Your branding is your business's hood ornament.
It sits front and center and leads the way as your brand grows, develops and matures.
But there's so much more to good branding than a fancy logo and exciting color palette.
Branding is the words you use when talking to a single customer.
Branding is the charities and social groups that you support.
Branding is what you don't say or do, as much as it is what you say and do.
Getting branding right is challenging but a lot easier when you're a giant corporation like McDonald's, Apple or Coca Cola.
But you're not McDonald’s, Apple or Coca Cola.
You're an eCommerce brand trying to establish its foothold in the market and grow into new markets. And good branding can help you do exactly that.
In this article, you'll see a handful of eCommerce brands that have created solid branding and are building upon it.
You'll also see:
- The basics of eCommerce branding
- What your branding represents
- Mediums and channels to place your branding
Let's dive in.
What is branding?
Branding is a process a business undertakes to make itself visually unique from the rest of the market. Usually, but not limited to, the visual medium, branding is how your brand presents itself to the world.
If your brand were a real, physical person, your branding would be how that person dresses and how other people perceive that person and the feeling that person leaves on others when they're not around.
What your branding represents
Good branding always represents something.
That might be the origin of your business; it might simply represent 'elegance'.
Take a look at the Starbucks logo below.
Yes, they’re a corporation, but their branding (in this case, their logo), reflects their humble origins.
The mermaid reflects the seaside city that the company was founded in, Seattle. Legend states that dockworkers would regularly claim they saw beautiful mermaids in the water when loading and unloading boats.
Starbucks, formed in the early 70s, leveraged this idea and made the mermaid part of the branding. Now, every Starbucks product sold anywhere in the world has echoes of that Seattle legend.
Gucci, on the other hand, doesn’t have much of a story behind its branding. Their website, logo, and most branding assets simply express high-end elegance and exclusivity.
While the above two examples are large corporations with endless budgets, the point remains the same:
Whether it’s large or small, good branding is based on making a statement.
Once you’ve created your branding, it’s time to take it to the world.
Mediums for your branding
Once you’ve got your logo and favorite colors picked, make it your main Facebook photo, and you’re done, right?
Every single touchpoint between your brand and customer can be branded.
In the digital world, that includes:
- Customer reviews
- Social media channels
- Email confirmation
- Delivery tracking & update emails
Don’t forget, even as an ecommerce brand, your business still has offline touchpoints, too.
- Product tags
- Product instructions
- Primary and secondary custom packaging
- Invoices & receipts
- Business card design & letterheads
- Your physical product itself
All these touchpoints are home to your branding.
Most of these channels can feature your logo and colors, but they can also echo your values, your tone of voice, what your brand stands for, and so much more.
Ecommerce branding examples
It’s easy to read in great detail about the finer aspects of good ecommerce branding. But as the concept is primarily a visual idea, it’s much more effective to see examples.
Here are several ecommerce brands that have established effective and consistent ecommerce branding in both online and offline channels.
Le Petit Trou
Le Petit Trou is a manufacturer of high-end women’s lingerie. As their gorgeous Instagram page puts it, they are “a unique lingerie brand for women in love with fashion.”
As you start to read about this brand, pay attention to how simple and understated the brand is, without being minimalist. The intricacies and detail in their product are hardly minimalist, yet they use the theory of ‘less is more’ incredibly well.
Landing on their website, you’ll quickly see some evident characteristics in their product and their branding.
And that characteristic is simplicity.
Through their simplicity, they evoke a sense of elegance and exclusivity - two senses that complement their product.
Even their nightgown, a product that many of us would never associate with words like ‘elegant’ or ‘exclusive’, manage to invoke such emotions.
The product description is like the branding - descriptive yet straightforward. Product prices are clearly displayed, along with all other important information.
Moving away from the website and looking at the brand’s Instagram feed, you can see that the same values and emotions are present.
Pictures show off their products and those emotions mentioned above - elegance, class, and exclusivity.
Even their boxes look like some form of high-end, elegant gift box.
Le Petit Trou successfully showcases revealing women’s lingerie luxuriously and elegantly, without the slightest hint of being NSFW.
John Masters is an organic cosmetics company known for creating high-quality and certified organic goods.
At the time of writing this article, it’s late Autumn/early Winter. The company’s homepage reflects this Christmas-esque ‘mood’ quite well.
It’s worth noting that the homepage is updated seasonally and such moods are easily reflected in fantastic photography, featuring great composition and most importantly, the brand’s products.
This is all possible thanks to the brand’s simple logo and basic color scheme.
