Create A Brand From Scratch : Branding & Search

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I have a little something to say about this topic, because I have built 3 of my own successful e-tail brands from the ground up. Each one of these brands were built solely via the Internet. Today, 1/4 of our daily traffic to these sites comes from searches looking for our actual brand name in search. So, this brand creating topic is a big deal and can equate to huge money for those building brand correctly!

Creating An Online Brand From Scratch

It’s a given that powerful brands like Coke will automatically have large numbers of people searching for the company brand name. But, since the executives of Coke are probably not reading this post, the question becomes at what point can you expect to start getting traffic from your brand name? This can be quite a trick, and not necessarily an easy one. You must follow a process that takes time and often times makes the “get rich quick” groupies want to give up rather (no pun intended) quickly!

Trademark and Copyright your own brand

Because web shoppers can easily compare sites selling the same product, you can easily be price shopped right out of business if you happen to be selling a product that 1000s of other people are also selling. One way you can overcome this unfortunate phenomenon is to find a supplier offering a product that you can self brand (or private label) and then trademark. If you are willing and able to actually spend the time, money, and effort to do a custom photo shoot of this product in a unique setting, featuring your trademarked brand name, people will no longer be able to price shop you as easily. Why? Because, they will never find someone else selling your same brand or using the same images.

Scenario 1 – Let’s say you are selling jewelry. Like many others, you found a supplier with a huge selection and their prices seem ok. They are willing to provide you access to their product descriptions and images. You put them on your website with high hopes of making big money. The problem with your strategy is that you are using the exact same images and product descriptions that dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other hopefuls used before you.

Not to mention, the huge duplicate content issues that will arise by using this strategy, and thereby not ranking well on Google. This strategy makes your site very easy to price shop. Guess what? The price shopper will almost always go with the lowest price! The person with the lowest price will generally be the person that has been using this supplier the longest, with the most success (and corresponding leverage to demand better prices) and for those reasons they will get the sale.

Scenario 2 – Let’s say you spend the time, money, and injury to get all of your inventory, take new pictures in new settings, hire a professional writer to come up with new product descriptions, create a new name for your product line that can’t be price-shopped. You will now be brand compared, and not price-shopped out of business. This is where your images, your product descriptions, your website (trust – look – feel) will all come into play. You will have created a brand name that cannot be price shopped. You can be brand shopped, but that is a different story.

In Conclusion:

(Keeping with the example) Now people will be looking for your jewelry brand name and comparing it to Jared, The Shane Co. and other big jewelers online. Rather than comparing you to the thousands of other “Brand X” resellers. Scenario 2 really gives you the ability to create some separation online. If done properly, people will begin searching for your brand name. And now you have the ability to rank and be found for something that you created.

How long does all of this take? It depends on what market you are trying to penetrate, what type of budget you have, and how good you are at what you do! Remember, you can still (and should) be pursuing all of the general keywords related to your industry, but the real money comes when you are able to self brand. You will find that eventually people will be searching for your brand online – and this is where the highest percentage of converting traffic can be found.

Matt Siltala, owner of Dream Systems Media shares his love and passion for SEO and all things social on his Internet marketing blog.  You can follow Matt on Twitter here –

Mat Siltala
Matt Siltala, owner of Avalaunch Media, shares his love and passion for SEO and all things social on his Internet marketing blog.
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  • Toma – Optimizing The Web

    Good points. Creating a product that the buyers cannot find it in other shops is a very good strategy. If people will search for your product you will be most likely number 1 because “how many other companies sell your product ? None”.

    Thank you for this tip,

  • Erin

    Hey Mat, what do you think about someone like me who is a single employee running a face painting and temp. tattoo business out of her home. I can only do some many jobs per weekend so my income potential is limited. I wanted to start selling products of my own whether I resell or not but I did want to start something like “Mom’s Paints” or something like that.
    How would you suggest I do something like this on a small size to start?

  • Gab Goldenberg

    Brilliant bit on differentiation here, Matt. One question I have though, is how can you avoid being a generic brand? This differentiates at the surface, but what makes you better fundamentally?

  • refurbished macbooks

    Very nice post there, what i really liked is what you have discussed in the scenario 2 of the post.

  • Matt Siltala

    Thanks guys for the comments! I appreciate the feedback – to answer your questions

    Erin – I think if you are serious about it taking off you have other options of self branding via social communities and offline marketing, but are limited to local business only (right) – I would still do my best to self brand the company, but do it locally (local seo and branding) and use sites like Twitter to find and promote people in your area that could start to talk about you (and your brand) etc. Hope that helps and gives some ideas.

    Gab – I think as long as you have value and can get people talking about you (writing good reviews etc) I think you have a place. You may not ever be able to be that main stream brand, but I know Malt-O-Meal (generic brand) sells enough cereal to be a profitable company…and that’s what this is about – making money!

  • Anil

    Hi Matt, in Scenario 2, you are so right about content, but don’t you think a small player can cut time/costs for own images by just renaming / resizing / merging / beautifying the original images? The idea is to do it digitally than physically.
    Thanks for your interesting article – appreciate you shared it with us.

  • Tim Tevlin

    Matt the timing of this post for me personally could not be more coincidental . . . my small agency specializes in video SEO and I am on the doorstep of doing a test departure into affiliate marketing for a quality producer of custom jewellery in need of branding and a richer online presence. Loved the distinction you’ve made and the need to concentrate more on an ’emotional’ level relationship with prospects and customers versus being simply price-fished. Thx for the valuable insight Matt.

  • Matt Siltala

    Anil – I have tried both ways and have had better experience when I have created MY OWN brand and by doing so I needed to eliminate anything that even closely resembled anything anyone else was using. For me, it was better to start from scratch and take new photos of the products.

    Tim Tevlin – I am glad the post brought you some value and look forward to hearing about your results! Thanks for commenting!

  • Nick Oba

    So true. What we find is that with a lot of our clients, most of whom are one-person outfits, the easiest and best way to build a brand is to turn themselves – i.e. their person, name and face – into a brand. By putting her name and face on the line, the business owner creates a brand based on personal trust. Very powerful if executed well.

  • Matt Siltala

    Nick – you hit it head on – VERY POWERFUL if executed well. This was my point in a previous comment that I made. I don’t think you will get the results you want if you do it half ass – you need to do it right the whole way! Great comment! Thanks!

  • Max

    Great information. Enso Bottles is about to initiate our branding campaign….I’ve been looking at sites like your for ideas. I think we are unique in that we have a world wide demand for our biodegradable plastic bottle. Our goal is to establish the Enso logo as the standard for earth healthy plastic. I want consumers to look for the Enso logo before they purchase anything with a plastic container and when they see our logo they can know that they are doing something for the environment.


  • Karri Flatla

    Hey Matt – the brand + search blend seems to be an idea picking up momentum in an increasingly over-crowded, bland web space. i.e. Before I even knew about this post, I had read about the idea on Seth Godin’s and Aaron Wall’s blogs. Then I wrote about it on my own blog. And now I’m reading about it here.

    Seems like the value of search eventually comes back around to a basic of marketing: carve out a niche that no one else can replicate and thus your market will see out your brand specifically … on the search engines of course. A tough formula to beat.

    Like your writing, Matt. Cheers.

  • Matt Siltala

    @Max, Glad I could provide some information that helps!

    @Karri Flatla, Glad to be lumped in with those amazing bloggers and individuals! I am glad you like what I have to say … I hope to be able to have time to share more here!