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Humanising your ecommerce brand

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 04 Nov, 2014
Essential Essential topic

Why developing an emotional connection through personal branding is essential for ecommerce

shutterstocklightOn a daily basis, the average consumer will see as many as 5,000 ads. The sheer volume of ads is a large reason why many consumers view companies with distrust, believing that they will only take action and speak with only sales in mind.

The reality is, consumers prefer to do business with people, not companies. Personal branding allows your audience to see the human behind the operation.

Why Personal brands?

The most important factor in determining the success of a company is trust. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, your customers do not immediately receive a physical good after they have shopped at an e-commerce store. In order for them to make a purchase from your site, they must be assured that they will receive the product and that it will look the same as it did on the site. They also have to feel safe putting in their credit card number into your site. All of this requires a level of trust that overrides the intangible nature of e-commerce.

While you can partially gain this trust by following industry standards and best practices, it won't set you apart from the thousands of other online stores. In order to build up your customer relations and stand out from the crowd, you need to leverage your company's best asset – yourself.

Creating your personal brand is, in fact, very similar to creating a corporate brand. The most important part: knowing exactly what you stand for and who you are. Be completely honest with yourself. If you're not a charitable person, don't try to position yourself as someone who volunteers and donates money to various organizations. Your audience will find out and your reputation will take a hit that you might not recover from.

Focus on your own core values and show how you live up to these through your personal and professional life. Customers appreciate this level of transparency and honesty and will reward you with repeat purchases and referrals.

Building a solid relationship with your audience is also essential to creating a great personal brand. Social media is an excellent tool that allows you to directly interact with your consumers. Still, you will need to be mindful of what you share and post. Ask yourself if it adds value to your customers and if it properly reflects your own image. Posts that go against your core values or your product will only serve to lower your credibility.

Once you have created a post, either use your personal account to post or sign-off with your real name at the end. Get people involved with your discussions and respond to as many comments as possible. People want to know they are actually talking to a real person. When they see your name or image, they'll form a personal connection with you and your company. As with personal relations, your actions should match your words. If you have amazing follow-through, your customers will not only trust your company but you, as well.

Power of a personal brand

What can a personal brand do for you? Let's take Apple as an example. Today, it is known for its quality build, sleek design, and innovation. However, that isn't the only factor at play. Steve Jobs created a highly effective personal brand that painted him as a perfectionist and visionary and this, in turn, had consumers attaching these characteristics to the actual products. This propelled Apple's forward momentum and helped make the iPhone and iPad one of the hottest gadgets on the market.

More than marketing your products though, a personal brand is something you can always rely on since it focuses on you. You can spend all the time in the world developing your company or product, but if you move on to something new, you will have to start from scratch.

Of course, this comes with some risks. If your and your company's values do not match up, you risk creating mistrust among your customers. As well, you need to maintain consistency across your personal and professional social media profiles and blogs. Otherwise, it will send confusing signals to your customers and they will begin to question your authenticity. Just remember: a personal brand never disappears.

If people trust you, they will follow you to whatever new venture you start. Of course, the opposite is true as well. If you've been dishonest to your consumers, they will avoid your future businesses or products.

Get noticed

Since 1997, personal branding has become a common tactic used by small and large businesses alike. Now with the Internet and social media, it is becoming even easier to spotlight the individual people who keep a company running. In order to rise above your competition, you need to study your marketplace, see what works for them and then put a different spin on it.

The goal here is to highlight your areas of expertise as well as your uniqueness. See how you can use the different platforms to your advantage and make sure that your audience knows exactly who you are with the help of photos and videos.

You won't see the effects of your personal brand overnight. In fact, it might take several months to see any results. Of course, first you need to make sure that your product is up to snuff. No amount of excellent branding and marketing will fix a broken product. If you’re just starting off with a new company it might make sense to create a brand name that melds with your own personal brand. If you can’t come up with a name, a brand name generator can help you brainstorm ideas

Image/Copyright: Shutterstock
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