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3 Tips for Designing Brand Identity in Retail

Building brand identity when selling retail products can be quite a challenge.

Think of it this way: every time you walk into a store, you have a multitude of different brands that are selling the same product. How, as a customer, should you know which brand of popcorn, laundry detergent, and ketchup to buy when there are so many choices?

You make a choice because of trust: you've used many of these brands before and they fulfilled expectations in the past, so you keep on buying them. This makes the choice easy.

But what about getting new customers? Your target market of unsold customers is larger than your current customer base unless you're a retail behemoth like Coca-Cola and Heinz.

In this article, we're giving you tips on how to distinguish your brand in retail stores so that the customer picks your bottle, rather than your neighbor's, off the shelf.

Your Color Should Match Your Industry

Build Yourself a Story - Be Unforgettable

Don't Discount Digital


Your Color Should Match Your Industry

One way to design brand identity for retail is to make use of color.

Color is a powerful way to convey what your product represents. Think of bright reds and oranges: they're often associated with fast-food restaurants, inexpensive clothing, and technology companies including Apple and Blackberry. Blues represent calmness; it's an easygoing color that many retail businesses use.

One reason why colors have associations is that the colors brands use match the products themselves. McDonald's uses red and yellow - ketchup and mustard (or their famous French fries). Burger King now uses similar colors as well. Apple uses colors that exemplify the product that you are using your iPhone is black and your Airpods are white.

Colors are important in brand identity because they are one of the first things you see when you come across a business. This makes it easy to recognize where you have never been before - all because of their color scheme.

The type of product you're selling is only one place where you can gather inspiration for your retail brand's colors. One place where you can get inspiration for colors includes the emotions you want your customers to feel when interacting with your brand.

For example, if you're starting up an organic soaps business, you might want to choose earth tones like green and brown to create a calming and zen feel for your customers. Alternatively, if you own an Italian food products brand, using red and white to remind you of your favorite times at pizzerias is a good option.

Speaking of Italy, another place you can get inspiration for the color of your retail brand is the country in which your brand produces its product.

There are all sorts of places that bring inspiration for choosing your retail brand's colors.

Build Yourself a Story - Be Unforgettable

Having colors that remind customers of your space is one component of building brand identity when you're selling retail products. Yet one thing you shouldn't forget is, well, being unforgettable.

How is something unforgettable when, especially in retail, you're competing against several similar products?

One way to be unforgettable is by brainstorming what makes your product truly better than the competition, then using brand identity to market it.

What's unique about the product you're selling? Does it come from somewhere that customers at the local retailer don't really buy products from? Does it come from somewhere even more unique, such as your grandmother's recipe?

Brainstorming what makes your product special can help you tap into the emotional side of customers. For example, if you're selling a product that's connected to a family tradition, emphasizing that connection in your branding can tug at heartstrings.

It might be helpful to create a story around how the product came to be and why it's so unique in the market.

You can share the story of your product through short, explicit cues such as mentioning the year it was founded on the front label. Stella Artois writes "Anno 1366" on the front label just above their logo to indicate that their product has very old roots. Not only that, but they also use the word "anno" instead of "founded in" or "year"; this reminds the customer that the beer is so old that it was made at a time when they used a different word for "year"!

Just by looking at that one facet of Stella's bottle, you already know a part of their story.

You can also share your story through colors, imagery, and statements that transcend the product's packaging. Take a look at Royal Crown Cola's classic bottle.

What do you immediately notice when looking at this bottle?

You see a black and white image of an older gentleman, definitely from a different time judging by his clothes. You see font that looks like it was used over a hundred years ago. You even see the occupation of the founder of Royal Crown Cola: pharmacist; this brings you back further to the past since it's been a century since the association of pharmacists making cola was prevalent.

When you look at the Royal Crown Cola classic bottle, you're not just drinking cola, you're also brought back to a different time.

Royal Crown Cola and Stella Artois know how to give you an unforgettable experience. Why can't your retail brand?

Don't Discount Digital

A final tip for building brand identity in retail is having a strong digital presence.

Believe it or not, it's easy to think that your retail brand does not need a strong digital presence. This thinking somewhat makes sense.

If my customers are buying in the store, why do I need to be on the internet?

There are plenty of reasons why you should have a strong digital presence even if you only sell your product in stores.

For starters, having a strong digital presence may increase the hype and mystique around your product. Several brands use digital marketing as a way to hype up a product before they sell it via e-commerce. Why do so many people camp the night before to get a pair of Jordans, a new PlayStation, or the latest Supreme merch?

It's no coincidence that the companies that sell those products, Nike, Sony, and Supreme all heavily invest in their digital marketing.

In addition to drops of merchandise, companies use the internet for building up a community of their customers - and that community of customers can create more customers.

If you're DiGiorno and all you sell is frozen pizza, what's the utility of having a Twitter? So you can post funny memes, have thousands of people share them every day, and potentially get new customers out of that.

DiGiorno and others prove that the internet is a place to get more customers at the store.


Building a retail brand requires much deliberation, but it's worth all the effort.

If you want to brand your retail brand like a professional, reach out to us and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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