I’m committed then, to the idea of creating a brand to sell something I’ve produced (read about the germ of an idea in part #1). Using my design skills is a no-brainer.
Exactly what I sell will inform the brand. What should that be? I know it needs to tick a few boxes:
• Minimal or No Stock – Perhaps outsourcing stock holding elsewhere?
• Not Cheap – I’d rather manage smaller numbers of high-value customers than lots of low-value ones.
• Wide Market – Nothing too niche, the product should have a generous target market.
• Enjoyable – The work needs to be good fun!
The plan here is a fun, profitable sideline, not a main business. I’ve no desire to manage a warehouse in my small terrace, I’m tripping over enough stuff as it is. Digital products could answer this, storing noughts and ones is much easier than actual stuff. Maybe I could outsource warehousing and other logistics to a third party or it could be an “on demand” product, Printing something as it’s ordered rather than holding hordes of items?
Stock also costs money, I’m not sure I want to tie too much of my modest cash flow into a bunch of stock products.
I’m reluctant to go into digital. Beyond knowing what that could actually be, the idea of protecting digital assets feels too much of a mountain to climb. Without some pretty hardy security, digital products, if in demand, can quickly find themselves in other distribution channels than just your own.
There are a few options to warehouse and arrange delivery with fulfillment houses, but I suspect they’re more costly than I’d like. There’s also plenty of places that will print your own artwork onto products and sell them for you. Sites such as www.society6.com will handle almost everything for you. You upload your artwork, choose what it should appear on from posters and canvases to cushions and iPad sleeves.
The site does everything else, handling payments, production, and delivery. They even do some marketing, although there’s an onus you the artist to also promote your own products too. It’s all very slick and quite enticing until you start playing with the profit slider. To keep items competitive with other artists on the site, whose work is linked from your own, you need to keep your own cut of the process pretty modest. You’re also stuck with their pricing structure, you can’t negotiate better prices or scout around for alternative suppliers.
There’s other Print on Demand (POD) suppliers too, though most are less comprehensive than Society6, TeeMill for example, specialise in T-Shirt printing on demand. They have a smart system similar to Society6 but they provide you with a bespoke website URL, so your competitor’s brands are one step further away.
Customer service should be a key part of your brand. Consider a time when you’ve received bad customer service. It might just have been one member of staff in a supermarket or a really bad service on a telephone helpline. I’m sure you’ve retold that experience to friends and family, warned people off using the company involved, perhaps if you tweet you’ve told the whole world about what happened?
Great customer service needs effort, especially as your customer base grows. Now if the plan is to “pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” then you’re looking for a lot of customers. Lots of customers means more customer service.
Not that I don’t want to sell a lot of products, but I’m much more comfortable with selling fewer products for a good price, allowing me to focus on serving these customers well.
I’m saying wide market rather than mass market because I definitely want this brand to have a specific target market (whatever that will be) and I don’t want it to be niche. I don’t want to appeal to a small slice of the world or a specialist market. I want it to be popular, I want it to be a brand people talk about, share on social media and ultimately purchase from!
That feeds into keeping it all manageable customer service wise.
I love to design, I’m incredibly blessed that I get to do that for a living. I enjoy the process of branding and I’m looking forward to how this brand will develop. That’ll be my brand is even more exciting, something I can put myself into fully. It’s important to me that this excitement and enjoyment remains. I want this brand to stay fun and interesting post launch and for years to come.
I wasn’t initially sure how “brand” relevant this post was going to be. However, typing up my thoughts and assessing some of what’s key in the brand for me has been useful. I think those 4 key caveats will come to inform some of the core beliefs in the new brand and referring back to them later one should prove interesting.
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Kieran Harrod is a Creative, Professional & Reliable Graphic Designer skilled in branding, print and web design, with bags of integrity.
Based in Derby, UK, Kieran set up his own business in May 2011 after practicing design since 1997 including 7 years as an in house designer and marketing manager for the UK arm of a multinational. Get in touch to get something designed for your business.
…we would like to thank you for all your hard work and patience in designing the new IPC website. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and people think it looks excellent.
So thank you.
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