Maximising the Potential of your Online Brand

Design | Digital | Google Analytics | Online Position | SEO

Tuesday 25th October, 2016

Each month Big Cat hosts a meet-up where Birmingham’s digital marketing community can come together to learn from our speakers and to get to know other like-minded marketers.

This month the speaker was our very own creative director, Marv Robson. The theme was ‘Building Trust for your Online Brand’. If you couldn’t make it, or just want a reminder, here is the full story…


The presence and reputation of your eCommerce brand is now more important than ever. With over £1 in every £10 now spent online, securing your customer base is crucial. Developing a strong brand name and image has always been important for any business, therefore when internet shopping became such a phenomenon it was a much easier and smoother transition for established high street stores to migrate. Without having to abandon their brick and mortar shops, they simply mirrored their brand values online in-order to garner the trust needed to make their eCommerce platform a success.

However, for newer eCommerce stores that operate exclusively on the internet, this form of longstanding trust can seem something of an impossible dream. You have to build your brand from the ground up. This is achieved through canny marketing, consistent customer service, clear unique selling points and just as importantly, competitive pricing.

What’s important to remember is “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – famously stated by Simon Sinek in his ‘start with why’ TED talk. Essentially consumers don’t just buy products, we buy stories to tell ourselves. And these stories are brought to life and illustrated through your brand projection.

So visually what makes for a trustworthy brand?

There are 4 key components that make up your brand identity – your brand logo, imagery (in the form of photography/video or graphics/illustrations), colour palette and typography (font selections). Getting these elements right from the get go can ensure a successful launch, minimising the chance of squandering the vital trust of potential early adopters.

Your brand logo…


When approaching the design of your new logo it’s important to consider how to define its uniqueness. This can often seem difficult to achieve when it feels practically every good idea has already been done, what’s important to remember here is to not copy your competitors – your audience will see this as cheap and unoriginal. There is also the possibility that you may face legal action. Inspiration can be taken from the unlikeliest of places, so be open and aware of your surroundings and what matters most to you and your business. The most consequential thing is to ensure your logo is a true representation of your business.

Defining your business is essentially dictated by your audience, therefore they should determine the style and tone of your logo. It’s important not to offend or repel your audience, that being said any chance to surprise and delight is encouraged. For instance, if you are running a timber yard it would be easy and often lazy to design your logo in a wood effect font. Don’t waste the chance to inspire, as inspiring people is a great way to build their trust. Ensure you make the most of this opportunity to essentially ‘make your mark’, great logos often transpire colour – being recognisable by their shape and form alone

Finally, you need to ask yourself “does it feel like me, does it resonate with my core values and speaks clearly and truthfully to my audience?”. Test it, share it, gather feedback and ensure you are confident and proud to hang your hat on it.

Your brand imagery…


A simple checklist to ask yourself: is it engaging, relevant and of high quality?

Do your images evoke emotion, add value to your visual presence and hold your customer’s attention? Investing in professional photography will pay dividends towards your trust cultivation, however if using stock photography choose your images wisely. A useful tip when using stock photography is to ensure you manipulate or adapt the image to make it your own. If you yourself are not a designer, ensure whoever is in charge of creating your images adds value to them by making them unique and distinctive.

Do your images reflect your brand? There’s no point having images of snowy mountains if you’re selling beach holidays. This sounds simple but very often people can make bad image choices that don’t resonate with their brand or consumer. However, the easiest way you can lose trust is by bad image quality. If your images are fuzzy, of low resolution or of bad quality then people will quickly lose confidence in your brand. There are many ways to ensure the quality of your images are high without the files being too large (which we should know can considerably slow down your site). Tools such as Image Optim are useful when exporting your image files as ready for web.

