Physical Branding Best Practices for Your Online Business

Branding was once used to relate to physical things.

After the digital revolution, however, it transferred into digital assets such as smartphones, operating systems, and websites. (the big O), Yahoo!, and the whole nine yards – the digital world took over. Surprised?

Don’t be. Branding still involves the use of physical branding best practices that you, the online business owner, can use to gain exposure.

Several online businesses have already migrated to the physical world. BaubleBar, a fashion startup specializing in accessories, experimented with several different offline store models to appeal to female consumers.

Baublebar Popsugar
photo credit: TheFeistyHouse

The custom shirt creation brand Proper Cloth also opened a brick-and-mortar showroom last year. The startup’s founder Seph Skerrit believed physical preference was necessary for brand establishment, and their goal of to be a leading menswear brand was a tough sell if they only existed online.

Best practices for webpreneurs

With the philosophy of physical branding already setting the tone in digital space, adhering to best practices can drive your brand. The following are few of the measures that can be taken:

Trade shows and exhibitions

AliBaba, the Chinese internet business giant, is perhaps the best example of an internet business utilizing trade shows for branding. Apart from being present in the form of a physical booth at different trade shows and exhibitions (local and global), they also give out branded pens, carry bags etc.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research reveals that 70% exhibition attendees plan to buy a product or more, 76% on average take quotes and 26% sign up purchase orders. 72% attendees say that trade show has an effect on their buying decisions.

Whenever you participate in a trade show, concentrate on marketing materials (business cards, flyers, samples, bags) etc. as they can be a huge hit with the attendees. And to get most from this approach, you can ask for something in return, such as having attendees rate your brand, fill personal credentials and other such favors.

Physical product packaging

The results from the 2013 eCommerce Packaging Survey point towards exciting opportunities for development of consumer loyalty, and among the respondents, 52% are likely to provide repeat business to an electronic retailer that provides premium packaging.

photo credit: Noelas

Physical branding can come in several different forms when it comes to packaging. Using custom shipping boxes for your products allows you not only to protect your products, but also brand those properly.

Colored corrugated cardboard packaging allows businesses to think beyond plain vanilla, and result in a design that makes a memorable impression. Usually providers list different color options such as White/Kraft or Kraft/Kraft.

Likewise, eco-friendly corrugated boxes can also be used for physical branding; your business can be labeled as eco-conscious in the society, which is likely to have a positive impact on capturing and retaining consumers.

Brick and mortar store

Planning to go that extra mile?

Consider investing in a brick and mortar stores as it is perhaps the most significant way to take advantage of physical branding.

Bonobos, the men’s fashion retailer from New York, found after opening stores that their most expensive items sell well offline compared to on the web, because of the way consumers perceived the brand offline.

You can follow similar suite of examples and consider investing in a physical location, especially when dealing in physical products.

Do you believe physical branding is important for online businesses? Feel free to leave comments/ additional suggestions.