eCommerce is evolving. It’s past the tactics, shiny objects, and the latest social/marketplace hacks. Sure some work for sometime, but what works every time is an overall brand play. Neil uncovers branding that starts at the Core of the company - where you end with Logos and not start, where you follow a structured method and not second guess and where you achieve profitability and not just revenue. Ask Casper, Warby Parker or Allbirds. Subscribe now and shift from being a product hustler to an Iconic Brand Master.
The 9 Myths of eCommerce Branding
November 2, 2020 • 36 MIN
In the first ever episode, I explore the single best way to accelerate your eCommerce business: branding. Unfortunately, branding is an underused strategy in eCommerce because it’s misunderstood. Branding isn’t an expensive logo or marketing campaign. It’s a holistic strategy that guides everything you do, and gives you a shortcut to the optimal decisions for your business. Without a clear understanding of branding, most eCommerce entrepreneurs are inadvertently sabotaging their potential. So, we’re devoting our first-ever episode to helping you get out of your own way by clearing up the 9 most prevalent myths about branding in the eCommerce world. You’ll learn why branding matter more than ever online, the critical difference between branding and advertising, and why having an awesome product isn’t enough.
The History of Branding
November 19, 2020 • 30 MIN
eCommerce may have changed the way we discover and buy products, but it hasn’t fundamentally changed why we buy. Today’s episode dives into the history of branding, from marking livestock to digital marketing, in order to reveal how branding has always served the same core functions: to build trust, create a unique identity, and simplify choice. Which isn’t to say the role branding plays in our lives hasn’t changed. Recognizing how branding has morphed over time reveals important insights into the role it plays today, in eCommerce. Especially because so many entrepreneurs believe branding has no place in the online market at all. In this episode, you’ll learn why branding has been a staple of human life for centuries, how it has evolved to meet our needs, and the important role it plays today in eCommerce.
What eCommerce Brands Can Learn from Apple and Nike
April 1, 2021 • 25 MIN
Today, we’re taking a short vacation from our usual focus on eCommerce brand to do a deep dive into the branding strategies of Apple and Nike. As 2 of the most recognizable, and well-loved brands in the world, there are branding lessons they can demonstrate better than anyone else. And as you’ll see, there’s nothing Apple and Nike are doing with their brands that you can’t put into practice yourself, right now. Even without the war chest of resources at their disposal. The crux of their success is their ability to masterfully leverage customer emotions through branding. Although on the surface Apple and Nike appear to be very different companies, fundamentally, they both inspire fanatical devotion because they’ve built brands built on a deep empathy with customers. In today’s episode, we explore the specific branding strategies Apple and Nike are using to do this, and how you can too.
How to Brand in the Post-COVID Era Part 1
April 9, 2021 • 27 MIN
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, including eCommerce. But the story isn’t just one of industry growth. The crisis has reshuffled consumer priorities, and their expectations have changed quickly and dramatically. To help you navigate these uncertain times, in this episode Neil brings you back to the basics of branding, and how it’s not just a marketing tool, but a core part of human perception. In fact, as you’ll see, branding plays a role in our understanding of disease and our response to it. Having a deeper understanding of the role brand plays in our lives and perception will help you strategize for this era and the post-pandemic future. Stay relevant with consumers and ensure you keep the most important thing as the most important thing: communication.
How to Brand in the Post-COVID Era Part 2
April 14, 2021 • 28 MIN
In part 2, Neil dives into the practical impact on eCommerce branding brought about by the COVID pandemic. eCommerce growth that was expected to take several years, materialized in a matter of months. Consumer expectations have followed. Now that eCommerce is a lifeline to the essentials, consumers are demanding a seamless brand experience, and their tolerance for flaws is low. So the stakes have never been higher, but in situation where the market can change on a dime, agility is the key to eCommerce survival. But what does it really take to stay agile? eCommerce entrepreneurs have to navigate a complex landscape of customer demands that includes a craving for familiarity, more customer-centric business models, and true omnichannel brand experiences. The brands that have thrived in this era have been those listening and responding to their customers in real-time. In today’s episode, Neil break down the core of an agile strategy so you can do the same.
