With every new year, we’re motivated to work toward our goals unlike ever before. From that new business you’re excited to launch to bolstering your company’s online presence, we’ve got the tips and tricks to not only stay in the build–your–brand game, but how to reach new heights as you grow your business’s identity.

While this is no simple task, the more you lean in to leadership across creative and logistical endeavors, the more your brand will thrive, catching the attention of your audience.

Some questions to ask yourself:

-How do I want to stand out against my competitors?
-What unique aspects of my brand do I want to showcase?
-How do I want images and text to act? Sophisticated? Simple?
-How do I want my audience to feel?

Without answers to these questions, there’s no way to have a clear direction in building your brand or changing what’s been done before. Your answers to these questions are connectors between what you’re selling and who’s attention you’re trying to reach.

Wait–What’s a “brand,” exactly?

You might be thinking that a brand is just what you see from a logo or a company’s initial design.

But a brand is much more. A brand is your relationship to your customers. Not only when they’re interacting with you personally, but how they speak of you to other people. A brand is how you’re perceived, and that can change over time. With new innovations, staff, marketing plans, and audiences, your brand could leave others with positive or negative impressions. Your brand is your chance to explain who you are as quickly as possible.

Imagine your company as a person. How would they interact? What things would they be interested in? How would they communicate?

Every business has a reputation. Creating an effective, consistent brand through photographs, fonts, text, colors, shapes, and voices can allow your company to reach greater audiences with repeated customers. The keyword here? Consistency. Everything associated with your brand should be fairly consistent, otherwise customers could get confused. Consistency provides a trustworthy brand that believes in its identity and the story it’s trying to tell.

Our 7 ShippyPro steps to building a successful brand online:

  1. Who are you currently? Who do you want to become?
  2. Competitor & Audience Research
  3. Pick a look (colors & fonts included)
  4. Slogan time!
  5. Choose a logo that matches your company’s personality
  6. Don’t underestimate social media (& check that SEO!)
  7. Find a committed and trustworthy shipping partner

1. Who are you currently? Who do you want to become?

Before you begin revamping your brand, take stock of your company’s past, present, and future. Are you a new business? One that’s existed for 30+ years? Take note of your resources. Are you connecting with the greatest number of supporters as possible?

The answer is probably no, and that’s okay. It’s true that any business can find and utilize more resources in expanding their company’s outreach:

List right now:

-What is your company’s number one goal?
-What are the key values and principles your company stands by? 
-How do you want your customers to talk about you and interact with you? How do you want that to change over time?

Pro tip: Send out anonymous feedback surveys to your customers! They can tell you some surprising information about how you’re perceived and the areas you need to improve upon. What do they already love? What could be better?

2. Competitor & Audience Research

Before you can work on your logo and build your brand’s personality, you need to understand the current market in your same industry. What kinds of customers are you reaching as of now, and which ones do you want to reach ten years down the line?

To check out your competitors:

Do a Google search of your company’s category or product: what other competitors come up? What are the attitudes, missions, and logos of their companies? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors from an outside perspective?
See what your customers are recommending and talking about in the same type of business. What gaps can you fill here?
Check the relevant accounts your audience follows across all social media platforms.
Open your webpage on all devices (all size tablets). How would you find things as a customer? What is confusing or unclear? What stands out immediately? Can you understand your company after browsing your website for 30 seconds?
Check out the reviews on your competitors’ website or connected pages. What are customers satisfied with? What are they complaining about? What repeated patterns seem to appear?

*Note what types of customers are easy to sell to and which ones’ attention you are still striving to capture. Overall, think about how you can entice your target audience over similar brands. What do you have that these other similar brands may not? These answers will allow you to set your brand apart from others, not only strategically but also creatively, as you hone in on your unique look, feel, and voice.

3. Pick a look (colors & fonts included)

Time to figure out the tone of your brand! Use this brand statement template to start:

We offer [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [AUDIENCE] to [ACTION].
Unlike [NAME ALTERNATIVE], we [DIFFERENTIATOR].

Our ShippyPro example:

ShippyPro offers Shipping Management Software for businesses to perform more efficiently. Unlike other shipping companies, we drive innovation and sustainability in the shipping world, allowing our shoppers to live better and our planet to breathe easier.

Pro tip: The more you narrow in on your “differentiator” in your branding, the more unique you’ll stand out against your competitors.

Now on to voice. Like we mentioned earlier, imagine your brand as a person. How would they talk to customers, and what feeling would customers leave with? This is the type of tone you want to carry with you on your website and across all social media platforms.

