Picture the newest Apple product. Now, you’ve probably envisioned something clean, sleek, and cutting edge. Next, think of the last Nike commercial you saw—can you feel the inspiration coursing through you all over again? While both of these brands have a strong reputation in your mind, you connect to them in entirely different ways. The reason? Deliberate brand strategy.
The Apple logo is so recognizable and loved that customers proudly don it on their vehicles, laptops, and water bottles. Within seconds of a Nike commercial starting, viewers immediately know the iconic sportswear company produced it. Just seeing Coca-Cola’s signature red color and font is enough to make many Americans crave a Coke.
These companies have understood who they are, who their customer is, and how to meaningfully connect the two. They’ve been aggressive in protecting their brand and consistently communicating their brand identity.
While we can’t guarantee every brand will become a household name as prominent as Apple or Nike, every company does have the potential to leverage its brand strategy to resonate with consumers and tell a powerful brand story.
Your brand strategy is your company’s approach to building and maintaining a brand that resonates with consumers. Brands may achieve this goal through various means, but the core goal remains the same: creating and communicating a strong, familiar brand that fosters a loyal customer base.
The first step of brand strategy is to mindfully create a brand. We don’t mean creating a product or business—a brand isn’t just a company, logo, color, or name. A brand is how people perceive your company, logo, or name. It’s the implicit feelings wrapped around your product.
To create a brand that resonates with consumers, you should first understand who you are as a brand, who you want to be as a brand, and what your products stand for. You should also seek to understand your customer, what’s important to them, and why they need your product.
Once you’ve established your brand, the next step in your brand strategy should be developing a brand system to ensure you’re successfully communicating your brand identity and values. One way to develop this system is by creating what we call a kit of parts full of different elements—written, visual, and graphic—that reinforce your brand. This may include iconography, typography, voice, colors, logos, and more.
It’s also best practice to provide a style guide, photo guide, brand guide, or other similar established guidelines for anyone who will be creating assets for or representing the brand. These guides should identify each piece of the brand and how they should be executed. Make sure that all employees, partners, agencies, and sellers follow these guidelines.
It’s important to protect your carefully crafted brand on ecommerce marketplaces by avoiding unauthorized sellers who misrepresent you. Incorporating brand protection into your brand strategy and keeping your company tightly managed across all marketplaces will help you maintain your brand’s image and reliability.
Unfortunately, if you’re not on major marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.com, someone else is probably representing you there, and doing a poor job. Like we touched on earlier, your brand is how people perceive your company—and it’s difficult for that perception to be strong when your message, prices, products, and customer service are inconsistent across channels.
As part of your brand strategy, be consistent with your brand’s style, look, and feel. Everything you create, publish, or sell communicates a message, and you want your message to be consistent. (Spoiler alert: the more sellers you have across channels, the harder consistency becomes.)
Your packaging needs to tell the same story in every place your product is sold, whether that be brick-and-mortar stores or online. Your online listings across marketplaces, social media posts, and marketing materials should reflect the same tone and voice. Your typography, colors, and graphic design should be so consistent that consumers can immediately recognize the content they see as yours—the same way the Apple logo immediately communicates a polished, high-tech vibe.
Even while maintaining consistency, you can be creative. It’s possible to veer a bit outside your brand’s lane, so to speak, without getting off at the exit. There are always opportunities to have fun with your brand by experimenting and testing to see if new ideas resonate with the viewer. Doing so helps keep your brand from becoming stale.
At the end of the day, you know your brand strategy has been successful when you’ve connected with your consumer to the point that they understand and recognize your brand and what it stands for.
In part, this means leveraging your brand elements to forge an emotional connection with viewers. People are attached to brands that appeal to their emotions. Even seemingly small decisions, like your font choice and color palette, invoke emotions in your customers. This emotional connection is key to establishing loyalty and differentiating your brand and product from similar ones on the market.
A successful brand strategy also means your brand is familiar and recognizable. You’ll know you’ve executed your brand strategy successfully when a customer briefly sees your advertising, listings, or packaging and immediately knows that it’s from your brand.
The ultimate goal is for customers to share your brand without you asking them to do so. The fact that some Apple customers put Apple stickers on the back of their cars, for example, is a testament to Apple’s extremely successful strategy. You know you’ve built a successful brand when customers love your brand, believe in it, and share it with others organically.