Why Consumers Choose a Brand – According to Neuroscience
April 21, 2021 • 27 MIN
Entrepreneurs can be forgiven for thinking branding is too vague and imprecise to be relevant. Digital marketing gets tangible results, while appeal to customers “emotionally” is a lot harder to measure and see. In today’s episode, we make the emotional appeal of brands a little more practical. We take a deep dive into the neuroscience behind how people choose a brand when making a purchase, and how you can apply these insights to your branding in order to make sure they choose yours. There’s nothing you need to do in order to help your customers make an “emotional decision.” As you’ll see in today’s episode, all of our decisions are emotional. Instead, the trick is to make sure you’re creating the right emotional relevance with customers to make sure your brand is their consistent first choice.
A Brand By Any Other Name – The Power of Brand Names
April 28, 2021 • 25 MIN
Your brand’s name is one of your most important and valuable assets, but only if it’s meaningful to your core audience. Brand names have a long list of jobs to do, from educating customers about what your brand does, to who the brand serves, what you value, and your brand purpose. The challenge of choosing a name that does all of this and creates an emotional reaction in consumers is a tall order. But as the centerpiece of your brand identity, the naming process requires extra care and thought. In today’s episode, Neil dives into the psychology behind the best brand names. Unfortunately, this psychology also includes tendencies to prefer brand names that are familiar which means you’re in danger of picking a name that will be so familiar it’s invisible. Tune in to learn how to make the psychology of brand names work for you, rather than against you.
Brand Strategy Case Study - NASCAR
May 5, 2021 • 31 MIN
In today’s episode, I present a case study of how NASCAR is using content marketing to renew their brand, and attract new fans. Although they’re not an eCommerce brand, their genuinely innovative content campaign offers many lessons for entrepreneurs. As long as you have done the work of defining your brand, there’s nothing NASCAR has done that you couldn’t adopt for yourself. So have a listen to how NASCAR took their floundering brand and renewed it for a new generation. Each element of their approach is broken down with ideas for implementation in eCommerce.
What Does Having an “Authentic” Brand Purpose Really Mean?
May 12, 2021 • 23 MIN
If you’ve been in eCommerce for longer than a week, you’ve come across the term “brand purpose.” Unfortunately, it’s discussed so vaguely and is so overused, that it’s not much more than a buzzword. Same goes for another term often found in the same sentence: “authenticity.” But in order to build a dominant eCommerce brand, an authentic purpose is an absolute must. This episode gives these tired terms a fresh perspective by using one of the most iconic scenes in film history to explain what they really mean, and how to make them real for your customers. Sit back, relax, and let Dustin Hoffman teach you this core branding lesson.
Success Seen by eCommerce Behemoths
May 19, 2021 • 25 MIN
We’ve all heard of Casper, Warby Parker, and Harry’s. They’re not just giant eCommerce brands, they’ve also fundamentally reshaped customer behavior and reinvented outdated business models. The trap of trying to emulate their success, is the assumption that eCommerce has a natural, guaranteed edge over traditional retail. There’s no question, that one of the reasons these brands have been able to make other retailers irrelevant so quickly, is because the greater amount of customer data they collect online means they can more quickly and accurately respond to customer needs. But when we take a closer look at each of these brands, the core lesson we can learn from them is that data and digital marketing are only as effective as a company’s brand. And it’s precisely these brand’s ability to adapt new technology to timeless branding truths that enabled them to breakthrough in such a crowded market. The good news? You can do everything they did right, too. And you can do it today.
The 6 Skills of a Great Digital Marketer
May 27, 2021 • 26 MIN
At eBB, we advise a holistic approach to building a business. But that’s not to say that the branding process is where your work on your brand will account for all the skills you’ll develop or need over the course of growing your business. In today’s episode, we take a closer look at the discipline of marketing. Whether digitally or through traditional channels, you could easily devote an entire career to mastering this essential process. As an entrepreneur, you don’t have the luxury of devoting a lifetime to each aspect of your business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t gain the essential skills to excel. That’s why in this episode we lay out the 6 essential skills every great marketer should have, or actively be developing. While this isn’t the be-all-end-all of marketing by any stretch, these skills will make sure you’re getting the best ROI possible, and give you the foundation to continue to optimize marketing and recognize new opportunities as they emerge.
Has eCommerce Killed Branding?
June 3, 2021 • 28 MIN
The rise of eCommerce has drastically changed the traditional retail market. With record store closings year-after-year, it seems obvious that eCommerce is signaling the end of brands. With more effective marketing tools, and more access to billions of consumers around the world, branding certainly feels like a print and TV ad relic of the past. And certainly, in the early days of eCommerce, it was easy to get away with rudimentary branding, but the market is changing rapidly. With unprecedented levels of competition online, being able to identify and connect with your target customers is essential for survival. But this goes beyond audience targeting, it requires the emotional dynamics of a brand.
