Tips for Building Your Etsy Brand - dummies

By Kate Gatski, Kate Shoup

An important part of any business, especially your Etsy business, is its brand. So, what exactly is a brand? Although many people believe that the word brand is synonymous with the word logo, it’s not.

[Credit: © Parvez Haque]
Credit: © Parvez Haque

Yes, your logo is part of your brand (more on that in a moment), but the brand itself is a much broader concept. You can think of your brand as the image you want to project for your business. Your brand is what you’re known for.

Before you begin building your brand, you need to pin down a few key pieces of information:

  • The brand promise: Was it Kierkegaard or Dick Van Patten who said, “People don’t buy drill bits — they buy holes”? Pinpointing your brand promise means determining what you’re really selling. What does your brand promise to do? You’re not selling handmade aromatherapy candles; you’re selling unparalleled relaxation. Thats your brand promise.

  • The target market: You want to have some idea of who’s likely to be interested in your product so that you can tailor your brand accordingly. Who is your customer? Is your audience male or female? Young or old? Singleton or smug married? Where does your target market live? How much disposable income does your customer have? What level of education has your target market obtained?

  • The competition: In addition to recognizing your target market, you need to identify your competition. Who are they? What do they offer? How are their brands or products similar to yours? How are they different? Do your target markets overlap? This assessment can help you position your own brand in such a way that you gain an advantage.

  • The brand personality: Think of your brand as being like a person. Is it quirky? Refined? Silly? Wise? This personality creates an emotional connection with your target market. You convey your brand’s personality through visual elements, such as your logo, and through its voice — that is, your tagline, your item descriptions, your shop announcement, your profile page, your about page, and even your Etsy convos.

  • The unique selling proposition (USP): Every good brand has at least one characteristic that makes it different from everything else on the market. Using the aromatherapy candle example, maybe your candles burn longer than other candles on the market, or smell different, or come in super-pretty jars. Whatever special quality your candles have, that’s their USP.

With that information in hand, you’re ready to start building your brand.

How to compose a tagline

Do you recognize the phrase “You deserve a break today”? What about “Just do it,” “Don’t leave home without it,” “The quicker picker-upper,” or “Time to make the doughnuts”? If so, then you know the power of a tagline. A tagline is a memorable phrase that expresses who your brand is and what it does. It serves as a marketing slogan and reflects the brand it seeks to promote.

Part of building your brand is composing a tagline of your own. As you do, consider that a good tagline

  • Is short, concise, specific, and, ideally, clever: The longer the tagline, the more likely people are to lose interest in it.

  • Speaks to your target market: If your target market is 20-something hipsters, your tagline shouldn’t use language that your grandmother favors.

  • Reflects your brand’s personality: If your brand is quirky, you don’t want a stuffy tagline!

  • Hints at your brand promise and its USP: Take the tagline for M&M’s, for example: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands” suggests that M&M’s are not only super-tasty, but also not messy.

A great place for your tagline is your shop title or your shop’s banner.

How to create a logo

Many people confuse a brand’s logo with the brand itself, and it’s easy to see why. After all, the logo — along with the tagline — represents the brand. It’s critical, then, that the logo (as well as other visual elements, such as the colors and fonts you use in marketing materials like business cards and whatnot) reflect the brand’s personality and speak to your audience.

Keep some points in mind as you develop your logo:

  • Consider your colors. Different colors evoke different emotions and convey different ideas. For example, if you specialize in custom motorcycle gear, a baby-pink logo may not be the way to go.

  • Make sure you’re sending the right message. Your logo’s visual style communicates something about your brand. For example, if your logo has a minimalist style, it suggests that your brand does, too. Be sure that your logo sends the message you want.

  • Be original. Although it’s certainly fine to look to other brands and logos for inspiration, don’t copy — especially if the logo in question is a competitor’s.

If you’re not comfortable developing your logo, don’t hesitate to get help. If you’re on a strict budget, why not ask a friend with an artistic bent for assistance? Alternatively, try bartering with a professional designer.

Consider using your logo as your Etsy avatar. That way, any time you comment in a forum or send a convo, other Etsians see your logo.

Work your brand into all you do

The key to branding is infusing it in everything you do. Express your brand by using your tagline and logo in your business cards, letterhead, envelopes, postcards, packaging, and other promotional materials.

Your brand also needs to permeate your Etsy shop — for example, by appearing in your shop banner and avatar. You can even communicate your brand by using your tagline and logo on a Facebook page and Twitter feed for your Etsy shop. In this way, you increase the chances of your customers noticing your brand among the flotsam and jetsam of Etsy.