The basic font, which is all in lower case, is versatile enough to adapt to just about any situation. This concept is seen in the brand’s ingredients, too - simple, yet effective, the way nature intended.
John Masters doubles down on seasonal marketing campaigns and uses the weather to explain how its products can protect the skin.
The company regularly releases limited-edition products to leverage these seasonal campaigns. The brand found added profits by releasing 2 limited edition Christmas-themed moisturizers.
One New York themed, and the other London.
Note how the simple logo is prominently displayed on the packaging. In fact, the packaging itself is Christmas-themed, with the New York range having imagery of the New York skyline, and the London version showing Big Ben, London Bridge and other sights.
John Masters also launched a third type of Christmas-themed product, in product packaging that was also designed with the holidays in mind.
Gold isn’t a color usually associated with snow or snowflakes, but in the packaging design you see above, it works.
The branding of John Masters emphasizes the importance of simplicity in branding, as simplicity is the shortcut to versatility. This allows you to use fewer colors in your branding and packaging design, but also ensure that those colors complement each other.
What’s more, the concept of a ‘limited edition’ for the holiday season is a great way to re-engage loyal followers of your brand and get them to try a potential new product.
Hemp Juice is a Polish CBD oil brand. The CBD industry is booming thanks to research into the therapeutic benefits of the substance, and the market has now become flooded with brands making similar claims.
However, Hemp Juice uses its visual branding to stand out from the noise.
They use simple and effective colors to distinguish their products from each other and straightforward wording to quickly and efficiently ‘sell’ the benefits.
They don’t use complex medical jargon front and center to push their point. They don’t use the typical ‘weed’ or ‘stoner’ branding cliches to appeal to customers.
Minimalist, easy to digest, and most of all, consistent in both online and offline channels.
Below you can see how their website's colors and patterns are echoed in their custom printed boxes.
The relaxing, calming and rebalancing benefits of Hemp Juice’s products are echoed in its branding.
It’s modern but also minimalistic. It is calming without being sedative. Vibrant and eye-catching without being loud and in your face.
Gothrider coffee is a coffee brand that has got its target audience down to a fine art. One look at their effective use of customer reviews shows you this and is also proof that they’re building loyal, repeat customers.
Furthermore, they know exactly how to appeal to that audience.
The product that Gothrider is built around is nothing more than a strong coffee. With effective coffee packaging, t-shirts with similar branding motifs and a few unique coffee mugs, Gothrider is simply a brand built on good branding.
The name, Gothrider, should tell you most of what you need to know about their audience. Fans of the ‘alternative’ scene, bikers, and metalheads are their target audience.
Below, you can see their ‘Mom’s range’ that’s being promoted heavily in the lead up to Mother’s day.
The alternative/tattoo culture branding is echoed onto their coffee packaging, too.
What’s interesting about this coffee packaging is that it’s solid and unique enough to stand on its own. The large and tapered font creates a rustic type feel, and the pinstriped border around the edges completes the ‘vintage’ vibe.
This type of visual motif isn’t unheard of in the world of coffee branding. However, what is unique is how Gothrider incorporates the tattooed, alternative bike rider into their other products and imagery.
GothRider’s effective branding is echoed on their homepage.
The use of words like ‘badass’ isn’t the kind of words that you’d hear from a high-end formal wear company. The consistent use of black and white imagery with splashes of red stays true to that ‘alternative biker’ vibe and creates a consistent branding experience.
Chasin’ Unicorns is a self-care subscription box. The branding on their website creates a lively yet also tranquil mood, thanks to spiritual colors, like light blues, pinks and purples.
Note the similarities between the logo in the top left corner, and the cut amethyst crystals, which are the brand’s core product.
Both have long, straight lines, no curves and create a ‘geometric’ like shape. This is a fine example of a product being reflected in logo design.
But as you read earlier, there’s more to branding than a website and a logo.
And Chasin’ Unicorns branding is also seen in their mailer boxes.
Chasin’ Unicorns are a fine example of a brand with fantastic digital branding and back it up in the offline realm with excellent packaging.
It can be a challenge to find out ‘what makes your brand tick’. It can then be even more challenging to make that the core part of your brand.
But with a little research, some creativity, and inspiration in the form of the brands you’ve seen above, it can be done.
Your branding is what makes you stand out from all the noise of your niche. Make it something that your customers resonate with, and want to invest in - both financially and emotionally.
You’ll then be well on the way to creating a long-term brand that people trust and return to time and time again.
Phil is a hairy Australian living in Warsaw, Poland. When he’s not helping take Packhelp’s boxes to the world, he can be found trying to not kill his plants, hanging out with his dog or writing for his blog expatspoland.