How to Map Your Brand Touchpoints – and Why You Should
June 9, 2021 • 30 MIN
Without the in-person interaction of a physical store, eCommerce brands need to carefully design their brand experience to build and maintain an emotional connection with customers. With so many options online, a lack of emotional connection to your brand renders you invisible. In today’s episode, we help you get a handle on crafting a great brand experience by mapping and designing your brand touchpoints. Brand touchpoints are where customers actually “touch” and interact directly with your brand. It’s where the rubber meets the road and your branding and promises are either proven or fall apart. Before a customer even get their hand on a product, they’ll be form a lasting impression of your business. Take control of your brand experience by mapping and crafting your brand touchpoints.
How to Build a Brand with Social Impact
June 16, 2021 • 30 MIN
Social proof is no longer just about reviews. But with the increasing levels of distrust in corporations and institutions, having a strong brand purpose beyond profits is one of the best ways to build social proof that signals your brand can be trusted. Today, brands that take their social responsibility seriously are being rewarded with customer loyalty. But what does it really mean to have a brand that also does social good? A charity initiative isn’t going to cut it anymore. Most consumers today are looking for businesses that have social responsibility as an operating mandate. In this episode, we take a look at why social responsibility is required for today’s online brands, and how you can infuse your business with a compelling purpose.
Patenting and Trademarking
June 24, 2021 • 25 MIN
One of the central goals of branding is to clarify and showcase what’s unique about your brand. And effectively differentiating your business from your competitors in the minds of consumers is critical for your long-term stability. But unlike in-store retail, almost all of your brand assets online are intellectual property, and unfortunately, there are plenty of bad actors out there engaging in counterfeiting and cyber-squatting. These are underhanded tactics that put your brand’s reputation, and even the very survival of your business, at risk. In today’s episode, we discuss the best way to protect yourself: through patenting and trademarking. These are tools to help you defend your intellectual property and make sure your brand is sending clear signals in the market.
User-Generated Content Lessons from the Video Game Industry
June 30, 2021 • 26 MIN
Today’s episode takes a short vacation from our usual focus on eCommerce and turns to the world of video games. As eCommerce brands lean into social proof to gain consumer trust, the video game industry offers a powerful lesson: the importance of user-generated content, and why you should be using it for your business. Of course, user-generated content can sometimes compete with your intended brand image, something, as you’ll see, Nintendo has had to contend with for decades. But when everything aligns, there’s perhaps no better way to light a fire under your brand, drive brand awareness, and build powerful preference.
How to Build Your Differentiation in Your DTC Business
July 7, 2021 • 30 MIN
Massive eCommerce success is synonymous with the DTC giants of the last decade like Casper and Warby Parker, but the DTC business model that once revolutionized retail is losing its relevance. These brands appealed to consumers on a few key advantages: a better product at a lower cost, greater convenience, and exclusivity. Advantages that have all been wiped out by a flood of competitors and their own growth. It’s a signal to entrepreneurs that the eCommerce landscape has shifted again. Success today requires strong branding that hooks consumers emotionally, a unique value that can’t be copied, imitated, or negated by the competition. In today’s episode, Neil breaks down how to build “soleness” for you brand, and ensure you’re strategy is relevant in 2021, not 2012.
Should You Start with Amazon or a Branded Site?
July 14, 2021 • 25 MIN
In today’s episode, we tackle one of the most controversial questions raging in the eCommerce world: whether you should host your online business on Amazon or build your own branded website. While Amazon gives you the advantage of speed and simplicity, more and more entrepreneurs are no longer relying on Amazon as their sole revenue stream. And you shouldn’t either. To build a long-term brand, you need your own website. We take a deep dive into the pros and cons of each option, and how to effectively balance your channels options. Having your own web store gives you the best possible competitive advantage, and results in higher customer loyalty. Today’s episode will explain why.
The Psychology of Online Shopping
July 21, 2021 • 30 MIN
One of our mantras at eBB is that eCommerce has only changed how consumers buy, but it hasn’t changed why we buy. Unlike eCommerce, whose rules and best practices seem to change by the hour, understanding consumers psychology can give you a lot more stability in how your run your business. Understanding how it translates in eCommerce can also streamline your decision making, and help you identify the trends and new tools that are right for you. Today’s episode lays out the essential psychology at work throughout the customer journey online. With this insight, you can optimize your store, and your brand, to make sure you’re motivating more customers to convert, and return.
