Why it is important to stay on brand. How do you pick a good brand?
The biggest dilemma we have creating the new brands for all our partnerships is whether to try to create something different and unique (and therefore take the risk of not including main brands and known best sellers) or whether instead to keep it simple and focus on what works well. There is always that temptation to seek out something new or different and this then will be the secret to the success of the business.
This was certainly true for one our most successful partnerships to date – CutPlasticSheeting. This business entered a market where customers were expected to pay for a full sheet and then pay for it to be cut – whereas entering the market by just offering customers to pay for what they use was innovative and rapidly successful.
Yet our most successful brand – The Pet Express – have thrived from the start on just selling simple pet products at competitive prices and making sure they were there or thereabouts whenever someone wanted to buy a cat kennel or a micro-chip cat collar.
What is the best approach and which one do you choose? Well generally we suggest try something new while keeping your options open. If you want to open a online chemist, make sure you sell the main online brands at a reasonable price but also try to introduce some ranges that could be unique, different or more attractive to customers. Sometimes it works better to start with the niche products and then work outwards – so the chemist might try “painkillers online” but then also offer a range of other products for those people who might also want to buy complimentary products. It is probably true to say that if you tried to sell just the same old stuff at the same old prices as everyone else then it won’t work. But it is also true to say that this won’t work for start ups but it might work for more established online businesses with a reputation, with some more buying power and with the ability to use a partner like ICO3 to spread its net as wide as possible and engage thoroughly with its own customers and digital colleagues.