“Branding is the art of differentiation.. it is the way that consumers identify and experience a product, service, or person, from the look, taste, feel, and sound – a brand is all of those multifaceted parts.”
– David Brier, Rising Above the Noise.
As an Author, selling high-quality products is just as important as selling your brand. Finding success within a marketplace such as Envato, is more than the art and creative work that you produce every day – it’s about developing a unique brand, setting yourself apart from other Authors and learning to run your Envato Portfolio and Profile like a business.
Brand Identity Expert David Brier, believes that a brand is what gives customers a reason to choose you, against others – “It is the art of differentiation.. people need something to differentiate in order to make a choice.”
Like many successful businesses, it is imperative to build a connection and draw attention to your products for customers in a way that is memorable and meaningful – this is the heart of a brand and branding. You need to give people reason to choose you – but how do you identify what makes your business/product unique, and how do you communicate this?
Brand vs. Branding
The first important step is to differentiate brand and branding. Brand Agency, Luminosity explains how a ‘Brand’ isn’t just a logo or product name. It is defined as “the perception of your company, products and services in people’s minds. It’s how people think and feel about who you are as an organization and what you do.”
This can be explained by a simple equation: Brand = Branding+Interaction/Experience.
On the other hand, Luminosity defines ‘Branding’ as “the process of creating, maintaining, strengthening or changing a brand.” It is made up of the strategies and actions used to influence and manage how people respond to a brand and help to create connections with customers, build loyalty and communicate the benefits of a service or product.
Adapted from our previous article on the Importance of Branding, here we explore how to build a strong branding experience for your customers and optimize your profile, portfolio and item pages using some best examples from the Envato marketplace.
Why is Branding Important on Envato?
With a growing number of Authors in Envato Market and Elements, it’s more important than ever to develop your brand using your presence (user profile) and content (items) to stand out from the crowd. The benefits of branding include:
- Envato customers will remember your Portfolio and Profile and Profile and will be more likely to find and use your work in the future.
- Branding will help to communicate your story, your unique aesthetic and how you (and your items) are different from other Authors.
- Branding will represent you as a professional and experienced creator resulting in greater reputation and customer trust.
- It is an opportunity to show and reinforce your quality and value.
- Customers are more likely to become loyal to you and your brand, because you’ve made an effort to connect with them.
- It’s a variable you can control yourself and is relatively quick and affordable to execute.
- Customers may feel an emotional attachment to your work (and future item releases) that may help influence future purchases.
The Keys to Creative Envato Branding
According to Brier, conveying a strong brand requires businesses to explore four areas: Market Research, Internal Audits, Audience Personas and Brand Voice.
First, find your space in the market through research and understanding you can position yourself as a unique product in the industry. This involves an internal audit to analyze where your product fits in. Try searching for similar products to your own in the marketplace to see what’s out there, then ask yourself:
Who are you?
If you really want to be successful, you need to figure out who you are and how to best communicate this. Some of the most popular and successful Authors are those who have a strong sense of self reflected in their profile and products.
Who’s your audience?
It’s important to explore who your target audience is as they will play a big role in your branding strategy. Identifying who your audience will help to target the right people for your product and maximize results, instead of targeting general audiences.
You can do this by mapping out your Audience Personas. This is an important step in market and external research to figure out exactly who your target consumer is and how you can envision who would buy your product. Ask questions around age, gender, hobbies, routines, lifestyles social media platforms etc.
Once you have narrowed it down to your top four personas, you can use this information to determine what kind of elements to incorporate into your brand including the language, tone, design aesthetic, and colors that will draw those specific target personas in.
How do you want to be perceived by your audience?
Ben Matthews, Director of Design at Adobe Spark, recommends creating a light framework to “stay focused on your brand’s mission while researching your developing identity.” It can often be easy to lose track of your brand identity with changing trends and technology. It’s important to stay true to your brand’s core values and think about how you want to be perceived.
Think of a few words to describe your brand, aesthetic and tone – how would you communicate this?
Then ask these questions:
- What are my overall goals and mission?
- What values are important to communicate to yourself and/or your employees?
- How do you want to communicate these internal values to potential customers?
Matthews states – “When you create your core values as a brand.. it ensures consistency. Expectations are set with the business and customer which builds trust and awareness of what is offered from the brand.”
- What qualities do I want customers to recognize in my services and items?
- How crowded is the space? Define your top competitors. What makes them successful/unsuccessful?
- How can I differentiate my product? What are the benefits of my product over my competitors?
As you begin to answer these kinds of questions, you can start to get a better idea of who you are and how you want to be perceived. This is the foundation of your branding strategy.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of the Branding Guide for Authors, which explores what you need to know around visual branding and examples of some of the best branding examples on Envato Market. In the meantime, check out these awesome branding resources below to help get started.
- What Is Branding?
- How to Define Your Core Brand Values (And Why You Should)
- Online Brand Development: 7 Web-Savvy Steps to Growing Your Business
- Brand Voice: How the Right Tone of Voice Can Boost Your Business
- You, Incorporated: Defining Your Personal Brand