PopSockets, a Pattern partner that sells phone accessories, is a great example of a company that’s nailed the brand strategy. PopSockets’ content isn’t just informative; it evokes fun, happy, and playful emotions. This branding is consistent across all channels and marketplaces. As a brand, PopSockets is aware of people’s need to express their individuality and helps them do so with its products. PopSockets’ products and content are immediately recognizable, and customers remain loyal.
At Pattern, we help brands like PopSockets save time and increase sales by helping them form and execute their brand strategy in a consistent way across channels. We can help your brand develop a brand voice and style that will resonate with customers and turn them into loyal brand ambassadors. These changes won’t just build a loyal following; they’ll also accelerate your traffic, conversion, and profit on ecommerce marketplaces around the globe. Interested in learning more? Get in touch today.
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Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.
And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.
Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.
Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.
Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.
Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.)
To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.
Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.
Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.
Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers.
The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:
Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);
Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).
To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging.
Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place.
It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.
Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.
It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.
By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.
Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.
Pattern’s Accelerate22 event, the global ecommerce acceleration summit, provided a way for participants to learn from each other and leading experts about building a successful ecommerce presence. During our Brand Control and Compliance track, Leslie Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting and an Amazon expert, spoke to attendees about “Bezophobia”—the fear of losing brand control on Amazon. She talked about the importance of having a clear strategy to help you perform your best on the digital marketplace and the fact that achieving that is much harder to do in a 1P Amazon relationship.
With better control, which is more achievable in a 3P relationship, brands can let go of their fears and more richly enjoy the inherent benefits of selling on Amazon. If you think you could have a case of Bezophobia, read below for three important areas every brand should have control over when selling on Amazon.
Pricing is a huge concern for brands selling on Amazon—in most cases, Amazon prioritizes their customers’ happiness and providing a great experience for them on the platform over brands’ best interests. So, they want to offer their customers the best price available at all times.
This seems harmless enough until a rogue or unauthorized seller enters the ecommerce space. They’d like to capture your consumers’ interest as well, and often list your products at a lower price than you’d authorize. When Amazon notices the change, whether on its platform or on another, they drop your listing price to match.
Many brands seriously struggle to raise their prices after events like this occur, leading to what we call the Profitability Death Spiral. As your product prices fall, it’ll be harder and harder to raise them again, especially if you’re operating with Amazon as a 1P seller.
At Pattern, we know brands can’t achieve marketplace acceleration without brand control. So, we partner with econtrol firm VORYs to allow all brand partners to better understand their distribution channels and how to address control problems that ultimately lead to pricing issues.
The next key area of control brands should be focused on is their product selection on Amazon. Leslie spoke about this being a common issue for brands—as mentioned above, Amazon doesn’t see your brand as its top priority.
Many brands provide a certain assortment of their products to Amazon to sell, then find that their expectations don’t match Amazon’s efforts. Leslie has worked with many brands that have believed that Amazon will list, market, and move product the way a brand would if they were managing their Amazon presence themselves.
But, in a 1P relationship, it’s difficult to get true visibility into what’s really going on. If Amazon buys your products without putting the effort in to represent your product selection in the way you think, it can cause big, long-term issues that are very difficult for brands to reconcile.
In Leslie’s experience, this is a brand’s most important area to have control over on Amazon. Your ability to sell products is completely dependent on how you’re able to showcase those products through your content. And, in a 1P relationship, brands lose the ability to have the final say over how their products appear to consumers.
Leslie has seen many cases of brands’ sales dropping inexplicably, only for them to discover that their vendor has made significant changes to product detail pages and other marketing materials, such that they no longer reflect the brand.
Pattern understands how important your brand representation is on digital marketplaces like Amazon. So, when we agree to partner with brands, we provide a suite of creative services to help your products look their best, including a studio team for fully-optimized pictures and videos and an expert advertising team that knows how to write descriptions and copy that really help your products stand out among the competition.
If you’re able to get ahead and get in control of your Amazon strategy, especially in your pricing, selection, and marketing efforts, you have no need to fear the digital marketplace. As an Amazon expert and ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows what it takes for brands to truly succeed, and is committed to helping all brands take charge of their strategy to achieve long-term success.
Set up a call to talk more about Amazon and ways Pattern can help you make the platform work better for you.