How you can capitalise on it for your e-commerce brand

The key to any successful brand lasting the distance is recognition. Whether it’s a skinny yellow ‘M’, or curvy white type on a red-labelled bottle: a powerful brand will be recognised within a fraction of a second.

Great, so you’ll get yourself a logo and put it on everything you do and you’re done. Wow, that was so easy…

As you might have guessed, it’s not quite so simple. Successful branding works on a much deeper level than many logo designers would openly admit. The good news is that this means international powerhouses and SMEs, alike, are able to apply the same techniques to a similar effect. It comes down to human psychology and appealing to the senses, finding what triggers make it easy for consumers to identify your brand.

First and foremost: the visual

This is hands-down the most influential aspect of a brand’s success, with 92.6% of consumers stating that ‘visual interest’ affected their purchase decisions. If you look more deeply, you find that colour is the leading visual trait, boosting brand recognition by up to 80%.

Take a moment to consider your favourite brand and its colour scheme. If the brand’s marketers are any good at what they do, it will be difficult for you to imagine them any other way. After all, what is Tiffany without its blue?! Developing these associations gives form to the relationships you’re forging with your customers, allowing them to grow fond of your logos and associated colours, so they’re excited as soon as they see the packaging.

How do you achieve that?

Consistency. Successful brands are not in the habit of confusing their colours. Have you ever seen a yellow Ford sign? Or the Microsoft tiles in anything other than their iconic red, green, blue, yellow? A good brand is one that strengthens with time, and is bolstered by persistent, relentless, consistency.  Just because you might be feeling a bit bored with its look and feel, doesn’t mean your customers are.  If it resonates, keep it keeping on.

But branding goes beyond logos and advertisements. It extends to anything your business touches: merchandise, office supplies, business cards, envelopes, email scripts, web design and packaging.

Brand recognition via packaging

Packaging design is a valuable way to greet your customer with a strong brand colour. Variations on a theme are okay (to differentiate special product lines; think: coke, diet coke etc), but ecommerce owners should focus on simplicity and consistency when it comes to packaging and product presentation to make sure that the good impression your product makes stays associated with your business. Even brown boxes can be meaningful – just look at Amazon. But it can extend to your inner linings and your accompanying instructions as well.

What else makes for successful brand recognition?

Visual interest is immense in brand recognition, but we should touch on a topic which doesn’t receive as much attention that can have a profound effect on consumer experience.


It may not be the largest net to fish with, but it can be a powerful tool for converting long-term, return customers and clients.

If you still think that scent has no place in marketing strategy, take a moment to consider Starbuck’s most successful seasonal drink: the famed Pumpkin Spiced Latte. What drives this concoction’s popularity? How has it ensured its place on menus from March till May, without exception, since 2003?

I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the taste. If Starbuck’s had needed great-tasting coffee to become an international superpower, well…

No, the magic of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte lies in its scent. The scent which has inspired anything from air-fresheners to tortilla chips; the hashtag to match all autumn beverage hashtags: #PSL.

Scents trigger a deep emotive response in people, whether it’s the smell of sunscreen and the beach or hot Milo to go with a winter day – smells stay with you often for life and are powerfully associative. Thus, the ability to pair your brand with a smell that’s already associated with ‘good feelings’ can be a game-changer.

So, for brand recognition, I need to create my own signature scent?

Not exactly. If we learn anything from the PSL example, it’s that Starbuck’s capitalised on a pre-existing set of emotional connections. Autumn (or the American fall) is already associated with certain spices and scents, and they only needed to tap into this pool of opportunity.

Seasonal scents are perhaps the simplest way for any brand to achieve this, adjusting your company’s ‘smell’ with each season to make sure you are in tune with your customer’s nose.  Again, packaging is a simple way to achieve this, and coordinating for this effect will require detailed logistics. Once you’ve made your scent association, your customers will be holding onto you packaging even after they’ve got their product, just to have the scent linger. Or if it’s clothing, a light fresh linen scent can work well too.

Consistent associations are crucial for any brand’s success. While colour is the best place to start, you shouldn’t underestimate the value of adding another dimension to your brand’s repertoire via scent.

The simplest way to repeat these connections in a customer’s mind is through consistent marketing and presentation. From shelf to delivery, it’s important the customer witnesses a recognisable, continued brand experience.

To chat with someone about how you can better build your brand through visuals (or scents!) give us a call on  +61 2 9828 0111 (Sydney), +61 3 9240 300 (Melbourne) or +64 9 263 8855 (Auckland) or drop us a note via the form below. Alternatively, you can find a full list of available services here.

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