Anyone who has been reading my blog for a long time, or better yet has purchased either my Easy Auction Business or eCommerce Magnates video course, will know just how much emphasis I place on BRANDING.
However, some people still view branding as something frivolous… something that you can do if you have the money and business is strong, but certainly not something that’s necessary.
I disagree with this completely! I view branding as an integral part of my online businesses, and creating my own brand products is my no.1 strategy for building real, profitable, and sustainable businesses.
But for anybody who’s not completely familiar with the term, what is product branding?
Well to put it simply – it’s when you take an unbranded product, i.e. a product that doesn’t have a brand, logo, company etc. shown on it, and YOU brand it – either the product itself, the packaging, or as in most cases both.
This in effect creates a completely NEW product which you own and can sell online, be that on eBay, Amazon, or your own ecommerce store.
But I know that some of you will now be wondering “why?”
After all, branding a product will add to the cost and it really doesn’t add any practical value… so it’s a waste, right?
WRONG! Premium packaging adds to your brand and increases the perceived value of the item you’re selling.
Perceived value is something I actually mention quite often, particularly in my video courses, but it’s still something that most small time eBay sellers complete ignore – despite the fact that it’s honestly one of the most important factors in creating a real brand and business.
Just look at some of the world’s top companies… Apple are in fact a perfect example. Some of their products cost a fraction to produce in comparison to some of their competitor’s offerings, yet the perceived value (among consumers!) for Apple products is unparalleled.
This is all down to their brand and you simply can’t create a brand with an unbranded product!
The other big benefit to branding, which I briefly mentioned above, is that you create a unique product and this helps hugely with comparison shopping, where the buyer simply chooses the cheapest option, as it’s much harder to compare two different products – even if that difference is only the branding.
When you have your own unique product, then you’re in charge and can set what kind of brand you want to be and therefore what kind of prices you want to charge (within reason of course) – rather than just competing with 100s of other sellers offering the exact same products at the exact same prices.
Okay so we’ve now covered the what and the why, let’s move on to the how of product branding.
You basically have two main options for product branding:
- The manufacturer brands the product for you
- You brand it yourself, in house
Now all things considered, it’s usually a much better option to have your manufacturer brand the products for you, due to a number of benefits it provides:
- Faster turnaround – they can brand the products during the manufacturing process and they’ll be shipped to you ready to sell, instead of you having to start branding when you receive your order.
- Better technology – unless you’re investing serious money into this, then it goes without saying that your supplier will have access to the better tools and equipment needed to properly brand your product.
- Cost – though it depends on the product involved and what level or branding is required, you’ll usually be asked to pay an initial, one off fee if you ask your supplier to brand your products. This is completely normal and it’s simply to cover their costs in setting up the printing, creating plates etc.
After you’ve paid that fee, then provided you’re meeting their minimum order quantities, manufacturers will usually brand your products for FREE. Yep, that’s right – you get all the benefits of a custom branded product without even having to pay a single penny more!
However, this is assuming you can match the minimum order quantity (MOQ) for OEM orders. And that brings me perfectly on to the one time when I would consider looking at in-house branding – if it’s my only choice due to a lack of buying power.
But please don’t go straight for this option; speak to your supplier and try to negotiate – remember that Chinese companies do usually have some leeway, especially if they view you as a valuable customer. So ask them to brand your products even if the order size is below their normal quantity for OEM… you could even offer to pay a little bit more to make it worthwhile (as that’ll most likely still be way cheaper than what it would cost you).
Now once you’ve come to an agreement with your supplier for the product branding, you need to give them a few things:
- Your brand name
- Your logo
- The packaging design
So if you don’t already have these things, then it’s time to get them!
BUT, and this is an extremely important point – you need to spend some money here in order to get top quality design!
Please don’t cheap out and get a logo from Fiverr. The whole point of branding your products is to increase the perceived value – not decrease it with a crappy brand name and low quality design.
Let me give you a few examples so you can see what I mean.
Here we have a classic example of poor branding.
There is no brand name at all on the main packaging, but this may actually be a blessing in disguise because we can see from the microfiber cloth that it is “italkonline”, which is completely meaningless and forgettable.
Overall the design is frankly terrible! The packaging consists of the words “tempered glass screen”, 4 generic screen protector graphics that aren’t explained, and a bizarre zoomed in blue face with headphones and glasses.
Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to bash on this product for no reason. I’m just trying to illustrate how much damage poor branding can do!
Now let’s flip it take a look at a few other examples from the exact same Amazon search:
These two are much better attempts – the design is clean and professional looking, making me believe the product is of a higher quality and therefore worth more money.
In fact, while we’re on that subject, can you guess what each of these products sells for on Amazon?
Well the italkonline screen protector costs £0.97 delivered.
