Have you ever thought about the influence of branding on your purchase decisions? Once you start noticing it, you realize just how powerful it is. Why would people pay hundreds (or more) for a pair of red-bottomed Louboutins when you could get a pair of black heels at Payless? Why are people willing to buy anything more expensive than the grocery-store brand products when they’re practically the same? Did you know that Champagne and Crémant are the same product, but anything grown outside the Champagne region can’t use the name, so the Champagne growers can charge you double, triple or more just for their name?
When I see how much branding influences me (I’ve even caught myself not wanting to buy a product I’m used to because I don’t like their new labels!) it inspires me, because I see how much I can impact my own brand. People will know within a few seconds of viewing your product whether they want to buy it! So once you’ve found your product, you need to thinking about how you’re going to brand it, because it’s important to put your logo onto it and think long-term about how you can build your brand.
Here is what I took into account to get some momentum going with building my brand:
Choose a Name
You CAN change this later, so don’t stress out too much about it. I know how easy it is to get “analysis paralysis” and overanalyze everything and get burnt out. But whatever name you choose, there are three boxes it needs to tick: it can’t be taken on Amazon, you need to be able to trademark it, and you need to be able to make a website. I’ll also discuss a few ways to come up with a unique name!
1. Is it Available on Amazon?
All you need to do for this one is use the search bar on Amazon. The search pulls up products AND sellers! If it’s available, great! Move onto the next step.
2. Is it Already Trademarked?
This is important not only for the future opportunity of trademarking your own brand name. You also want to avoid stealing someone else’s! It varies by state (and country), but in Texas where I currently live you can look at the Secretary of State website and I’m certain every state and country has a database you can search to make sure you’re not breaking any laws. Be careful that your name isn’t deceptively similar to another brand’s (like “Wall Mart”) or you could be breaking the law. It doesn’t hurt to google search your name as well and see what comes up!
3. Is the Website Available?
You will want to make a website at some point in the future when your brand is booming on Amazon. It’s not the first thing to do, but you want to make sure it’s possible. Do a quick domain name search (for example, on Google Domains) and make sure it’s not only available, but also not one of the premium domains that sell for thousands or even millions per year. As you can see below, if you want to call your brand PuppyoMatic your website is available! If your name isn’t available but it ticks the other boxes (for example, my brand name is taken as a .com website because it redirects to another brand) then you could try adding your niche onto the brand name when you search, like chirpybirdfeeders.com instead of chirpy.com or adonissupplements.com instead of adonis.com.
Design a Logo
This part is easy! If you’re more talented than I am maybe you’ll design your own, but I LOVE Fiverr because its creative freelancers have made me many beautiful designs for $10 or $15 a piece. Just tell them what industry it relates to and give them a feel for what you’d like and they’re sure to come up with something great. Once you’ve made a bit more money to reinvest or if you’re okay with spending a little extra for a better outcome, you can try a design contest at 99 Designs and get a top-grade outcome. If you’ve got a product that comes in a bottle or box, you may want to invest the money in the beginning, because that’s the first thing a customer will see and you want to make a good impression (my product only requires a tiny logo so it was of less importance).
So now you know what requirements are must-haves, what should you do to pick the perfect name? As you’ll likely discover, a lot of names are already taken. I got inspiration by looking at what names I love of products around me. They are relevant to their industry or generic enough to fit several, fairly short, and memorable. Some of them combine words. Some of them are named after historical figures. The example I gave in the Amazon search of the brand Etekcity is great (that’s not my brand!); it’s short, combines words, but unique enough to make it memorable. If you browse Amazon for a little while you’re sure to find some inspiration!
Okay, this isn’t totally related to branding, but once you’ve established a brand you’re officially on your way to being a business. Now you need to start keeping track of your expenses and income for taxation purposes! I like GnuCash, it’s a free open-source accounting software, and I’m absolutely terrible at it but it does the trick. I’m not in a position to need anything fancier. I keep Excel spreadsheets as well but I’m a bit paranoid about my spreadsheet getting corrupted or disappearing so I like to have a back-up plan. Don’t let yourself get into the situation where tax time comes around and you’ve completely lost count of all your spending! It’s so much easier to write down everything as you go.
I hope you manage to come up with a great idea for a brand name and logo. As I said earlier, don’t stress about it too much, because you could change if you needed to (although it’s easier not to). Run the name by a few friends and ask for their initial impression!