branding is all about perception – how does your target market perceive your business? Is their perception of your brand and products in-line with their own beliefs? Does your brand’s messaging resonate with the consumers own identity in such a way that they feel a deep connection to your business and its mission in the world?
If your brand sends the wrong messages, or it doesn’t send the right messages loudly enough – that is, your target market isn’t even hearing you, causing your business to struggle to gain its footing. And perhaps there’s no better way to alter consumer perception and increase brand visibility than through a consistent dedication to public relations: getting the right messages heard by the right people.
“You can have the best products on the market, and even the best mission in the world, but if no one knows that your business exists, it doesn’t stand a chance at competing in a crowded market,” says Horowitz.
That perfectly illustrates the intent of branding your business: to send the right message to the right people at the right time. Doing that day-in and day-out is easier said than done, of course. And for an e-commerce business with an overabundance of competition, it’s even more difficult. But by taking a stand on some potentially divisive issues, creating a community for your customers, and gathering PR attention for your brand, you can stand out in a crowded market.