Yeah, so we’ve heard all about building our boutique’s brand and how important it is and yada yada. When it actually comes down to sitting and “building” the brand, we feel stumped. Brand building is as laborious as it is a fun process. It’s how easy or difficult you make it to be. But betchya, without a brand, you ain’t going nowhere in your business. So here I have 5 different tools(online/software) that come in handy in carving out that perfect image of your business to your audience.
It goes without saying that you cannot build your brand with only 5 tools. But the ones i’m about to mention belong to 5 different categories, which all equally contribute to your brand. Once you know what they do to help your business, you can find replacements or more similar tools to ultimately help you build and manage your boutique’s brand online. The idea is, you need to stand out online and know what are the tools that can help you do that. There are very basic tools that help you run and manage your e-commerce store, and that’s not what I am recording here (maybe I should do a post on “Basic Tools You Just Cannot Do Without”. Hmm.. ;-)). I would like you to explore these unique tools below that can actually give your brand the edge.
And always remember, if anything’s gotta work, it has to be done tastefully. So with that said, let’s dig in!
Tool #1: For Text and Images
This is a very obvious category, but you may be taking its significance for granted. To nudge you a little and and give you a heads up, I picked this as the first tool that you HAVE to use- Canva. Much has been said about Canva and it’s quite popular among all sorts of designers. Now, you as a fashion designer may have some use for Canva as it can help you do so much for your brand what your clothes may not be able to do.
Use Canva to bring your brand to life with text and images. Text and images which are creatively displayed to your audience. Text and Images which tell a story and evoke emotions and feelings. It takes your brand beyond just a name- it adds colour and dimension to what you do. For all your content creation needs, for all contact points with your customers, the text and images you use will decide where your brand stands.
Canva is a free and easy substitute for the more advanced Photoshop. On the same plane, you have Pixlr which is literally an online Photoshop, but it officially isn’t. All these tools will get you where you need to be with your brand in terms of content. So the next time you need to jazz up your content and communications a bit online, don’t forget this #1 tool.
Tool #2: For interactive images
Now have you heard of this one?! Technology can get crazy, don’t you think. Gone are the days of static. Now it’s the time of dynamic. everything is dynamic or interactive. You get to bring the child out in you and play with stuff. It makes anything that much more interesting when it is interactive. Do you think your customers would like it? Then try ThingLink.
Now what ThingLink does is, put some button upon a boring static photo on your online property and gives the viewer a chance to perform many actions right then and there. You can make your images very informative using ThingLinks icons, so your readers don’t have to scroll through drones of text to understand your product. You can make any dress look glamorous by adding so many extra details to a photo with as little as small icons.
In addition to that, you get to ask your users to do social sharing right at that particular image they are staring at. Sounds interesting? Head over to ThingLink to learn more. (Psst, it starts with a FREE plan!)
Well, if you do not want your images do the talking, but would rather have dedicated staff helping out your customers, then a live chat is the way to go. Choose from widgets like PureChat to integrations like LiveZilla. If you have some budget, you can blindly go for Livechat.
How interactive content is helping your brand is, it shows you care for your customers (since it is making content easier for your consumers to consume), shows you are tech savvy and builds on a fun and authoritative image for your business.
Tool #3: For Fashion Content Creation
You know, I may have just cooked up the term “fashion content”. But gals, seriously, I know you would agree with me if I said Lookbooks and magazines are very characteristic of Fashion (& fashion businesses). There is NO way you have an e-boutique and don’t have lookbooks or magazines to support it. You know all the big brands are doing it.
Expensive, you point out. Cat’s out friends, Issuu is FREE! Coming in close is Magazooms. If you are ready to shell out a few notes, then the ultimate would be Zmags. You may even consider Uberflip (uber-expensive!). Nothing too expensive that it can’t do for your brand in much bigger ways.
A brand is known by what it portrays and how it does it. Be a step ahead by having a digital catalog for your digital boutique.
Tool #4: For Influential Outreach
What’s a brand without its marketing campaigns? Oreo, RedBull, Coca Cola are all know for their marketing campaigns. In the fashion space, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton are very well known for their everlasting presence in media. Don’t you think your business needs some outreach to build its brand?
So we have a tool exactly for that! It’s mostly a website called Triberr. It is a platform where influential bloggers hang out. This is a great place where you can get to know them as well as get them on your team to run some marketing campaigns for your brand. They will promote your brand to their audience (which will be quite large) and exposes and builds your brand. BlogDash is one other place you can join hand with influential bloggers, but it is an expensive option. A word of caution- do your research on them and analyse what they can do for your brand before approaching them or signing a deal.
Influential outreach is one step many businesses forget to take, and try doing it own their own. If you are ready to do all the heavy weight lifting yourself, then ignore this tool.
Tool #5: For Social Media
What’s your brand if it isn’t all over social media? People are interacting, sharing experiences and making or breaking a brand everyday on social media. You know very well, social media has long become a necessity for online businesses. The only way you are going to stop hearing crickets chirping and get your cash registers ringing is if you effectively start managing your brand on social media.
You know that. So enough said. But how tough is it? We know that only too well. That’s why I make it a point to mention IFTTT here, which is your social media robot master. It is a signal that the technology era is here, and you can sit back and relax while the machines take over. In simple words, create content (text and images) using the tools mentioned above, reach out to influencers in your industry and then use IFTTT to post your content to as many channels (social media outlets) as you want while you are sleeping.
Set it and forget it (though not highly recommended!). But it takes the pain off your shoulders by cutting down the number of browser windows you have to open and the amount of clicking you have to do while posting it at each channel.
Take a look at IFTTT and the numerous other social media management tools out there. Your brand is worth a fortune if it makes it big on social media.
Oh, and as an aside, you should check out Pinstamatic. It’s a great tool to help you with your Pinterest content, and since you are building a fashion brand, Pinterest is by all means your No.1 priority social media channel.
With that said, it’s time to start building a brand now. You have the tools in front of you. Maybe you just need a plan? 😉
* If you do need a plan/strategy, just let me know in the comments. I will draw up a post on that!