Amazon offers brand owners the option of joining the Amazon Brand Registry and listing their own branded products. As a member of the Brand Registry, you have control over the listings for your branded products; the listings you post and any updates you make to them are what shoppers see when they view your products. If other sellers on Amazon list your branded products, your product description and images are what shoppers see.
Brand Registry also unlocks benefits and tools available exclusively to Registry members, including Seller Central’s Brand Dashboard, Sponsored Brands, A+ Content, a branded Amazon Store, and tools for protecting your brand against unauthorized or improper use.
To join Amazon’s Brand Registry, you need to be a brand owner. In this article, we present the pros and cons of creating a brand and adding it to Amazon’s Brand Registry, provide guidance on how to build a brand and trademark it, and explain how to add your brand to the Brand Registry. Near the end of this article, we discuss how to create your own brand using private label products. (A private label product is made by a third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer’s brand name.)
Deciding Whether Branding Is Right for You
To brand or not to brand? That’s the question many sellers ask themselves. In some cases, the answer is easy — if you already have a well-known brand and you want to maximize the sales of your branded products on Amazon, then, yes, you want to brand.
On the other hand, if you’re just selling a variety of products on Amazon, branding may or may not be necessary or desirable; you can list and sell products on Amazon regardless of whether you’re a brand owner or belong to the Amazon Brand Registry.
If you’re on the fence about branding, consider the following benefits of owning a brand and adding it to Amazon’s Brand Registry:
- Brand identity gives your products market recognition. Market recognition is customer awareness of a company’s products and services, which drives sales in and of itself. Strong brand identity creates a readily recognizable image in the minds of shoppers.
- Branding builds trust. An established brand shows consumers that the business is legitimate, stands behind its products, and plans to be around for a long time. Customer trust leads to higher conversion rates.
- Branding increases customer loyalty. Customers identify closely with certain brands. A brand’s identity may not only reflect a customer’s identity but also influence it.
- Branding communicates the authenticity of a product. Customers buy brand-name products knowing that the manufacturer invested more in materials, manufacturing, and quality control to protect the brand’s reputation.
- A brand name and logo are valuable advertising assets. Branding simplifies the task of advertising your business, products, and unique identity. You can use your company name, logo, and the tag lines on everything from products to packaging to increase your market recognition.
- Bigger brands command bigger valuations. Increased brand recognition raises the value of a company beyond its products, inventory, and infrastructure.
- Branding inspires your team! People like to work for well-known brands and take pride in doing so. A strong brand can inspire and energize a team, boosting innovation and productivity.
- Successful branding drives positive word of mouth. When customers are excited about a brand, they share that excitement with their friends, family members, and associates.
- A strong brand is a competitive advantage. In a crowded marketplace, a strong, positive brand image makes a product stand out among competing products.
- Branding provides access to Amazon’s Brand Registry. Membership in Amazon’s Brand Registry unlocks the doors to Amazon’s most powerful marketing tools, including A+ pages, Amazon Vine, and Sponsored Brand ads.
Creating Your Own Brand on Amazon
Before you can register a brand in Amazon’s Brand Registry, you need a brand to register. To create a brand, first do some soul searching to discover your brand’s appeal and personality and then unleash your creativity to figure out how to effectively communicate your brand’s appeal and personality conceptually. In this section, we lead you through the process of creating a recognizable brand.
1. Discover your purpose
Every business starts with an idea that’s usually inspired by an unmet need or desire in the marketplace. Your brand’s purpose is to fulfill that need or desire. To identify the purpose behind your effort to create a new brand, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the driving force behind my business and products? Have you identified an unmet need or desire in the marketplace? Are you developing the brand or product with a certain person in mind, such as a friend or relative? Will your products help solve a certain problem?
- What’s motivating me to create this business or this new line of products? Do you have a passion for helping the average person become more fit and trim? Are you committed to helping people express their personality through what they wear? Are you full of ideas for improving experiences in the kitchen?
- What products and services am I offering to consumers? List the products and services you offer. This exercise often reveals a theme or concept that’s common to a line of products or services. Doing so may also help you identify products that don’t fit with your desired brand concept.
- How will my products and services impact the lives of consumers? Think less about the great features of your products and services and more about how these features will benefit your customers. How will their lives be better or different as a result of your products and services?