Your colour palette…


It’s often best practice to underpin you brand with a core colour. This should be unique to your business, ensuring your key competitors do not share the same. Often choosing a colour that reflects your brand personality is wise. Blues and greys can be seen as very corporate whereas pink and yellow give a more playful and fun-loving feel. If you need help in choosing the right colour for you then consult your designer or simply google colour theory, where there are loads of articles online that can help steer you. The following article by Gregory Ciotti from Help Scout is great for beginners who want to understand the impact a chosen colour can have on your consumers.

You then want to build upon your primary palette with supporting colours that compliment this. These are often used for background design elements that can be used to chunk out your website and form key information into blocks that make them more digestible.

Lastly, pairing these with a contrasting colour helps to highlight important headers or text as well as call to actions such as buttons and banners. A helpful tool to build your palette online.

Your typography…


A mistake often made is the use of too many fonts, this can really discourage the cultivate of trust as it reflects a confused and misdirected band that is unable to make definitive choices. Visually it looks messy and incoherent. When choosing your fonts you need contrast between weights, ensuring there is a visible difference in weighting (how bold the font is) and impact and relevance to each font chosen. For large heading use a distinct font that reflects the brand personality, and then pair this with a legible and user friendly font that is easily read at different point sizes.

How do I establish brand loyalty among my consumers?

Once you have developed your visual identity, the next step is to build upon the other aspects that make up your brand. I’m not wanting to go into too much detail regarding this (as my talents and knowledge lie in creating the visual identity), that being said it’s important to note the essential requirements. It all starts with good customer service as garnering visual trust is only the beginning –  you may walk the walk but can you talk the talk? Ensuring a positive experience from arriving to your site, through to the purchase journey and finally the aftercare (if needed) is all paramount. Every point of communication needs to reflect the brand’s personality and ethics.

However, much time you spend cultivating trust between your customer base, if your products are not competitively priced then they will look elsewhere. Customers are too savvy not to google the products they are after for cheaper. Their decision of who to purchase from will then come down to if they trust the seller and the quality of the after-service they may require.

Social presence is then important in getting your name and the brand values out there, becoming more recognisable. Your audience may not know you directly but if they have heard of you through their social media circles then your customer will be more inclined to visit your site. Ensuring your presence is consistently frequent, with a mix of communications and messages that are not all about self-promotion. Become a personality that they enjoy interacting with, pose questions and opportunities for debate and a chance for them to share their thoughts or opinions to the rest of your customer base.

How do I get my brand noticed?

Following on from social presence… for eCommerce stores to be successful, they must work on building their audience across a multitude of platforms that are frequented by their target audience. The importance of long term SEO strategy is paramount. You can learn more about this in more detail from our resident SEO guru Chris Thomas, his blog on this topic can be found here.

Extending your brand through a variety of social platforms from Facebook to Youtube enables you core following to become brand ambassadors, spreading your brand ethics and values to new potential customers. Give them the tools to do this and they can help cultivate trust for you. This all leads to a stronger search engine presence too. Understanding the way in which consumers search for products and interact with brands is key, as how they do this is changing all the time. Therefore, it’s important to understand your brand needs to be treated as a living/breathing organism. To successfully survive and conquer its environment it needs to adapt and evolve to its surroundings. Success lies in understanding your customers’ behaviours and catering to them.

In summary…

⁃         Begin with the creation of a distinct and professional looking brand

⁃         Establish loyalty through good practice customer service and a competitive offering

⁃         Ensure we are consistently engaging with customers on a multitude of platforms

Putting all these actions into motion will help ensure your eCommerce brand stands out from the crowd, garners trust and builds a loyal and ever-growing consumer base.

The main objective is to cultivate trust because trust is our modern day currency.

Big Cat regularly works with companies to improve and redesign their brands. Check out the branding work we have done with the likes of Transport for West Midlands, Paramount Recruitment and Harper & Lewis.


Thank you to all those who attended – it was great to see so many of you there. Don’t forget to sign up to the next one on Tuesday 22nd November on ‘How to Produce Meaningful Digital Marketing Campaigns’.


Written by Keshia Chauhan Marketing Account Manager

Tuesday 25th October, 2016

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