The ESR screen protector costs £4.99 and the Ailun screen protector costs £3.99
I hope you’re starting to understand the importance of good product branding!
And the second two examples still have a lot of room for improvement – mainly in regards to their brand names which don’t mean anything at all and are very easy to forget.
I’ll show you two more examples (again, from the exact same search on Amazon) of a brand name that ties in perfectly with the product itself and conveys something to your buyers!
The packaging here is understated and simple, with the focus resting completely on the brand name and logo, which works well.
This screen protector sells for £2.46 but it’s not tempered glass, but rather normal PET film, so it’s actually a premium price for what is generally considered to be an inferior product. And guess what, they’ve sold thousands upon thousands of them (there are currently 3300 customer reviews)!
And last but not least we have this example from “Tuffskinz”.
The brand name itself is self-explanatory and once again it actually means something in relation to the product, and the packaging is clean and professional with a couple of nice extra touches to make it stand out – such as the shield logo.
Once again this isn’t a tempered glass screen protector, but the much cheaper normal film, and they only give two in each box!
So what price are they charging?
£5.35 – much more than any of the other examples, but they’ve got nearly 2,300 customer reviews and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5.
The power of product branding!
I really hope these examples have illustrated my point and convinced you of the importance of getting quality branding designed.
- No Fiverr
- No using a friend who’s “okay at photoshop”
- No doing it yourself
- And no budget designers
Sometimes in life you get what you pay for, and good quality design is one of those times.
So what are your options?
Well, I have two excellent suggestions, depending on your budget.
Upwork (formerly Elance) is by far my preferred choice when it comes to online freelance sites, as though it can be a bit more expensive than some of the others, the quality of designers makes up for it. There are countless designers on Upwork who have a terrific portfolio of packaging design work, so you really can’t go wrong posting your job there and choosing from one of them.
- Online Design Competition Sites
In case you’re unaware of these sites and how they work, you basically post a design job (say a logo for example) with a set award amount for the winner, and then many designers will attempt the job and you’ll choose which one you like the most.
“But Andrew, isn’t that the same as Upwork!?”
No, there is a very important difference! While on Upwork designers will submit their bid to you, on these design competition sites they’ll submit actual designs – i.e. they’re doing the work beforehand.
That way you get multiple designs to choose from.
There are a number of different options (a lot have appeared in the last few years as the idea has really taken off) but the most well known is 99designs.co.uk so I’ll use that for today.
I did mention above that this option is for people with a higher budget who are willing to spend more to really ensure they get that perfect design, because it’s obviously not cheap to have multiple designers working for you.
But just how expensive is it?
Well that depends on the package that you choose, as there are 4 different ones:
Let’s use the Silver package for our example, as it’s the “best value for money”. Now £499 may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t if you’re serious about building a real brand that will serve you and make you money for many years to come.
Just head to this page and look at some of the completed entries, to get an idea of the quality:
But of course if you have budget constraints, then I’d suggest sticking with Upwork as the value for money is a lot higher there and you can still get an awesome design if you choose the right designer to work with.
It’s definitely not worth cutting into your budget for stock in order to use 99designs instead!
And I think that pretty much brings us to the end of today’s post.
Product branding is my no.1 strategy for creating a real online business where I sell unique products for a good mark-up, instead of competing with countless other sellers to be the cheapest out there.
If that sounds like something that you want to achieve, then you’re at the right place. Use this post, along with my in-depth guide on exactly how to get your product branded and you’re well on your way to creating a real business.
And if you want more help and strategies such as this, then take a look at the UK’s no.1 eBay home study course, Easy Auction Business, a 15 hour plus video course in which I cover EVERYTHING you need to know in order to create a successful eBay business.
As always, if you have any questions then please post them below in the comments section and I’ll personally get back to you within 24 hours, Monday to Friday.
Otherwise, until next time!
All the best,
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Simon Here. Thanks for this great bit of advice. My issue concerns a premature mistake i may have just made. I have been selling on eBay for months now to some degree of success. My products are generic with no branding but they sell reasonably well on eBay. I started encountering a lot of competition so I made a snap decision to sign up to Etsy and now Amazon.
This brings me to my first problem. I am trying to decide whether to try to brand some of these generic products already in stock so I can stand out on Amazon, as I have seen that people are selling the very same products (some branded, some not really). So should I?
Secondly, what is my best way on a low budget to get a few of these products branded. Especially packaging-wise?
Your response would be greatly appreciated.
Yes, if you ask me – you should do it! Especially on Amazon.
As to ways to brand it – I don’t know what the product is so can’t really comment on that. Packaging in small quantities will be expensive, very expensive so if you can’t do at least 500-1000 pieces, it won’t be cost effective.
You can though order those 1000 units of packaging and just keep them in reserve, for next re-orders but usually I recommend branding products in China, by your supplier as it will be cheaper than doing it in the UK.