- What makes my products and services best suited to fill a certain gap in the market? What makes you and your products uniquely qualified to serve consumers’ unmet needs or desires? How are you and your products and services different from and better than the competition?
To discover your brand’s purpose, make your customers your central focus. Your brand’s goal should be to solve their problems, offer better solutions, or make their lives fuller or more enjoyable or pleasant in some way. As you conceptualize your brand, think about how the brand can most effectively communicate its purpose.
2. Analyze your competition
A key component of effective branding is differentiation. Your brand must communicate what makes you and your products and services uniquely different and better than what’s already out there in the marketplace.
Identify and examine the competition closely, assessing them based on the following factors:
- Product quality
- Brand message and consistency
- Marketing strategies
A careful examination of the competition often reveals not only what they’re doing but what they’re not doing to win customers and expand their market share. Whatever they’re not doing provides opportunities for you to increase and communicate how you’re different from and better than the rest.
3. Identify your target market
Ultimately, your brand must meet the needs or fulfill the desires of customers, but not all customers have the same needs and desires. As you develop your brand, think about your target market — the people who are most likely to benefit from the products and services you offer.
Define your customers and study their lifestyles. Are you looking to meet the needs of weekend athletes who are facing fitness challenges? Single moms struggling to raise their children? College students looking for ways to become more productive? Narrow your target market and create a customer profile that reflects your ideal customers and their personality. Your customer profile should include the following:
- Aspirations and goals
- Hobbies and affinities
A deeper understanding of your customers provides the insight that drives effective brand creation.
4. Identify your brand’s key benefits
Many businesses make the mistake of making their brand all about themselves, focusing the brand solely on the business’s personality or the products it offers. However, customers care more about how the brand will benefit them. They want to know how products are going to make their lives easier or better or more enjoyable.
When you’re developing a brand, keep your customers’ needs and desires front and center. Ask yourself, “What’s in it for them?” Here are a few examples of benefits that may be conveyed through a brand:
- Healthy, organic
- Environmentally friendly
5. Write a slogan
A slogan is a short, memorable phrase that conveys the essence of a product, service, or brand. When creating your brand, try to express its essence in just a few words that will resonate with customers in your target market. Here are a few examples:
- From single mom to Super Mom
- Crafting innovation into your life
- Every athlete’s best friend
- Healthy food, healthy body
- Because your family deserves a break
6. Visualize your brand
Every successful brand has a readily recognizable look and feel. McDonald’s has its golden arches. Nike has a swoosh logo shaped as a wing of the Greek goddess of victory (named Nike). Apple has an apple. Target has a bull’s eye. Starbucks uses a mermaid. Many companies have stylized text-based logos, such as IBM, Google, eBay, Coca-Cola, 3M, FedEx, and VISA.
Close your eyes and imagine what your brand would look like as a logo. What colors would it be? What image or font would capture and convey the essence of your brand? What would stick in the minds of consumers?
7. Work it: Reinforce your brand
After defining your brand and creating brand assets (slogan, logo, color scheme, and so on), use those assets to imprint your brand on the minds of consumers. Brand your website and blog, social media properties, webstores (including your Amazon Store), mobile app, packaging materials, company T-shirts, marketing and advertising content, and more. You want consumers to see your brand everywhere they turn.
To increase your brand recognition, be clear and consistent in all your messaging, whether you’re communicating in text, graphics, or both. Align everything from your slogan to your logo and your mission statement to reinforce your brand in the minds of consumers.
Trademarking Your Brand
A trademark is a symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by use as representing a business and the unique products and services it offers. The brand you create is a trademark. After creating your brand, register your business name and all associated brand assets to protect them against unauthorized use by other businesses or individuals.
In this section, we lead you through the process of registering your trademark. You can register it with the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) via its website or by using Amazon’s Intellectual Property (IP) Accelerator. We provide guidance for both of these options. You also need to register your brand with Amazon’s Brand Registry so Amazon can help protect your brand in specific marketplaces.
Trademark registration protects only the brand name and logos used for a business and its products and services. To protect other intellectual property (IP) rights, you need to apply for a patent (for inventions) or copyright (for literary works) or domain name (for websites and blogs).
