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Welcome to the first article in our new series for online auction startups: Online Auction Branding Basics.

As an online auctioneer, you need a strong brand identity that differentiates you from your competitors and makes you memorable.

What is branding? A brief introduction and an example.

Your brand is a collection of attributes and qualities that people associate with you and your work. Simply put, your brand is your identity. It’s what makes you unique and sets you apart from your competitors.

Take the insurance industry, for example. With so much competition it takes a strong brand to make a company stand out. Choosing insurance is not like choosing a pair of shoes, where you make decisions based on color, fit, style, and more. In fact, most people know very little about insurance and aren’t sure how to make the right choice.

  • Insurance companies must find a way to make their offering resonate with their customers. Here are a few examples of how insurance companies differentiate themselves through branding:
  • Allstate: Allstate’s brand is all about dependability. Their spokesperson is comforting in his solemnity as he assures you that “You’re in good hands,” even in the scary moments portrayed by their commercials.
  • Geico: Geico’s primary value is savings—and humor. For years, they’ve ended their goofy commercials with “15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
  • Progressive: Flo the insurance lady’s perky personality has made her a household name. Her wholesome quirks appeal to buyers who like relatability and good clean fun.
  • State Farm: State Farm promises the warm reliability of your friendly neighbor: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” They promise to make everything easier for their customers.

As you can see, each company’s identity is not only different—it’s memorable.

Why branding matters for your online auction business

Your brand communicates the reasons why your customers should choose your online auction business over your competitors. Think about those special attributes that set you apart. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Do you have a lot of experience in a particular industry? Maybe you know everything about farm equipment or vintage musical instruments.
  • Have you established a relationship in a particular geographic area? Online auctions have greater reach than in-person auctions, but building a reputation in a special city or region can be powerful.
  • Do you offer a special extra service? You could be a talented photographer or offer extra marketing help for your customers.
  • What do your customers like about you? Don’t be afraid to ask them why they chose you. You might be surprised to hear a pattern.

Remember, there’s no rule saying you couldn’t begin implementing one of the above ideas today in order to position your brand more effectively.

Once you’ve established where your value comes from, you can start thinking about how to communicate it.

Online auction branding basics: Logos, copy, your website, and more.

Your brand should be clear throughout everything you use to marketing your business: your logo, your website, your social media, and more. Everything should communicate your unique value and story.

With that in mind, here are the basic elements of a strong brand:

  • Logo. A great logo is easy to read and looks nice on everything from a business card to a shirt. Most importantly, it should align with your brand. If your brand is very serious, a neon purple logo is probably not right for you.
  • Look. Your logo is a starting point for the visual look of your brand. The colors, images, and general design you use across all your materials should be consistent so it’s easy to connect them back to your logo—and you.
  • Message. Every word on your website or other materials should match your brand. If your brand is based on your friendly personality, your writing should be warm and welcoming. If your brand is high-end luxury, skip the snarky jokes. Make sure you write in a way that sounds like you.
  • Website. When your customers arrive at your website, they should be able to understand you and your brand pretty quickly. Carefully chosen language, images, colors, and design all communicate who you are and what makes you unique. This makes it easy for your customers to choose you. Good online auction software will make it easy for you to build a website that communicates your brand and connects you with your clients. MaxanetNEXT has free website templates that integrate seamlessly with your software, ensuring a smooth experience for everyone—including you.
  • Other brand elements. There are endless other ways for you to grow your brand. You could choose a mascot, a jingle, or a signature accessory, such as a bowtie or a unique piece of jewelry, that you wear in every photo. Choose the elements that feel authentic to you, and don’t feel pressured to adopt something that doesn’t feel right.

A clear brand identity is an important element of success for your online auction business. Think carefully about who you are and what your customers want, and use your brand to make it easy for them to choose you.

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