Emotional Brand-building in the E-commerce Space: Part 2

In a previous post, we talked about how e-commerce has changed the way in which people view brands, thereby changing how brand-building needs to be done. This topic was also covered in a recent Seattle Business Magazine article co-authored by Radius’ Nika Kabiri. Though the online shopping process appears to be largely about comparing product specs, brand does matter in several situations.

In our Part 1 blog post, we talked about how E-Commerce has changed the way in which people view brands, thereby changing how brand-building needs to be done. Though the online shopping process appears to be largely about comparing product specs, brand does matter in several situations.

  • When options in a category are alike, and consumers find it hard to decide between products, brand can tip them toward one option over others.
  • When dealing with high-ticket items, and when a lot is at stake with a purchase, consumers may feel more secure with a brand they’re familiar with.
  • For categories that see infrequent purchases and a lot of consumer confusion, brand can make people feel more comfortable about their choices when facing imperfect information.
  • And finally, when consumers can’t see the relevance of a set of product specs and/or judge whether the specs are good or bad, brand can be the tie-breaker in the decision.

Brand isn’t dead in the e-commerce age. In many ways, it’s increasingly important. So how do you elevate your brand when there’s so much noise online, when consumers are being bombarded by so many products and services?”

Brand isn’t dead in the e-commerce age. In many ways, it’s increasingly important. So how do you elevate your brand when there’s so much noise online, when consumers are being bombarded by so many products and services? In a channel that is so much about product/service specs, the obvious answer might be to do a ton of product feature optimization research, to make sure you are offering consumers their optimal functional benefits. This is incredibly important, but it’s not enough. Your competitors are likely doing the same, and you won’t stand out in a noticeable way.  So here is what to consider with your brand online:

Get emotional.

What makes a brand stand out in the e-commerce space is not its functional benefits but rather its emotional ones. Brands that offer strong emotional benefits stand apart and have more value. Successful brands dominate their categories because they offer excellent products and generate emotional experiences that transcend the material. They create a sense of belonging or community, a shared social space, an experience of giving back and being socially responsible. They make people feel empowered, secure, beautiful, and strong. Consumers connect with brands that make them feel good, not just brands that create good stuff.

Get real about your business.

Once you understand your consumers with depth and nuance, you can apply that same level of depth and nuance in examining your internal strengths. What about your business really makes it shine? What are you not only good at, but the best at?  What is your “unfair advantage” versus your competitor? This could be your heritage, your culture, your patent, your origin story, your unique quality. Once you understand your consumers’ needs, you can overlay that understanding with this self-understanding. The overlap is the thing that your consumer wants, and that you are uniquely good at. This is the source of a brand positioning that can fuel both growth and loyalty.

Consumers connect with brands that make them feel good, not just brands that create good stuff.”

Ultimately, you need to understand your consumers as people, not just as shoppers or purchasers. Knowing what drives them allows you to reach them ahead of competitors. It allows you to develop your unique strengths so that you can continually expand how well you serve these consumers.  In an era where so many products and services are being hurled at people from all angles, the ones that stick are the ones that make people feel. Because at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff, especially when there’s a lot of it. But experience and emotion – that is priceless.

For more ideas on how to build your brand online, contact us.

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ABOUT OUR CO-AUTHOR:
Ironclad principal Lindsay Pedersen is a brand strategy consultant with a scientific, growth-oriented approach to brand building. She has advised companies from burgeoning startups to national corporations, including Zulily, Starbucks, T-Mobile, Coinstar and IMDb.
Her background as a P&L owner at Clorox fostered in Lindsay a deep appreciation for the executive’s charge: increasing the company’s value. There, she led mature, billion-dollar businesses and newly-launched categories, from Clorox Bleach to Armor All to Brita. In each case, she was solely responsible for increasing the business’s value.
Thanks to this executive perspective, Lindsay demands that brands be hard-working, disciplined and rigorous in growing a business. Her brand strategies are tested in the crucible of her proprietary Ironclad Method. Lindsay arms leaders with a powerful, ironclad brand strategy, so they can grow their business with intention, clarity and focus.