1. Registering your trademark on USPTO.gov
The United States Patent and Trademark Office maintains its own website, where you can find out all about trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
The website provides step-by-step instructions for registering a trademark, along with a collection of links and a number of videos that provide additional information and guidance. We encourage you to visit the site at uspto.gov and select Trademarks in the menu bar near the top of the opening page to access a collection of links for complete information and instructions.
Here’s a general rundown of the process:
1). Prepare for the application process by doing the following:
- Decide on the type of mark — a word, design, or sound mark.
- Identify the goods and/or services for which the trademark applies.
- Search the USPTO trademark database at www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/search-trademark-database to see whether anyone else has already registered the same or a similar mark.
- Determine the filing basis for the application, such as “for use in commerce.”
- Hire a trademark attorney if desired or necessary. An attorney is necessary only if you’re not a U.S. resident.
2). File your trademark application using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). You can set up your USPTO.gov account and log in to the system to file your trademark application at www.uspto.gov/trademark/login.
3). Monitor your application status through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system at tsdr.uspto.gov. Check the status at least once within six months of filing your application so you don’t miss any deadlines. If you change your email address, be sure to update it in the system to ensure that you receive any important notifications or updates.
4). Work with the USPTO-assigned examining attorney to complete the process.
The attorney can do one of the following:
- Refuse the application and send you a letter listing the reasons for refusal. You then have six months from the date of the letter to respond.
- Approve the application, in which case your trademark is published in the USPTO’s weekly gazette. If the USPTO doesn’t receive opposition to your trademark request within eight weeks, it issues you a trademark registration certificate.
USPTO is responsible only for registering the trademark. In the event of a trademark violation, you’re solely responsible for enforcing your rights. The USPTO doesn’t police the use of trademarks.
2. Streamlining the trademark registration process with IP Accelerator
As we explain in the previous section, getting your trademark registered through the USPTO is a process that can take months before you receive your trademark registration certificate. This long wait can, in turn, delay the process of adding your trademark to Amazon’s Brand Registry. To streamline the process of getting your trademark into its Brand Registry, Amazon features IP Accelerator.
IP Accelerator connects sellers with qualified and curated IP law firms that provide high-quality trademark services at competitive rates. These firms simplify the process of applying for trademark registration, but they don’t necessarily help you obtain your trademark registration certificate any faster.
Instead, as soon as you complete the application process with the connected law firm, Amazon invites you to enroll in the Brand Registry, which immediately provides trademark protection in the Amazon marketplaces of your choice. You don’t have to wait for your trademark registration certificate from the USPTO.
To register your trademark using IP Accelerator, go to brandservices.amazon.com/ipaccelerator, press the Get Started button, and follow the on-screen instructions.
Adding Your Trademark to the Amazon Brand Registry
If you have an approved trademark, you can create an Amazon Brand Registry account and add your trademark to the Brand Registry, assuming you meet the following program requirements:
- You have an active trademark that appears on your products and packaging.
- You can verify that you’re the owner of the trademark. (You have a trademark registration certificate from the USPTO or you applied for trademark registration through Amazon’s IP Accelerator.)
- You have an Amazon Brand Registry account, which you can create using your existing Seller Central credentials. See the later section “Adding your brand to Amazon’s Brand Registry” for instructions on how to create an Amazon Brand Registry account.
In the following sections, we list the benefits of having your brand registered on Amazon and provide instructions on how to add your brand to Amazon’s Brand Registry.
Benefits of Amazon Brand Registry
Amazon’s Brand Registry delivers several benefits to brand owners, including the following:
- Accurate brand representation: The listings you create for your branded products are the listings shoppers see. You’re the only seller who can change the content of your branded product listings.
- Brand protection: Amazon prohibits other sellers from using your brand and provides you with search and report tools to identify potential infringements and report them to Amazon. In addition, Amazon’s predictive protection mechanisms identify and remove any content that’s suspected of infringing on your brand or providing inaccurate content about your branded products.
- 24/7/365 support: As a registered brand owner, you have access to Amazon support teams 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year to answer questions and address concerns.
- Brand-building tools: Registered brands have access to Amazon’s brand building tools including A+ Pages, Sponsored Brands, Stores and the Brand Dashboard.
