It’s no secret that the most effective brands in the world know exactly who they are. Nike powers athletes through footwear and apparel, Starbucks delivers a consistent coffee experience across the globe, and Apple sets the standard for optimized tech products at home and on-the-go.
This clarity and success didn’t happen overnight. These brands have been built through consistent evaluation and reevaluation of their products, their messaging, and their values. Want to be an ecommerce brand that stands the test of time? Get clear on your brand identity to lay the groundwork for future wins.
Why brand identity matters.
While juggling the daily demands of owning a small business, it can be hard to remember the inspiration behind your business is what sets you apart from the crowd. Knowing what drives your brand is a core element of brand identity and a critical business tool. It helps you create effective marketing campaigns, write impactful customer communications, make good business-building decisions, and stay true to your values so you are beloved by your customers.
Shopify confirms this by saying “Data from LinkedIn proves strong brands draw more organic acquisition, retain more customers, and can raise prices. All three of those levers can be used to increase your bottom line.” In other words, great branding drives profit.
But maybe your brand story is straightforward and even after some ecomm brand inspiration, you can't seem to find what makes you unique. Never fear, we're here to help you think creatively about what brand identity means for your business.
Fun & essential questions to define your brand identity.
To define your brand identity, start with the basics. Ask yourself the standard questions. Who is my ideal customer? What sets me apart? What problems does my brand solve?
These answers to these questions are critical and lay the foundation for your brand’s success. But if you’re struggling to articulate your brand’s messaging or want to think a little differently about how you present your brand to the world, you can try a more creative approach. Consider turning to writers, artists, and poets for inspiration. Ask yourself some of the deep-seated questions from the vertical interrogation of strangers by Bhanu Kapil, dive into Chuck Klosterman’s 23 questions I ask everybody I meet in order to decide if I can ever really love them from Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, or sift through the New York Times selection of 36 questions that lead to love.
Let your mind wander and find some space for play and creativity. Because these questions aren’t brand or business-oriented, they can help you access other parts of your brain and open new neural pathways. Sometimes, coming at your problem sideways can help you find the language, the values, and guiding lights that situate and define you and your brand in today’s ecommerce landscape.
Meet a few ecommerce brands that know their WHY.
Talk about filling a niche. Beefcake Swimwear couldn’t find the 1920s swimsuit of their dreams so they made it themselves. Their site features their streamlined suite of bathing attire options with a range of sizes to fit a spectrum of bodies and gender expressions. Unisex sizes offer an inclusive and androgynous shopping experience and the smiling faces of satisfied customers greet you across their Instagram feed. The brand messaging is consistent and clear. If you’ve ever wanted to look like an old-timey wrestler or let’s say it together – a total beefcake – you know the exact brand to turn to.
BLK & Bold
BLK & Bold: your one-stop, Black-owned coffee and tea brand. Whether you are looking for a caffeine boost from their eponymous dark roast blend or a peaceful moment over a hibiscus citrus loose-leaf herbal tea, you can count on BLK & Bold to hit the mark. Across their brand messaging, their priorities are unambiguous. And they’ve expanded their offerings with a coffee and tea subscription service and custom blends crafted for their NBA partnership. In addition to exceptional coffee and tea, this B corp-certified company gives back 5% to a selection of nonprofit partners supporting at-risk youth.
A part of the growing trend to rethink daily nutrition, Athletic Greens has positioned itself as an expert in the field. AG1 is their answer to the one-size-fits-all nutrition supplement, with 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole-food sourced nutrients in one convenient daily serving. By creating a powder that dissolves in water, they assert that nutrients are better absorbed by the body. Their product can be enjoyed by people following a variety of diets including gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, keto, and vegan. And you can follow their Instagram for tips on healthy habits and optimized performance. The brand messaging is simple but effective. It’s easy to believe in their product when they stake their entire business in one premium product. It builds trust.
Province of Canada
Elevated basics. Is there anything better? Not if you’re cozy Canadian brand, Province of Canada. Strong ties to country pride are established in their name and woven throughout their brand. Each product in their shop is made and manufactured in Canada, with a focus on sustainably grown and locally made fabrics. Their tagline aligns with the messaging too: Made in Canada is our love language. An update on the more traditional and typical Canadian apparel like wool socks and heavy flannels, Province of Canada delivers a modern and minimal aesthetic, fully rooted in Canadian pride and sensibilities.
Washable shoes! Why didn’t we think of that? Since 2012, Rothy’s has been on the frontier of sustainable fashion. By utilizing fabrics created from recycled plastic bottles and designing a shoe durable enough for the washing machine, Rothy’s brand lies at the intersection of beautiful form and sustainable function. And now that they’ve added beautiful totes, handbags, and accessories to their collection, it seems that there’s no stopping this brand’s momentum. In 2022, the brand will achieve its zero-waste goal at the factory. And next year, they plan to reach circular production and carbon-neutral status.
A favorite of influencers and social media darlings, Diff Eyewear is more than a trendy brand for sunglasses, prescription eyeglasses, and blue light glasses. They call themselves charitable eyewear, and for good reason! For each pair they sell, Diff donates a pair of reading glasses to someone in need. Since 2015, they’ve given away more than 1,500,000 pairs. So not only will their glasses make your OOTD pop in person or over Zoom, they’re a brand you can feel good about supporting. And if that’s not enough, take a peek at their latest collabs for fun takes on Star Wars, Friends, and Harry Potter lenses.
A good night’s sleep starts before you even get into bed. That’s how Parachute sees it anyway. With a robust selection of organic bedding, luxurious duvet covers, and cozy pajamas and loungewear, Parachute has the rest and relaxation game on lock. To complement their comfortable offerings, they’re also committed to a sustainable approach. Their materials and manufacturing practices have obtained a variety of sustainable certifications and they plan to be a carbon-neutral company by the end of 2022. By evolving its offerings and branching out from premium, high-quality bedding, Parachute has expanded to become one of the most popular and successful DTC home decor brands.
Know yourself: build brand loyalty through your unique brand identity.
Feeling inspired? We hope you are! Defining your brand identity is a key component in not only bringing in prospective customers but building a loyal customer base. Once you know exactly who you are, the niche you fill, and what your brand is capable of being and doing, the sky is the limit! You can focus on doing what you do best: providing premium products and services to the people who love your brand.
So ask yourself some tough questions, maybe push yourself out of your comfort zone, and watch your brand come to life before your eyes. Ready to step into the spotlight? Connect with your customers with the help of Drip’s sophisticated (but oh so approachable) email and SMS marketing tools.