Insider: Building Your Magic Store’s Brand

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Welcome back, readers! Today's article is another that's more directed towards stores but hopefully useful to anyone. I'd like to discuss how to build a brand for your Magic store.

First, a little exercise on the importance of branding overall. Do you know what company this shape is associated with?

coke sillohouette

What about this one?


There are precious few people who won't immediately recognize these logos. The reason is that both Coca-Cola and McDonald's have been extremely successful with their branding.

Our brains love to make connections between things. These companies have managed to link their logos in the public's mind with their product. This omnipresent association helps both companies remain incredibly successful and generate massive amounts of profits.

Note that Coke and McDonald's have the benefit of a distinct product line that's all their own. In the Magic finance world, things can be much more challenging as we're not selling a unique product.

Luckily, we're not alone on that front. Odds are you recognize the following three logos:


These logos belong respectively to Bank of America, Chase Bank and Wells Fargo. These companies might not be as well known as Coke and McDonald's, but their logos still rank as some of the most recognizable out there.

Like Magic stores, banks all offer the exact same thing--access to credit and a place to store money. In that regard each is equally as capable as the next, and yet some banks grow and increase their market share while others flounder and go under.

When you don't have a unique product or service to offer, you must seek other ways to differentiate yourself. This holds true for dealing in Magic: The Gathering singles or sealed product. With the internet, all your customers have easy access to any number of locations selling the same product. You need to set yourself apart from the competition one way or another, and you need your customers to know who you are.

Strategies for Magic Branding

One of the easiest ways to improve your brand identity is to make sure your store name appears on every order you sell.

With online purchases this can be a business card, or an invoice with the company logo at the top. This helps customers remember who sold them the product. (Make sure you've provided great customer service, lest they remember your business as a place to avoid!)

This becomes easier if you sell off your own site instead of an online marketplace (TCG Player, Amazon, eBay). Another benefit of this strategy is reduced fees per transaction.

This is why many online retailers now include some form of discount code on their business cards. While it reduces the overall cost to the consumer, it typically increases the profit margin for the store as well, by eliminating the middle man.

Free Swag

Another great way to increase brand identity is through t-shirts, playmats, tokens, or anything else likely to appear in public at tournaments. While this is more expensive than throwing business cards in an envelope, it's a more effective way to grow your brand.

After all, if the only people who see your logo are already customers, you haven't gotten very far. But when your brand finds its way on camera, you reach countless other potential customers.

I've even heard of one store (Aethergames, owned by QS Insider Kyle Lopez) who gave out shirts at a GP and actually paid players who got on camera wearing it (GP New Jersey, as I recall.) This is a great strategy and really encourages players to actively advertise your brand. I don't know if he even had to pay anyone at all, but tons of people were wearing his shirt just in case.

The biggest issue with something like t-shirts is they can still cost quite a bit of money. Even a large order with a simple design will likely run you $3-4 per shirt. That might not sound like a lot, but if you end up giving out 400 shirts, that's $1200-$1600--certainly not chump change to a small business.

Producing Content

Providing free content online like streamed games or webisodes is a great way to get your brand name out there. It's also an effective way to bring new customers into your store (after all, people love making it on camera.)

The cost of setting this up isn't nearly as much as you might think. Webcams can be purchased for as little at $7-$8. The only other major expense for streaming is some sort of frame to sit over the game table to view downward. This will cost you whatever materials you choose for said frame and the time to build it.

Twitch is the most popular streaming service in the US, and making an account is free. Another beautiful thing about Twitch is if you manage to attract enough viewers, the stream itself will actually generate revenue (although I wouldn't count on this one too much).

If you go this route, you might want to look into playmats or a table mat with your company name on it. This way every single game played on camera reminds the viewer who is providing the content.

For webisodes, make sure a store banner or sign appears prominently in every video you release. The best place for this is probably the background of the default camera angle, but if you're ambitious you could try to sneak it into every shot.

Online Presence

Lastly, the most obvious, and freest, way to brand yourself is to advertise on social media. The better you can maintain your online presence, the easier it will be for old customers to stay invested and new customers to find you.

Start with a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. This will provide your local customers with the latest up-to-date information about your store at no cost.

On Facebook, it's important that you create a company Page, rather than just a series of Events. Pages are more visible and provide one central location for your customers to find information. They can also host Events as sub-pages, so you can still announce your event schedule every week this way.


These are just a few of the methods I've heard of for Magic stores to build their brand. There are many ways you can get creative to make sure your name is out there on the minds of Magic players and consumers.

If you have other ideas for how to market Magic stores, definitely post them in the comments. I'm interested to hear what other people are doing in this area. Hopefully I can revisit the topic later and describe some more in-depth approaches to branding.

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David Schumann

David started playing Magic in the days of Fifth Edition, with a hiatus between Judgment to Shards. He's been playing Commander since 2009 and Legacy since 2010.

View More By David Schumann

Posted in Business, Finance, Free Insider

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