Activity: Write down 7 adjectives you’d use to describe your brand or your company’s identity. Which words would go if you had to cross out 2? These five adjectives are how you are going to center your brand.

Pro tip: Don’t go overboard with too many colors and fonts. Implementing 2–3 of each is enough to make an impact without making your customers feel overwhelmed and confused. Try a primary color with a complementary color. This can work wonders. If your company or product is about being calm, go for a blue. If your company or product is about creating energy or firing up passion, try a red. Every color and font has a feeling. And make sure that font is readable across colored backgrounds! Sometimes black and white is the best way to go.

4. Slogan time!

Even with a company that is after an effortlessly cool and collected brand, no slogan should fall flat. Our advice? Dare to impress. A slogan and logo that define trustworthiness and ooze the essence of your company are exactly what you’re looking for.

Slogans can be used on your website, business cards, social media bios, and more. And no slogan has to stay the same forever. Most companies end up changing their slogan many times throughout the years of their business.

Ways to make a short and catchy slogan:

Stake your claim. “World’s Best Cup of Coffee”
Metaphor It Up. Gillette: “The Best a Man Can Get”
Adopt your customers’ attitude. Apple: “Think different” 
Leverage labels. Lay’s: “Betcha can’t eat just one”
Rhyme Time. Goldfish: “The snack that smiles back. Goldfish”
Sing It. State Farm: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there”
Describe It. Literally. BAM! Books–A–Million (this one is a mix between a slogan and a logo, but you get the gist)

5. Choose a logo that matches your company’s personality

First thing’s first: invest in an incredible, eye–catching, and well–designed logo. It’s worth it. This is one of the first things your audience and competitors will see, as well as a website that tells the story of your company. The best logos out there? Ones that are simple and easy to remember.

The number one thing to ask yourself when designing a logo: Can this logo stand on its own without the name of the company or the slogan? If not, try brainstorming some more memorable and easy–to–understand logos.

Types of logos: Abstract, lettermark, emblem, mascot, icon, wordmark, and combination. These are all ways of taking a piece of your company’s name or even a letter from it to create an appealing message. Ranging from the Twitter bird to the initials IBM, pick which technique would be the most helpful for your audience to understand your product/service.

Pro tip: Make sure your logo is optimized for different platforms. This avoids designs getting squashed or wonky when a customer uses a phone versus a computer.

6. Don’t underestimate social media (& check that SEO!)

Find your balance with social media. Too much and it could annoy your customers. Too little and they could forget about your company. Pick a couple of platforms that you think would best suit your company and the audience you’re trying to reach. Ages range greatly across platforms, so choose widely and research these statistics.

Here are some ways to improve your online presence:

Keep it relevant: make sure every post relates back to your brand.
Don’t be too salesly on social media: too many gimmicks on a place where people want to relax and scroll? Still be catchy here, but you don’t have to hit them with a sale every three hours.
Interact with followers: comment back to them. Follow other companies who they follow. Post according to a few fun trends that fit your brand. Connect with others and the connection will come swirling back.
Compress your media: Customers can get impatient quick. Check your images’ pixel sizes in order for them to load faster but still show a quality image. Compress your files before uploading them!
Things to post: events, well–known people using your product/service, testimonials, customer quotes, company collaborations, etc. You can even pick a day of the week for certain types of posts, making it a weekly routine for that kind of content.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is what will help your website stand out on the first page of a Google search, not the 300th page. Check off as many SEO boxes as possible or hire someone who knows how to use SEO to full capacity. This could mean 5 homepage visitors versus millions.

7. Find a committed and trustworthy shipping partner

One of the most important aspects to your business is efficient shipping, which determines how satisfied customers are and their relationship to your company. Never underestimate shipping. A committed shipping partner ensures quick and easy delivery, leaving both you and your customers less stressed and more content.

Here at ShippyPro we believe in one complete shipping hub to maximize efficiency and create a better customer experience. Over 15,000 e–commerce companies trust ShippyPro. We’re here to help you manage your shipping more effectively with these steps:

  1. Create and print your shipping labels in seconds:
  2. Automatically send tracking emails keeping your customers updated about their shipments.
  3. Automate your return management and build a return policy that stands out.
  4. Let your clients choose the best shipping options showing the nearest pickup points and a list of real-time shipping rates

Register now for free and try it out with 500 orders to see how it can save you time and help to expand your business!

Final advice:

In order to stand out among your competitors, you need a brand with a clear message. While you can never fully control how your audience perceives you, there are always ways to grow your brand and begin anew. The more your brand encompasses your mission combined with your intended audience, sales could skyrocket like never before. With these steps in mind, we wish you a successful 2021 and beyond!