Adding your brand to Amazon’s Brand Registry
When you’re ready to add your brand/trademark to Amazon’s Brand Registry, take the following steps:
1). Go to brandservices.amazon.com and press the Get Started button.
2). Review the eligibility requirements and press the Enroll Now button.
3). Select the country-specific marketplace where you want to enroll your brand.
4). After the Tell Us About Your Business page appears, enter the requested details about your business and press the Create Account button.
5). From the Amazon Brand Registry page, press the Enroll a New Brand button. Amazon asks you to confirm your brand eligibility.
6). Answer the following questions and press the Next button:
- Do your products and packaging have a permanently affixed brand name and logo?
- Do you intend to enroll more than ten brands in the Brand Registry?
- Do you have a brand name to be registered?
After you click the Next button, the Intellectual Property page appears.
7). Enter the requested information, as follows, and press the Next button:
- Trademark type: Open the list and select Word Mark or Design Mark.
- Mark name: Click in the box and type the mark name as it appears on your trademark registration certificate.
- Trademark number: Click in the box and type the trademark number that appears on your trademark registration certificate.
- Trademark office: Open the list and select the country or region from which the trademark registration certificate was issued.
After you click the Next button, the Tell Us More About page appears.
8). Answer the following questions about your trademark, products, seller and vendor accounts, and manufacturing and licensing:
- Do you products have UPCs, ISBNs, EANs, or other GTINs?
- If you sell your products online, let us know where (optional).
- Does your brand have an existing relationship with Amazon? If it does, specify your role: Seller, Vendor, or Both. Otherwise, choose No, my brand doesn’t have an existing seller or vendor relationship with Amazon.
- Does your brand manufacture products?
- Does your brand license the trademarks to others who manufacture products associated with your intellectual property?
- Where are your brand’s products manufactured? Select your answers from the lists provided.
- Where are your brand’s products distributed? Select your answers from the lists provided.
9). Press the Submit Application button. Amazon sends an email message with the case ID and another with a verification code to the contact you specified on your trademark application (you or your attorney). If you don’t receive these messages, ask your attorney to forward them to you.
10). Log in to Seller Central and scroll down to the Manage Your Case Log section.
11). Open the case message that applies to your adding your brand to the Brand Registry and choose the option to reply to the message.
12). Type or paste the verification code into your reply and choose the option to send the message. The Amazon Brand Registry support team completes the brand registration process and notifies you of its completion within one or two days.
Building a Brand with Private-Label Products
One way to create your own brand is to source generic products from a manufacturer, stick your own brand name and logo on them, and sell them to consumers as brand-name products. With your own private label products, you have control over your product listings and access to Amazon’s enhanced marketing and advertising tools.
Building a brand with your own private label products isn’t a quick and easy way to earn a buck. You need to do everything right — research products and competitors, find reliable and affordable suppliers, create great product listings, leverage the power of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), and deliver superior customer service. In addition, you need to brand your products.
Here’s a quick step-by-step approach to building a brand with private-label products:
- Research products to find items with great sales and profit potential (see our guide to finding best-selling products on Amazon).
- Research competitors who are selling the same or similar products you discovered in Step 1 to identify their weaknesses and find ways to outsell them.
- Find a reputable, reliable, and affordable supplier that makes the products you want to sell and allows private labeling (see our guide to finding wholesale suppliers).
- Brand the products with your own brand name, logos, and other brand assets.
- You may need to create your own branded labels and packaging.
- Choose one or more fulfillment methods to ensure speedy delivery of products to your customers (see our guide to Amazon FBA).
- Create great product listings for your branded items.
- Market and advertise your products to generate sales. Be sure to take advantage of A+ Content to reinforce your brand identity. Learn more about advertising on Amazon.
- Focus on delivering superior customer service. Customer service is especially important when you’re trying to build a positive brand image.
As a registered brand owner, you have access to Amazon’s powerful brand-building tools, including A+ Content (for telling a compelling brand story), Sponsored Brands (for creating brand-centric advertising campaigns), Amazon Vine (for obtaining product reviews from the most influential reviewers on Amazon), and Amazon Store (where you can list all your products in one place). As you capitalize on the sale of private-label products, don’t overlook these powerful branding tools.