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7 Branding Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Branding is essential to businesses of all sizes, yet with all the other things to think about (operations, marketing, customer acquisition) it often is pushed to the wayside. Many businesses believe that branding will develop organically and so they don’t really need to think about it, beyond the visual elements of their brand. This, however, is a mistake - and it’s not the only mistake businesses make when it comes to branding. Today we’re going to look at 7 of the most common branding mistakes businesses make so you can avoid them.

7 Most Common Branding Mistakes

1. Not establishing a brand strategy

“What is a brand strategy?” you ask. It means knowing your niche inside out. It means planning what you’ll do each day, week, month, and year to achieve your company’s goals. It involves knowing where you sit in the landscape of your industry and figuring out how to set yourself aside from the rest.

Here are a few things you can do as you develop your brand strategy:

  • Research the industry and keep up to date with industry trends
  • Know your competitors
  • Create a list of buyer personas so you can figure out your target audience
  • Write out your long and short-term business goals

Brand strategy can feel somewhat intangible, which is what leads businesses to blow past it, throw a logo and colour palette together, and just start trying to get clients. This dilutes the water of your brand and will leave your customers confused as to who you are, what you stand for, and what you offer. It also means you’re more likely to take a misstep, developing a service or product your ideal customer doesn’t really need. Decide on your long-term goals, know your ideal customer (this can always be tweaked in the future, but do your best now), and decide how you want your brand to be thought of by your customer base.

2. Lacking a clear USP

Your USP (unique selling point) should be clear in every bit of advertising, public dialogue, and branding. It should also be consistent across social media and any private messaging between you and your customers. It’s easy to start trying to serve customers without a USP - there will be customers willing to work with you simply because you offer a product or service they want, but they likely won’t feel any loyalty to you and you’ll always be fighting to get new customers because you won’t be attracting customers due to something you do better than your competitors.

It’s also a good idea to keep in mind that you can’t be everything to everyone - you can be the cheapest, fastest, or highest quality, but you can’t be all three.

3. Failing to fulfill your promises

Have you ever read a book or watched a film that felt completely different from what you thought it was going to be after reading the blurb or watching the trailer and felt disappointed or even angry? This is because the book or film failed to deliver on its promises to you: a sin in the world of stories, and just as bad in the world of business.

You need to make sure you’re conscious of the promises you’re making through your branding and advertising and deliver on them. A good copywriter will go a long way here, but if your branding is unclear and the information you give them is generic, your marketing will be too. Make sure you develop full brand guidelines and carefully develop your promises so you can overdeliver every time.

4. Being inconsistent with your branding

Market confusion can throw off your whole plan; if customers aren’t certain what they’re getting when they buy from you, they won’t take the risk. One good way of making sure you stay on track with branding is by establishing brand guidelines. Put together a physical guide, spreadsheet, or list of bullet points detailing your brand’s logo and visuals, colour schemes, fonts, typography, and tone of voice. This will ensure that all team members know how to maintain consistent branding, whether they’re in charge of imaging, advertising, social media, or fonts.

5. Failing to include customer support in your brand strategy

Our online world means that customers can reach out to you any time and easily share their experiences with others. You don’t need to be available 24/7 (make sure you communicate your business hours at your contact points wherever possible) but you do need to remember that how you offer customer support will feed into your brand.

If a customer or potential customer reaches out to you and has a bad experience or even just an experience they weren’t expecting from your brand, they will likely tell people and it will dilute your brand. Your customer support team needs to know how they are expected to communicate, what kind of language they need to use, and how they need to respond to problems, as this will all feed into how your brand is perceived.

6. Not choosing the right logo

The first thing most businesses think about when starting and branding their business is their logo, but because it’s the first thing we think of it’s often also the thing we jump into without proper thought. When we pull a logo out of thin air without properly considering our ideal customer and colour psychology we often end up creating something we like, not something that speaks to our ideal customer (yes, even if we are our ideal customer). You need to put in the research and groundwork we talked about in the first point (and/or work with a branding professional) to get a logo that really works.

7. Not listening to what the public wants

Today’s customer is more than happy to engage with brands to share their opinions or complain if things aren’t as advertised. People have plenty to say about their favourite brand’s website, social media, and advertising campaigns, so use that information to your advantage. 

If you can, offer customers a chance to win something related to your brand if they answer polls or surveys. After someone has purchased your product, send them personalised emails asking for their thoughts on the service they received and other aspects of your brand. You’d be surprised how many people will respond with their opinions that can help you better shape your brand.

Don’t Make Assumptions

You don’t have to be a brand new company to make these mistakes; you’d be surprised how many businesses that have been operating for decades are stunting their growth by making these mistakes repeatedly. It’s easy to make them when you’re getting by or so focused on just getting that next client that you feel like you can’t pause to think about branding.

When you step away and look at the big picture, you can see that branding has to come first before growth can happen. When a company is instantly recognisable it will win customers because recognisable companies are trustworthy companies. To make your company instantly recognisable, you need to start making sure everyone is on the same page internally and has access to brand guidelines so your business will be consistent across all channels, creating a repeatable experience customers will return for again and again.

If you feel unsure how to move forward, we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about how we can help you develop a strong, consistent brand.

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