Branding is in the limelight. You might call it the current trend, though branding can't really be considered a trend, so it's probably more correct to say Amazon sellers are taking an increasingly brand-view approach to their business.
Conventional wisdom for Amazon sellers, in the past, had more to do with strategies for marketing and sales of specific products, without necessarily taking a holistic view of the overall brand that went beyond immediate sales. That's changing. Mentors, coaches and experts on Amazon, and Sellers themselves, are finding that branding matters. Beyond simply putting a label on a product.
If a business is an entity, a brand gives it its identity. A business without an identity might do well, it might pull off some short-term successes, but with an identity it's built to go the distance. Even if taking the time to develop the identity costs a few quick, early successes, that time spent on your brand pays dividends in the end.
Consider a pair of people as an example. They're entities. One runs around doing odd jobs, as many as possible, for a reasonable fee. The other takes time to become proficient at specific tasks, advertising as a professional, cultivating relationships with positive experiences and attention to detail, learning and becoming proficient at new tasks, gaining a reputation for quality work of a particular category ...
In the long run the second person is building a sustainable business, one that will thrive and grow larger -- almost as a matter of course. It has a clear identity. Inertia will eventually build it, even without additional effort, as long as that core branding is maintained. The person doing the odd jobs may never gain a reputation, and will likely always be hustling just to stay afloat or break even.
How much better if that same hustle was instead doubling your business every quarter? Tripling?
A strong brand awareness can do that for you. Not to say you can't, or shouldn't work both angles. Playing the short game to make sales, with an eye toward the brand you're building, is certainly a way to get going. The important point is to be clear on your business's identity, and align all actions to your brand.
So, what's a brand?
One definition for brand is:
The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets.
That's the symbolism of branding. Here, however, we're talking about, as we said above, a holistic view of your entire corporate identity. Your company name is "X", your logo is "Y", but that's not the end of your brand. In many ways it's only the beginning.
From your corporate culture to the products you produce and deliver, to your marketing voice and your approach to the customer experience, branding is all about ... well, everything. It's who you are, your company, and it goes beyond names and logos.
Think Mercedes. You can probably come up with a dozen things that make Mercedes who they are, beyond the name and that tri-star logo. They have an entire culture, a mystique; they even have a style and sound to their commercials that's instantly recognizable. Mercedes is a brand .
Speaking of their logo, fun little tidbit; according to the company, that logo represents the automaker's drive toward universal motorization with its engines dominating the land, sea, and air. That's the three points. And that's just the logo. But in the case of Mercedes, that's how deep their branding goes.
There's no reason you can have a little fun with your business and take it that far. You'd be surprised how that level of consideration can manifest itself in your customers' overall perception and, ultimately, in your success.
A good brand embodies many facets. But it begins by determining your focus.
Mercedes is focused on vehicles. Other companies might be focused on vehicle accessories. Those are what you could call product categories. What does your company make? That's one possible focus.
Another is market. Who does your company serve?
You might therefore divide brand focus into:
As an example, you might choose to make your brand focus kitchen items. Or maybe a little more broad, and sell items for the home. Or maybe you offer a variety of items, but of a certain quality or uniqueness. Think Brookstone.
In the case of markets served, maybe you provide products for school kids. Or the elderly. Or maybe outdoorsmen. Etc.
You could even pair them. How about kitchen items for outdoorsmen? Talk about niche.
When you find that focus you'll know it. It will fit, it'll feel right. You can then begin to align your brand around it.