Online Sales and the Importance of Branding Your Business From Day 1

Online Sales and the Importance of Branding Your Business From Day 1

This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday pulled in a combined $11.6 billion dollars in online sales; that was up about 16.5 percent from last year. So, it's safe to say that when the dust settles, many online business owners and entrepreneurs will have reason to celebrate: Clearly, this year's rise in Black Friday online sales represented a shift in consumer preference for the online options available. So, with all that money going to online sales, how can you ensure that your own small business or startup will thrive? Instead, you have to invest time and capital into building an identity that resonates with your audience. Nike Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, if I say “Swoosh,” odds are you’ll think Nike. Or does its dominance have more to do with branding and marketing? The logo itself is not responsible for Nike’s success; it is a symbol of the Nike brand’s promise to its consumer. Dubin launched DSC in 2011 with virtually zero capital and a dream. Knowing that the story behind the brand was even more important than the product, Dubin spent virtually all of his startup capital on one thing: branding. The key is to build a strong brand that exists alongside a founder, rather than within it, so the brand can stand alone.

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Online Sales and the Importance of Branding Your Business From Day 1

It’s no secret that business online is skyrocketing. This year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday pulled in a combined $11.6 billion dollars in online sales; that was up about 16.5 percent from last year. So, it’s safe to say that when the dust settles, many online business owners and entrepreneurs will have reason to celebrate: Clearly, this year’s rise in Black Friday online sales represented a shift in consumer preference for the online options available.

With so much money on the table, it’s no wonder that competition for consumers’ eyeballs, and wallets, is stronger than ever. The question for prospective online entrepreneurs then becomes: How do I differentiate my business to take my piece of the pie?

Certainly, the barriers entrepreneurs face to entry into the lucrative markets are low, but the challenge they do face is how to set themselves apart from others in their category. After all, a sizable market is no use to any business that can’t gain the attention of, and ultimately convert, potential customers.

It’s no longer enough to build a killer product or site: You need to be able to effectively market your brand if you’re hoping to grow. So, with all that money going to online sales, how can you ensure that your own small business or startup will thrive? How do you distinguish your product from the 1.3 million other stores here just in North America alone?

There is no simple answer. But there is an effective one: branding. And that doesn’t mean just slapping the logo you bought from Fiverr on your business card and landing page and leaving it at that. Instead, you have to invest time and capital into building an identity that resonates with your audience. Reason: Your brand may end up being one of your business’ most valuable assets.

Looking for role models as your proceed in this effort? Here’s a look at two highly successful brands, how they got where they are today and what you can learn from them.

Nike

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 30 years, if I say “Swoosh,” odds are you’ll think Nike. Of the three major sneaker companies, Nike is far and away the market leader. In 2016, the company’s revenue was $19.87 billion — 60 percent higher than Adidas’s’ and Puma’s, combined.

Nike spends an undisclosed fortune on research and development and would likely argue that it’s quality that makes its brand number one. But is Nike’s product really 60 percent better than those of Adidas and Puma, combined? Or does its dominance have more to do with branding and marketing?

Here are three brand-building takeaways from Nike:

  • Stand alone. Nike has worked with many sports superstars over the years, including Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Serena Williams, but the Swoosh — and the brand’s “Just Do It” tagline — keep the focus very much on Nike the brand. Nike has few equals when it picks the right talent to promote its products, but…

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