Congrats on keeping up with the great work! You’ve reached one of the most creative stages of launching a print-on-demand ecommerce: building the visual representation of your brand.
Branding is the essence of your store. It’s a strategy that sets a business apart from its competitors, making it easier to identify and quickly understand what your brand is and isn’t.
Right now, you know who you’re selling your products to and what’s appealing to your niche. So, take all your buyer persona’s insights, and let’s get started to outline your store’s branding 🔥
Think about the giants of apparel, what do they all have in common? Yes, a catchy name! But coming up with the winning name isn’t easy. Even some of today’s biggest companies started with a different name, like Nike, which once was Blue Ribbon Sports.
Online users are constantly exposed to many brands, so you want to make sure yours is understandable, short, and easy to remember.
Have a brainstorm session and write down all that comes to your mind when thinking about your ecommerce: From funny words to concepts you want to associate your brand to or explain what it stands for. Then, debug your list and keep 3 to 5 alternatives you can later choose from.
💡 Fuel Tip: Get inspired with Shopify’s business name generator. Enter different words and see what pops up!
It’s interesting how one word can enclose lots of meanings. What can mean one thing for a person can have a deeper meaning to another, or be rude to a third one. Remember to Google up all your name suggestions and pick the one that works best for you but resonates with your audience too.
Like Fuel, that is inspired by the energy used to make something work. It’s a company that helps sellers become power sellers by fueling their print-on-demand needs. This way, “Fuel” resonates with Shopify sellers as it evokes the purpose of the company.
First of all, check on trademark availability! If you’re a seller in the United States, look up your business on the US Patent and Trademark Office, and if it isn’t registered yet, secure it.
URLs and social media usernames are just as important as trademarks these days. So, once you’ve decided and secured the one you’re using, make sure no one has claimed it online already. Play around with different domain suffixes like .com, .shop, or .store!
For social media accounts, you can try to use keywords by which your store is found. For example, Fuel’s Instagram username is @getfuelpod, so when someone is looking for a POD (print-on-demand) supplier, Fuel’s profile shows up.
Let’s wrap it up with an example: A woman wants to start an urban apparel business, her customers live close to the ocean, and she wants her brand to be portrayed as fun and careless. She decides to find a name that includes all of the above.
She takes a list of possible words and combines them to create different name alternatives. Her final, and winning option is something similar to this:
Once you’ve decided on your trademark, the next step to create a brand identity is to outline the guidelines you and your team should follow to keep consistency across all channels.
Think about the emotions you want to associate your business with, like “fashionable,” “bold,” or “comfortable,” and keep them in mind during the entire process. Build a document in which you include the following elements:
Same as your name, your logo must be memorable. It's the first contact your customers will have with your brand, as this signature element is placed on your website, social media, and even products! Learn how to create a powerful logo that sells here.
2. Tone of voice
Your tone defines the communication style you use to engage with your audience. It includes your choice of words and the emotions you use to share a message. Depending on your niche and brand personality, decide how you want to be perceived (funny, sarcastic, kind, etc.) and establish the parameters of your tone.
It’s a fact that fonts impact our thoughts and feelings about brands, and the typography you choose helps you send the right message to your audience.
There are different family fonts, and each one reflects specific characteristics, like elegance, authority, modernity, or playfulness. You might want to take a moment to compare how these look according to your tone of voice.
4. Color palette
Set a color palette that will help your customers identify your brand just by looking at them. Try to keep it simple, use two main colors and play around with two or three secondary colors to accent your marketing materials.
5. Graphic support
Graphic design accents also provide visual support and help you differentiate from the other players, especially in social media. These include lines, illustrations, strokes, icons, and all the support elements you may need when creating branded content.
This is a space to establish how all the above elements can and cannot be used. These are sacred rules your design and marketing team should keep handy when creating content materials.
Here’s an example of how the brand guidelines for Octo Cool Clothing would look like:
Remember that these are the standard elements of what a brand guideline file should include. Feel free to add other important aspects you consider are necessary to consolidate your brand personality successfully.
Quick check-up: You have a secured brand name, and you’ve defined your guidelines. What’s next? Put them in action!
As mentioned before, branding is the core element of all companies. The look and feel is what your customers perceive of your business within the first 3 to 5 seconds of being in touch with it. For that, you want to make sure that every branded content in all your channels is harmonically cohesive.
Your store is the most important channel of your online presence. It is the final stage of all your selling efforts and where the magic happens. You want to create trust with your customers by displaying your logo and including your brand name and colors to replicate the exact look and feel of other communication channels and marketing assets.
Think ahead and anticipate your shoppers’ needs: Showcase your products in a way that they find what they’re looking for with just a few clicks, and don’t be afraid to add pop-up messages with promotions you want to share.
Customer support is also an element of branding, so make sure they reach out to you easily by linking to your social media profiles or including a chat option.
An online shop without social media? Impossible! Instagram and Facebook have become essential to all print-on-demand entrepreneurs. They help you reach broader audiences, and most of the time, this is the first contact your customers will have with your brand, so write an SEO-optimized bio, add a profile picture with your logo, and a link to your store.
Keep a similar style on images (which you’ve already stated on your branding guidelines), and most importantly, share valuable content! Users tend to engage more with brands that aren’t constantly selling. Take your time and test different materials to determine which works better for your niche.
We’re confident you’ll have no problem with creating a brand identity for your print-on-demand store. Think about the elements that will make your future customers choose you over your competitors. Pay attention to detail, and try to create an experience around your business.
If you’re ready, go to our next blog to start designing your artwork!