Branding is more than a business logo and a color scheme. Branding is the opportunity to express why people should be buying from you. Branding is also not a one-off exercise. A brand needs to be nurtured, developed, and protected.
Start-ups and established businesses alike can make branding mistakes, and branding mistakes can be disastrous and tricky to recover from for any size of business. So, take note of these ten common business branding mistakes before you fall into the same traps.
1. Failing to Define a Brand Strategy
Before you begin to develop a brand, you need to have a long-term brand strategy. Creating or updating a brand involves far more than aesthetics. A strong brand strategy also encompasses intangible aspects of a company’s personality, including emotion, loyalty, and purpose. So, before you set out developing your brand, lay down the branding exercise’s objectives. Understand who your target customers are and what it is that you want your branding to convey to those people.
2. Believing That Branding Can Fix Anything
Branding is crucial to the success of a business, but branding cannot fix everything. If a new competitor enters the market with a better product than yours, branding won’t improve your offering. If you have a reputation for poor customer service, rebranding will not fix the underlying issue. Branding should reflect what a company is, not what you would like it to be. So, rectify the business issues before you worry about the branding.
3. Not Being Consistent
Inconsistency is a common branding mistake. People will notice if the color you use on your website is not the same as the color you use on your social media posts. People will also notice if your message varies across different platforms. And, when people see inconsistencies in your branding, it will lower their trust in your business. So, use consistent fonts, colors, and logo placements across all mediums, and keep the message the same on all platforms.
4. Failing to Differentiate
If people cannot see a difference between your brand and a competing company, why should they choose you? Looking at competitors can generate ideas, but blindly copying a competitor will not give you an advantage. A big mistake that some businesses make is that they adopt a me-too approach to their company identity, when, in fact, they should be cutting through the noise with an image and proposition unique to their brand.
5. Allowing a Brand to Age
Consumer attitudes change, businesses change, and design trends change too. It would be a mistake if your company’s branding didn’t change to reflect these changes. A rebranding exercise doesn’t need to mean an entirely new image for your company. Rebranding might merely involve updating your outdated logo or changing your message to reflect modern consumer trends. The crucial point to bear in mind is that branding is not static; it evolves.
6. Failing to Invest in Branding
You might be fortunate enough to be able to undertake the branding exercise yourself. But to do that, you will need to be a graphic designer and a copywriter, and know about psychology. Branding is a multi-disciplinary task with many facets. So, try not to make the mistake of not hiring experts when you need them. You could buy a cheap logo for only $5 and do the job yourself, or you could hire a brand agency to work with you to design your brand. How much you spend on branding will, of course, depend on your available budget. But you get what you pay for, so branding is worth investing a reasonable amount of money in if you can.
7. Not Targeting a Specific Audience
It doesn’t matter what you sell; you will never appeal to everyone. Yet, a common branding mistake is targeting an overly broad audience. You need to identify your typical customer and target your branding at them. You may alienate some people by taking a narrowly focused branding approach. Even so, a narrowly targeted branding approach will make stronger connections with your smaller, better-defined target market.
8. Failing to Live up to The Brand Promise
Branding must be authentic, and what you deliver must live up to your brand promise. If you break the promises that your branding makes, you will lose the trust of your customers. Social media has made this branding mistake even more crucial. Suppose you say you have the best burger in town, for example. If your burger is awful, it won’t take long for the negative comments, and photos of your lackluster burgers appear on Twitter and Facebook.
9. Not Training Employees
Employees must be on board with the branding exercise as well. And your team will need to be trained on how to behave towards customers. From answering the phone to dealing with complaints, every contact point with customers is a part of the brand experience. If you make the mistake of not training employees, it could destroy an otherwise perfect brand image.
10. Failing to Protect the Brand
The final branding mistake that some businesses make is that they fail to protect their brand. You need to register your brand name with the appropriate government offices and trademark brand names. It would also be advisable to register domain names and social media profile names, even if you do not plan to use them all immediately. You will also need to be prepared to take legal action if anyone misuses your logo, business name, or brand images.
To sum things up, developing a brand takes time, and it’s easy to make mistakes along the way. You need to have a brand strategy and follow that through with a business-wide effort to create and meet the brand’s promises, and you need to nurture and protect your brand. If you need help avoiding the above common branding mistakes above, give us a shout. We can help you develop a long-lasting brand that will help your business grow.