How Brand Values Are Easier Established Than Done
July 28, 2021 • 27 MIN
One of the very first steps in the branding process is to clearly define your brand’s values. At eBB, brand values are an integral part of your brand’s core for a reason: because they help you connect emotionally with your target customers. They also give your brand’s identity clarity and meaning, and provide standards by which consumers can hold the brand accountable for its decisions. But the greater transparency brought on by eCommerce and social media, means that brands are now being held accountable in real-time. Of course, this is exactly why we advise brands build from the inside-out, founding themselves in a greater purpose. But even with strong core values, leading with your core in marketing efforts is guaranteed to rub some consumers the wrong way. But what happens when your marketing actually violates your stated values? And how do you make sure your messaging accurately reflects your intentions?
How to Brand with Positive Psychology in a Negative Time
August 4, 2021 • 29 MIN
eCommerce is driven by metrics, data, and analytics, which can often make it easy to forget what really drives your brands growth: people. How we shop may have changed, but why we buy hasn’t. Fundamentally, people are just looking to meet their needs and improve their lives. Branding is the art of communicating to consumers that they’re capable of fulfilling those needs. For decades, the marketing world did this by weaponizing insecurities. Recently, alongside a shift in psychology, a world marketing has always mirrored, this tone has changed. Today, applying positive psychology is one of the best ways create stronger bonds with your audience and increase loyalty. However, there’s danger in going all-in on a sunny disposition, which needs to be carefully balanced by creating a more human brand. In this episode, Neil shows you how.
The What, Why, and How of Rebranding
August 11, 2021 • 27 MIN
Branding is a process, not a destination. For the master branders of the world, it’s a job that never ends. And naturally, the question of a major rebrand is an inevitable inflection point for businesses. However, most of us think of rebranding as either a shiny new logo or a Hail Mary after a reputation crisis. You don’t need to wait until the roof caves in to consider a rebrand, because just like branding itself, rebranding is all about maintaining and nurturing better relationships with your customers. In today’s episode, we clear up some of these myths and stigmas about rebranding. We’ll dive into when you should consider it, and what it actually entails. Not to say there aren’t inherent dangers of rebranding, especially if your business is already healthy and thriving. It can be a delicate balancing act to renew your connection with customers, without sacrificing what people love about your brand.
The Why and How of Building Your Brand Personality
August 18, 2021 • 32 MIN
One reason branding is misunderstood by entrepreneurs is that many of its important elements and concepts sound too vague to be practical. “Brand personality” is a perfect example. It’s a term you’ve probably heard many times, but have no idea what it really is, or means. Personality in people is the fusion of their style of expression, the impression they leave on others, and their identity. In brands, when it’s done right, it’s how your brand, look, sounds, and behaves. And it’s the sum total of these elements that creates the emotional association your brand leaves on consumers. When it’s done well, a brand personality conjures an image of your target customer, and naturally attracts a loyal following. And whether you’re actively shaping this personality, customers will give you one, and it’s probably not something you want to leave to chance. So in this episode, we break down what a brand personality is, why it’s important, and the concrete ways you can put it in action.
Branding Wars: Apple vs Facebook
August 25, 2021 • 24 MIN
You may not know that back in the 2000’s, Apple and Facebook a good, mutually beneficial relationship. But since Tim Cook took over for Steve Jobs in 2011, a cold war between the brands broke out. With the launch of the iOS 14.5 update, however, Apple is taking direct aim at Facebook, and the war has turned hot. But this is more than two brands competing with each other: Apple and Facebook aren’t even direct competitors. Rather, the conflict between Apple and Facebook is clash of identities. It’s a brand war in the purest sense. What can you learn from this clash of titans? Tune in to find out.
How to Build Your Brand with Celebrity Endorsements
September 1, 2021 • 27 MIN
One of the most powerful ways to increase your business's credibility is by securing a celebrity endorsement. Like is or not, humans are social creatures, and that means we’re easily influenced by the opinions of aspirational figures. But are these kinds of endorsements really relevant to eCommerce? Compared to influencer marketing, celebrity endorsements feel traditional and outdated. And are they even different strategies? There’s no question that influencer marketing is an evolutionary step in borrowing celebrity for advertising, and they do overlap. But celebrity endorsement is a fundamentally different brand tactic and still offers profound potential business benefits. So tune in to learn more, including how to choose the right celebrity for your brand, and how to get started creating your strategy…