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A Comprehensive Guide to Retail Branding in 2023

Updated: Dec 6, 2023


A retail store displaying constant colour scheme and tone for branding

The retail industry is an integral part of Singapore’s economy. As of April 2023, it contributes to about 1.4 percent of the local economy and is responsible for providing about 3 percent of jobs island-wide.


Retailers have traditionally occupied physical stores, but with the advent of the internet, many retail businesses have moved online.


These days, brick-and-mortar retailers exist alongside online retailers and mobile retailers who ply their trade on various e-commerce platforms or websites.


If you run a retail business or are planning to start one, it is crucial that you understand all the aspects of running a retail business. A deeper knowledge of retailing will help you better plan and execute success strategies for your business. One aspect of retailing that business owners should be well versed with, is retail branding.



Retail Branding: What is It?


Branding is a word that many consider common and overused. However, it remains largely vague and poorly understood by the general public. The concept of retail branding is defined as the creation of a set of features by which your retail brand is known.


It is the image of your brand that stands out to the public, and the one that they can relate to the most. To solidify what branding means, let’s look at an example.


Let’s consider Starbucks, one of the most recognisable coffee brands in the world. Whenever anyone mentions morning coffee on the way to work, the image of a green mermaid on a paper cup springs to mind.


In effect, they have made their brand resonate with coffee drinkers who work corporate jobs. Their branding is further enhanced with their brick-and-mortar stores, designed to fit the lifestyle of working professionals. These comfortable and modern cafes are often used for meetings, and plug points are provided for individuals to work conveniently.



Retail Branding vs Retail Marketing: Key Differences


Both retail branding and retail marketing are crucial for the success of your business. However, there is often confusion between these two concepts. Before we proceed to present some effective branding strategies, let’s examine how these two terms differ.


In short, retail branding involves solidifying your brand’s identity. It is the company’s mission, values and what it stands for. These are the identifiers that will set you apart from other competitors.


On the other hand, retail marketing encompasses campaigns, strategies and techniques employed to promote a company's brand and identity to its consumers. The end goal of marketing is to convert inquiring members of the public into paying customers, and eventually garner their loyalty.



Tips on Branding Your Retail Business


A comprehensive guide to retail branding would not be complete without practical tips on how you can brand your business. Impactful branding helps you leave a strong impression on customers, thereby growing your business more effectively.


Present a Consistent Message


There are several branding elements you have to craft early on in your business. These include your brand name, brand logo, colour scheme, tagline and tone of voice. These initial branding elements shape how your customers perceive your products or services.


As a rule of thumb, these branding elements should be consistent across your various marketing campaigns and platforms, whether you’re employing social media, paid media, or print media.


They should influence the way you carry out public relations and customer relations. It is important to have a cohesive voice across the various platforms as consistency builds brand recognition. Additionally, it builds trust and credibility with your audience, as it conveys professionalism and attention to detail.


Additionally, you also want to ensure that your products and services adhere to a consistently high standard in terms of quality and presentation.


Take for instance Coca-cola, the international soft drink brand. Regardless of which country they sell their beverages, the taste remains the same. Yes, their packaging may be redesigned in the local language script, but their signature colours and font remain consistent. This gives consumers the impression that Coca-Cola respects their local culture, but still delivers the same great taste.



Change with the Times


Branding is never a stagnant exercise. The most successful brands will always keep a finger on the pulse of the latest trends and changing social dynamics. Businesses that have survived for generations are known to go through rebranding every decade to keep them current and relevant.


As a retail business owner, you should also be keenly aware of what's currently attractive to your target market. Leveraging these trends can make you stand out from the competition and leave a deeper impression.

Additionally, you should also be sensitive to current issues, both locally and internationally. Take for instance supermarket chain Whole Foods, a subsidiary of Amazon with over 500 stores in the United States.


When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and lockdowns were imposed, the number of walk-in customers dropped significantly. To cut losses, they turned a portion of their stores into dark fulfilment centres. These stores were not open to customers and only allowed staff members to pack customer orders for pickup and delivery.


Whole Foods instead focused its resources on its online order platform, strengthening and expanding the system.



Create Personal Experiences


When it comes to retail branding, nothing leaves a lasting impression better than a human touch. To create an impactful brand is to craft memorable human interactions for your customers. This means providing premium customer services to everyone who interacts with your brand.


Impeccable services include efficient and professional handling of online and in-person inquiries. If you have a physical store, your customers will remember how they were treated there too. The way you handle customer feedback and difficult customers will also contribute to your brand reputation. Therefore, you need to set customer service standards very early on in your branding exercise.


Make information easily available to customers, and offer customised memberships, rewards, bonuses and promotions to make them feel appreciated too. All these will contribute to building long-term customer loyalty.



Your Retail Branding Matters!


When you start branding your business, there’s a lot of thought that should go into developing your identity. Don’t rush this process. More often than not, business owners don’t get their branding right the first time.


Branding is a dynamic process and your brand should be refined and adjusted as your business expands and encounters varying circumstances. If you would like a more structured course on retail branding and marketing, TaF.tc offers a suite of retail digital marketing courses. Here, you’ll find the technical support you need to begin increasing awareness of your brand in today’s competitive online marketplace. Contact us today and speak to one of our consultants for advice on how to elevate your branding efforts to the next level.


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