You know that sinking feeling when you put in a lot of time and effort into something only to have it fall flat? It’s like betting all your money on one game of roulette — you have a high chance of coming up empty.
That’s what branding is for many people – they invest everything with hopes of success without realizing that there are so many things that can go wrong along the way. Here we will list some of the biggest mistakes people make with branding so you can avoid them.
1. Failing to Think Strategically
Itís important to think strategically about your branding. Why are you running this business? What do you hope to achieve, and how will the brand help with that? Take some time now to review these things – it can be a valuable exercise for better understanding what makes up your brand identity!
One of the foundations of your brand is how well your output tone matches up with who you’re trying to attract as customers and what sort of message you want them to receive from their experience with your company. They should feel like they’re a part of something bigger, not that it’s just another faceless corporation.
The tone and the message are two things to keep in mind as you think about your branding. Are you an up-and-coming company with fresh ideas or do you offer more established products? A playful brand might be better suited for young tech startups, whereas a more serious branding might be more suitable for a bank or an accounting firm.
Consider other ways that your branding can make connections with your target audience. For example, a “green” company that is also environmentally friendly can use slogans like “The Earth’s Friendliest Choice.”
In addition to your branding message and tone, consider the physical elements of your business. A great logo or catchy tagline is important for creating an emotional connection with customers. However, it’s not enough just to create a design. Consider the physical design of your building or office, as well as the layout.
Great branding is a carefully curated mixture of elements from many different domains- verbal and visual language, colors, sound and music (if applicable), architecture/interior design (or other spatial media) – that creates a cohesive representation of what you stand for. Choose elements that are most applicable to your business needs, and strategically build your brand from these.
2. Your Brand Is Not Your Logo
A brand is not a logo or set of design features. While consistent designing can be an important part of branding, it’s really about your message and the image you’re creating in people’s minds when they think about what sets you apart from everyone else. This message tells them how your offerings uniquely benefit them – so make sure that everything aligns with this!
A full brand strategy is really a visual representation of what you stand for, as well as how you want to be seen in the world.
When people think about your company or products, we want them to have an idea that’s cohesive and consistent with everything else they’ve come across from your brand. This can make all the difference when it comes down to conversions and sales. So think bigger than the logo!
Your brand actually consists of several elements – logo, colors, fonts, tone of voice (or photo style), and more. These little details may seem like they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things when compared to other aspects of your business; but branding is first impressions that sets you apart from everyone else . When used consistently, branding helps your customers recognize you and associate with the qualities of what you stand for.
3. Being Generic
Your company is like a fingerprint. No two are exactly the same, and this should be one of your strengths in marketing to stand out against competitors that will likely have similar offerings as yours. Differentiate yourself by focusing not only on what you do but how it differs from other companies with more resources at their disposal for advertising or marketing purposes.
It’s important to tie your company’s personality to the brand. Your company has its own culture and style, and this should be reflected in how your market yourself. Don’t waste time creating a campaign or advertising that doesn’t fit with your company’s personality…and don’t be generic! Differentiate yourself from competitors, and let your ideal customers appreciate that difference!
4. Assumptions Instead of Facts
You might be surprised to know that you don’t actually understand how your audience sees your company. The only way to truly make a brand is by conducting thorough marketing research and using facts, not just assumptions on what people think about the business.
Conducting marketing research not only helps you understand what people think, but it also provides a good framework for your company’s branding.
As an example, it’s important to know the characteristics of your target audience, what your audience values, and the demographics of who you’re trying to reach.
In addition, without market research data on how potential customers feel about brands in general or competitors specifically, it’s difficult to find a niche that will work for both marketing needs and business success.
The goal is to develop an understanding of branding from multiple perspectives so that you can find the best branding strategy for your business.
5. Inconsistency and Disconnect
Modern branding is about consistency. If your design features, tone and benefits are all over the place it will be difficult for you to get people to trust your business when they see them. Be sure that everything from logo placement and color schemes down to taglines speak with one voice, so as not only to build a cohesive brand but also create an environment where customers feel welcomed into this positive message!
Customer loyalty is important for the future of your business, make sure branding strategy doesn’t disconnect from one another or create an environment where customer trust isn’t there.
For example, if one of your branding strategies is a quick response time, but the way you talk to customers in social media or customer service isn’t speedy enough then it will be difficult for them to know when they should trust what you tell them.
For instance, if a couple of your branding messages focus on “reliability” or being “family-oriented” but your interaction with customers don’t reflect these qualities, your customers are less likely to trust you in the future, and may not reward you with repeat business.
6. Clever But Not Clear
Effective branding starts with clear communication. While it’s nice to have a message that is unique and clever, the most important thing is for people to understand this message quickly – at first glance. You want to keep your branding both stunning and understandable. If you’re having trouble doing either one then it will be hard for people to fully connect to your brand.
The best strategy is to focus on the most important branding messages that you want to get across to your customers, and then amplify them both visually and verbally.
For instance, if you’re a financial services company, it’s important that your branding message and visual design emphasize the fact that you are low-cost and trustworthy. On the other hand, if you’re a high-end, luxury product manufacturer, it’s important that your branding message and visual design emphasize the fact that you are expensive but worth every penny.
7. It’s All About You
Don’t get lost in the details when you’re talking to potential customers. The real message of your branding should be what using your products does for customers. You want to help them understand how their lives will improve by choosing you, and understanding those needs is key in making the sale.
Your branding should support the product you’re selling and make it easy for people to understand why they should buy your company’s products. If your customer can see themselves using your product, it’s more likely they’ll buy.
Remember, your branding in general should help people understand the value of your products, and why they should buy from you instead of your competitors. If you put the focus on them instead of your company, you’re more likely to stand out.
8. Forgetting to Update
The needs of your customers and the competitive landscape change over time. Your business might also change, offering a new product line or reaching out to a new segment in the market. When this happens, it’s important that you assess what changes need to be made with your branding so they reflect these updates when necessary.
For instance, if you change your logo, it’s a good idea to consider updating all the other branding assets that include this logo so they’re consistent.
If your business decides to expand into a new product line, it’s important to think about how these products will fit into your branding – what colors and typography you’ll use for the packaging of this new product.
A great example of this is Dollar Shave Club. They started out as a company that only offered razor blades but they’ve added other products like shaving creams, razors for women and kids’ razors into their line of goods with the same branding to reflect this change in offerings.
Keeping your branding updated is an opportunity to communicate to customers that you’re a forward-thinking business that’s looking to expand into new product lines, and willing to keep up with evolving trends and technology.
We hope listing these 8 branding mistakes help to guide you into thinking more strategically about branding your business, so that you remain competitive in your industry and relevant to your target audience!
Now it’s your turn!
Have you committed any of these “branding crimes” in the past? Let us know your story and how you overcame it!
- Chose a logo that didn’t match the company’s name or branding interests
- Developed a message or slogan without getting feedback from team members and/or customers
- Developed an iconic brand without considering your audience, budget, and resources
- Focused on short-term success by sacrificing authenticity
- Inconsistent marketing tone throughout materials