Branding Mistakes | 5 Traps Of Business Branding (And How To Avoid Them)
Branding Mistakes | In the business world, your brand is everything. Either your clients know about it, trust it and spend their money accordingly, or they don’t. Every business – big or small – has a brand. Your brand represents everything you are, and want to be perceived as, as a business. It is the culmination of many things including the tone of language you use in your communications, your packaging, your website, your signage, your social media presence and even the way you answer the phone.
Though small business owners are now fortunate to have access to cost-efficient branding tools, creating an effective brand still requires some marketing know-how, including how not to look like the new kid on the block (even if you are). If your branding is vague, inconsistent, generic, or otherwise sub-par, it will affect your business’s credibility and ruin your chances of success. Let’s look at five branding mistakes that could cripple your business (with tips on how to avoid them).
A Logo Can Make Or Break Your Business | Branding Mistakes
It’s not enough to have a nice, memorable name. Another thing people often associate brands with is the logo. It enables your clients to not only glimpse into what your business stands for, with the shapes, fonts and colors you use, but also helps them quickly spot the products you are selling online or on store shelves. As you think about your logo design, keep your audience and products or services in mind, because you want your logo to reflect the products and services your business provides.
Don’t Change Your Message Too Often | Branding Mistakes
A brand is the sum total of the experiences your existing and potential clients have with your business. Even the seemingly minuscule details like the greetings used to address clients on the phone and in emails, and the music they hear when placed on hold, can affect the perceptions your clients have of your brand. A strong brand communicates what the business does, how it does it, and also establishes trust and credibility. It’s OK for a new business to play around with a few messages to find the one that sticks. But once you build a reputation for innovation, for example, you can’t switch to building a reputation for “friendliness” without damaging the relationship you already have with your existing clients.
Be Unique | Branding Mistakes
When you are just launching your business, it can be very tempting to look at who else is in the marketplace and emulate them. Noting the brand elements of businesses that you respect can provide you with a tangible vision of the “look and feel” that you’d like to convey in your own branding, but there’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation. By all means, stay in touch with what your competitors and industry leaders are doing, but don’t be so attached to their ideas that you miss the opportunity to capitalize on your own unique ideas and identity.
Don’t Forget To Establish Brand Guidelines | Branding Mistakes
So you know that you need to build a brand for your business, but what exactly does that mean? Just knowing that your company needs branding isn’t enough, because without proper guidelines for the logo, vision and brand promise, taglines, typography, brand colors, you are setting yourself up for failure. The reason for this is simple: without actual brand guidelines, your brand will be all over the place and it will fail to engage your potential clients.
Live Up To Your Promises | Branding Mistakes
Businesses fail or survive and thrive because of the promises they make. When you tell your clients you offer outstanding customer support – they will expect you to deliver on that promise. Every time. Although this may sound like common sense, you’d be amazed by how many small businesses ruin relationships with their clients by failing to keep their promises. Happy clients who feel good about your business are your best source of referrals.
While branding is definitely a marketing discipline in its own right, it doesn’t need to be too complicated. Good intentions, and avoidance of the mistakes described above, will go a long way towards helping your small business form vital connections with your target audience.