I teach online store owners how to crack the code of eCommerce success for a life of uncapped income, flexibility and fun.
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When I decided to create a podcast on branding, I knew I needed to chat with the lovely Effie Asafu-Adjaye from Beautiful Sparks. Effie is the founder and director of an international brand consultancy, and she has worked with renowned brands like Julique, LVMH, and Victoria Beckham Beauty. She has mastered the craft of helping beauty and fashion brands merge timeless branding principles with digital-first content. In today’s blog, I’m thrilled to share my recent conversation with Effie and bring you her insights on all things brand-related.
Effie’s journey into the beauty and fashion industry is fascinating. With a background in marketing and a stint in state government, it might seem worlds apart from her current role. But it was her fascination with branding and brand strategy that eventually led her to the world of brand consultancy. After gaining experience at branding agencies, she transitioned into in-house marketing roles to witness the real-life impact of brand building. A few years down the line, she took all this experience and established her own consultancy, Beautiful Sparks.
Brand strategy and holistic identities
Effie explained that a strong brand strategy goes way beyond visual elements like logos and colours. Brand strategy is about defining a brand’s holistic identity, understanding its personality and soul. When this work is neglected, you often see brands that focus solely on product features, benefits, and specifications. While these are essential, they are not the only factors influencing consumer choices.
People don’t just connect with products; they identify with brands that share their values, stories, and identity. That’s why it’s vital to define your brand’s essence and personality and weave this into every touchpoint of your brand. Your brand should stand for something beyond what it sells, reflecting who you are, what you stand for, and why people should become a part of your tribe.
Effie’s expertise also extends to brand visual identity. She knows the importance of aligning your brand’s verbal identity with its visual expression. Your visual identity should mirror and enhance the values and personality of your brand. Crafting a brand manifesto, developing a value proposition, and understanding your brand DNA or brand values are all pivotal steps in this process.
A brand’s tone and voice, Effie explained, dictate how your brand sounds in its communication. Consistency is key across all these elements. And it is this comprehensive understanding of your brand serves as the bedrock for creating a powerful visual identity.
Emerging brands and branding challenges
Emerging brands often face a host of challenges, and one significant challenge is dealing with copycats. It’s quite common for innovative brands to be imitated. Effie’s solution is to focus on building a brand that goes beyond product features. By nurturing a strong community and defining your brand’s intangible values, you create an essence that’s challenging to replicate. Copycats might mimic your products, but they can’t capture your unique brand essence.
Copycats can be a source of frustration for any business owner. However, they can also be seen as a rite of passage. It often means you’re doing something right; you’ve caught the attention of others. Effie highlights that copycats tend to burn out quickly as they lack the originality and brand essence of the brand they’re emulating. They’re often perpetually chasing the brand’s progress. So, while they may mimic products, they often fail to grasp the bigger picture or the brand’s values and unique storytelling.
Branding trends as you grow
As your brand grows, you’ll need to collaborate with more professionals, from consultants to agencies. Ensuring that all these external parties are aligned with your brand’s vision can be a significant challenge. Effie recommends creating a brand playbook, guide, or deck. This document formalises your brand’s essence, allowing every team member and external party to work consistently in line with your brand.
One of the e-commerce trends Effie shared was the concept of co-creation. It’s about allowing your customers to participate in the product creation process. Brands can set up advisory panels, customer groups, or social media communities to involve customers in decisions. This creates a sense of ownership and fosters a strong brand community. Customer feedback is invaluable for fine-tuning your products and strengthening customer relationships.
Of course every brand is unique and this is the beauty of running your own online business. But getting your branding strategy and processing right from the very start will make the world of difference as your brand evolves and grow. I hope Effie’s approach and practical advice has encouraged you to dive into the world of branding.
And if you’re looking to elevate your brand’s identity. Remember, your brand is more than just a logo; it’s your story, your essence, and your connection to your customers. Reach out to Effie and her wonderful team at Beautiful Sparks.
Get in touch with Effie and the Beautiful Sparks team at:
This content is part of just one module in my Online Store Success program. In Online Store Success you will learn the foundations of a successful online store so you can scale your business to $100k and beyond. Doors open for the latest version early August 2023, I’ll see you there!
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