Building a brand around your D2C private label products

by Michael Hill

Building a brand around your D2C private label products

Direct to consumer and private label products are a strong growth area in the world of retail and ecommerce so it’s no doubt that more and more stores using this strategy are popping up every day — so how do you make sure your products and store stand out?

A key part of achieving this goal is to create a strong brand behind the product.

When considering your branding, an important first step is to ensure your look conveys and matches the unique nature of your product or how you are choosing to position it.

While it’s key to start with a quality, unique product, it’s often just as important to consider how that product is “wrapped up” — both in the physical sense of packaging design but also in terms of the company behind it.

Private label D2C brands often succeed because they have memorable branding strategies that can include:

  • Determining your target demographic and what appeals to those audiences.
  • A unique and catchy name.
  • An equally memorable (or even ironic) logo or icon.
  • A trademark color or design element.
  • Stylized photography that’s distinct to the industry.
  • Well crafted text that matches the “look and feel” and uniqueness of the brand and its products.
  • Both a visual and text based “voice” that stands out.

Designing the brand of your D2C business

Ultimately, as the field of D2C and private label becomes more crowded, one key to success will likely be the ability to create and maintain a solid brand language around your products.

Mega retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon typically invest heavily in designing exclusive logos and branding around each of their private label owned brands.

These retailers have correctly realized that private label products need to be unique and well branded in order to compete against household names or similar products to catch customers’ eyes.

To that end, a key part of a private label business strategy should likely be hiring quality creative talent who can design logos, packaging and brand standards that convey the look and feel you’re going for and who the products are meant to appeal to.

Remember that your brand and products not only need to stand out, but customers must feel a connection and trust in your company and products, which is one of the reasons hiring a design expert can be a great investment.

A product or line with a polished logo, carefully designed coordinating packaging and website that conveys what it stands for is much more likely to succeed than one that has a lower quality and less cohesive design.

Even if your goal is to create the look of a “generic” or “brandless” product, keep in mind that this can, ironically, be incredibly challenging to execute well — and you’ll still likely want to work with a design expert.

Do it yourself branding

Of course, not every store has the budget to invest in a full blown branding strategy and design — and that shouldn’t necessarily stand in the way of creating a private label line or business.

If you have at least some skills and experience with design, you can often lean on that to get yourself up and running.

However, whenever possible, try to get feedback from an outside source — preferably someone who is your target market.

It’s very easy, as a store owner, to get tunnel vision and so tied to your own creative decisions that you lose sight of the fact that you may not be the target demographic, there may be other types of customers out there or that there’s a variety of tastes and preferences within your audience.

While full blown brand guides are certainly valuable investments from professional design and branding experts, you can also create your own, simple one that covers:

  • Logo design and usage.
  • Alternative icons, symbols or other graphics.
  • Preferred fonts.
  • A basic color palette with at least one distinct hue or shade.
  • A paragraph or two about what your brand stands for, who its target market is and its “attitude.”

If you are able to scrap up or invest a small amount of funds in hiring a pro, having them focus on the logo design can be a good starting point — with you making other choices as needed.

Marketing a private label ecommerce store

Private label or D2C businesses also typically take significant marketing investments in order to get the word out and ultimately generate sales — using a “build it and they will come” approach rarely works.

When marketing, keep in mind that you’ll likely need to focus on emphasizing your product’s unique selling points combined with imagery and language that matches your branding goals, target audiences and brand standards to create a cohesive look and make buying more of an experience than a chore.

When combined with a smart product lineup, strong brand and effective marketing, selling private label or direct to consumers can be an incredibly strong business model.

 

Michael Hill
Michael Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.