Nike. Apple. Coca-Cola.
They’re three of the biggest and most easily recognizable brands in the world. Their products are high quality. Their consumer base is loyal. But they didn’t get to the top of the heap by sheer luck. They got there with the help of a secret sauce called brand equity, and brand equity is what continues to give them (and thousands of brands like them) staying power.
Brand equity describes the perceived worth of a brand. It’s a combination of what customers think of a brand, what their experiences with that brand have been like, and the value of that brand’s products. Brands with positive equity (here we mean stable and growing equity) have quality products with easily recognizable names and consistent messaging in their marketing.
For example, when you’re in the grocery store, positive brand equity is what drives you to purchase products like Band-Aids or Heinz Ketchup over other generic brands that might be just as good or even better. You know their names, you know they’re good products, and it’s incentive enough to buy their product over the other guy’s. That’s what we mean by brand equity.
Brand equity holds a lot of weight for consumers, and consequently, it’s really important for your brand to maintain it. Josh Mendenhall, Pattern’s VP of Creative, says positive brand equity gives your brand authenticity, and it also builds customer awareness, trust, and loyalty.
Authenticity. Positive brand equity shows customers that your brand knows itself, it’s true to itself, and it’s true to its customers. This is what attracts the right demographics to your brand.
Awareness. Good equity makes brands more accessible and recognizable to consumers. Brands like Apple have dialed in their product quality, marketing, and messaging so well that even if consumers haven’t purchased their products, they know about them.
Trust & loyalty. Consumers can trust the product they’re looking at will be the product they get when it comes from a brand with positive equity. They can also trust their product isn’t coming from a counterfeit seller.
When customers trust a brand, their loyalty follows. Nike and Apple are both great examples of this: look at the buzz that surrounds Apple product launches or Nike sneaker releases. Apple and Nike customers will line up around the block for a chance to try a new product because they trust their brand will deliver, and Apple and Nike can add to their product range with confidence knowing their customers will buy whatever they sell.
Good brand equity allows companies like Nike and Apple to try new things and charge more for their products. It can also boost their stock price.
To build brand equity, you need to build customer awareness and trust. One of the most important ways to raise awareness and trust is to make sure your visual content and your messaging are consistent from top to bottom across all channels.
Your brand voice, illustration style, iconography, graphics, logo, typography, colors, models, and photography should be consistent whether a customer’s looking at your social media, your D2C, your ads, or marketplaces like Amazon. This is what makes your brand recognizable.
If you’re using different designs on your channels or trying out different voices, it damages customer trust and renders your brand indistinguishable. Your brand should tell one story, not three different stories, and have a personality all its own.
“Once you’ve locked in on a brand, like how your brand communicates visually, stick with it,” Mendenhall said, “because that’s how people start to know who the brand is.”
Consistency is especially important on marketplaces like Amazon, where customers buy because they know a seller can be trusted. According to Mendenhall, most brands who come to Pattern for help have Amazon listings that look really different from the marketing collateral they produce themselves. That shouldn’t be the case.
Creating style guides is an important step to maintain consistency. These ensure your messaging and content stay true to your brand. Style guides can cover things like your editorial voice, how your logo can be used, what fonts can be used, and more.
Content is only one piece of the pie when it comes to building brand equity.
“Someone said that content is king,” Mendenhall said, “but getting out there—the distribution part of that content—is queen, and the queen wears the pants.”
Companies like Nike, which have an easily recognizable brand as well as high quality product, still need to get that product in front of customer eyes to make a sale.
“Getting it out there in the world, distributing it, that’s really where brand equity gets a lot of value; how many people have seen it, and now not only seen it, but it’s consistent enough that it’s recognizable,” Mendenhall said.
Brands get into the right spaces by investing in focused advertising that meets the customer where they’re at, using good SEO practices to make their products pop up in search results, and then, once the sale is made, providing a stellar customer service experience that customers remember.
We’ve mentioned Apple a lot, and that’s because they’re so good at what they do. Aside from a loyal fanbase, Apple has a clean, minimalist look and voice that’s instantly recognizable in their packaging and their marketing. Consumers know Apple.
Another brand killing it in this space is Target. Target’s bullseye logo is so recognizable they only need to pop a bullseye on an ad or a storefront for customers to identify it. Talk about brand awareness.
One brand Pattern has helped maintain brand consistency across channels is a popular jewelry brand. Consistency is especially important for this brand, because it’s easy for counterfeit sellers to eat their profits.
“When someone sees this brand’s bracelet on a marketplace, it should be recognizable,” Mendenhall said. “It makes it feel like it’s actually coming from the seller or from the manufacturer versus someone who just has a bunch of these products and is trying to hawk them on a different marketplace.”
To make sure the jewelry brand’s products are recognizable, Pattern pulled their branding through all their channels.
“They use a certain type of model, they use certain types of typefaces and colors, the clothing that they wear . . . all of these things are based on the jewelry brand. So when we’re producing content for them, we want it to feel like the brand. We don’t want it to feel like Pattern. We don’t want it to feel like Amazon. We don’t want it to feel like Walmart. We want it to feel like them,” Mendenhall said.
One small way they’ve done this is to make sure the sizing charts in the jewelry brand’s image stack look different than the sizing charts on Amazon so customers know they’re working with the brand directly.
“If we’re going to show a representation of size, we’re going to show it how they show it on their website or how they show it in their catalogue,” Mendenhall said.
Another brand Pattern has worked with is PopSockets, which makes removable grips for smartphones.
“With PopSockets we wanted it to feel just like PopSockets. We used their same types of models. It’s sort of a quirky style, but we use it because we want somebody to know when they’re buying this it’s an actual PopSockets; it’s not counterfeit,” Mendenhall said.
When you look at PopSockets’ branding on Amazon and their website, you’ll note that they both incorporate fun flat lays featuring PopSockets in use as well as PopSockets’ logo and branding. It’s easy to tell you’re looking at the same products.
At Pattern, we work closely with brands’ creative and marketing teams to understand their brand and help them preserve their brand’s equity with consistency and quality creative content. To learn more or ask for a demo of what Pattern creative could look like for your brand, contact us below.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.