October 22, 2019
Whenever we think about branding, a logo always comes to mind. Yes, a logo plays a crucial role in branding, but your brand is not just your logo. It is more than that. Branding is how you present your business to the world. It is the personality and set of values that make your endeavor different from competitors.
Launching a brand is not as easy as it seems. It takes a lot of hard work, skills, and usually some good luck as well. Being an entrepreneur, you have to make a lot of decisions related to branding. Without proper knowledge and guidance, branding a new business can be a little stressful. Although companies all over the world try to gain enough knowledge about competing with their competitors, a lot of them mostly do not reveal their secrets of branding and marketing.
Branding is not as simple as ticking off a checklist. One wrong decision can ruin all your efforts. Here is a list of 12 branding mistakes that you should avoid in order to grow your brand the right way.
1. Having a generic brand name
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is that they keep their brand name too generic. We agree with the fact that the name of the company should be easy and memorable, but a business name that can easily be related to other competitors might turn out to be a setback. For example, in the pet industry, you must have noticed that a lot of businesses set their brand names as ‘Pet Shop.’ They forget the fact that this name is firstly too generic, and secondly, the target audience might not understand what pet service they provide. Naming a business may seem to be a tedious task, but it plays an important role in the success of a business. Therefore, your business name must convey skills, significance, and the uniqueness of your business.
2. Not knowing about the target audience
A lot of businesses fail to identify their target audience. They blindly assume that everyone will be interested in buying their products or services. It’s great if it turns out to be truly talented enough to serve everyone in the market, but it’s always wiser to serve the potential audience. It will help you to make appropriate marketing strategies and connect with your audience easily. To know your target audience better, you can either conduct market research or create a buyers’ persona. If you are new in the industry, you have to conduct market research. If you are already in the industry, you can create a buyer persona, which is a fictional representation of potential customers, based on the actual data of your existing customers.
3. Being inconsistent
When we talk about branding, consistency is very critical. Consistency helps in building trust, loyalty, and familiarity. Due to the availability of various marketing channels, many brands get lazy enough to use the same color, fonts, and other elements.
They think that these things will not affect the communication of the message. But the fact is elements like colors, and fonts do have a great impact in communicating the message in the right way. They both have the power to connect with the audience emotionally. The wrong usage of them can break a business. Therefore, to avoid getting into such situations, it’s important to maintain consistency across all platforms. To achieve that you can create official company branding guidelines which may include your preferred fonts, colors, logo usage, and other vital branding elements.
4. Out-dated marketing materials
In today’s digital world, it is easy to think that marketing materials like brochures, business cards, pamphlets, etc. are of no use. But the truth is that they still hold a lot of importance, especially for B2B businesses. Let’s understand this with an example. For instance, you are standing in the airport, and suddenly someone approaches you for some help. After a few minutes of conversation, you find out that they might be a potential client. What will you do? You will introduce your business, and at some point, you may want to exchange contact information. To save time and look professional, you will hand your business card to the person. But what if you don’t have an updated card? You will lose the lead. Even if you do share it, it might not make an impact.
5. Not training employees
Employees are valuable assets of an organization and at some point, the success of any business depends upon them as well. They are a powerful representation of a brand. If they themselves do not have a proper idea about their own company’s products or services, how can they possibly get more customers? Putting untrained employees in front of the audience, especially if you have a physical store, can have a negative impact on your brand. Many companies’ think giving proper training to employees can be expensive, but they don’t understand what ignorance can cost them. Therefore, it is advisable to properly train all your employees. If you don’t want to invest in all of them, then you should at least invest in the loyal employees. But basic quality training must be offered to all employees.
6. Changing the brand frequently
Whenever we do something new, it takes time to show results. The same goes with branding as well. But many businesses fail to understand this. They do not spend much time on branding, and within a few months, they change it and create something else. If that too does not work well for them, they change it again, and it goes on until desired results are achieved. Folks, this type of approach will get you nowhere. In the end, you will lose trust, credibility, and the potential customers that you may have gained during that time frame.
7. Not having a believable tagline
Taglines describe a brand and reflect its personality. A great tagline differentiates a brand from its competitors. It helps them stay imprinted on the minds of the audience for a longer period of time.
It’s not mandatory to have taglines for a business, but if you do, make sure it matches the reality of your consumers. If it does not, all your marketing efforts will be in vain. While creating a tagline for your business, make sure it:
- Is short and memorable
- Conveys the brand’s primary message
- Differentiates the brand from competitors
8. Not having a business website
Nowadays, it has become compulsory for businesses to have an online presence. Even if they are not selling anything online, customers expect them to have an online presence. Why? This is because they find business websites the most reliable source for any type of information regarding a particular business. Moreover, being an entrepreneur you must have dreamt of expanding your business worldwide. Having a website can benefit you in successfully taking your business worldwide. Today, creating a website has become very easy, thanks to WordPress – a renowned and much-preferred CMS platform that has over 75 million users. It provides a huge collection of responsive themes that help users in creating modern and beautiful website designs.
9. Not using professional images
Being an entrepreneur, you may have hundreds of issues to deal with during your day-to-day workplace activities. Therefore, chances are you may ignore the importance of graphic design. But in branding, graphics play an important role. They comprise the visual presentation that goes hand-in-hand with your content. They convey a company’s first impression. They help businesses tell a story, convey credibility, and set the company apart from competitors. Most businesses don’t understand the importance of graphics and make use of random images on their websites, marketing materials, hoardings, etc. Graphic design can be divided into 3 categories: image-based designs, type-based designs, and a combination of image and type based designs. Designs with each of these categories can be powerful, and a good designer can determine which method is most suitable for a client.
10. Poor customer service
Customer service is probably the last thing that comes to mind while building a brand. But actually, this can be a big missed opportunity. Aligning customer service and your brand is one of the most under-used ways of attracting more customers, retaining old ones, and differentiating a brand from competitors. For example, you are in the business of selling products or services that are somewhat complicated and requires customers to get in touch with you. Being an entrepreneur, you have to ensure that your customer support team is handling all customer queries appropriately. Failing to do so can lead to a negative brand image, and you may lose your customers.
11. Launching unrelated products
Every business owner starts a business with the thought of expanding it in the future. There is no harm in having such a thought, but taking a business in the wrong direction is not a good idea.
Whenever someone expands their business by launching a new product, there is always the temptation to use existing marketing strategies and methods to attract more customers. You can implement the same strategies or marketing methods, but this technique doesn’t work if you launch something that is totally different from your existing product lines.
Colgate, the oral hygiene brand, once launched a line of frozen meals under the same branding as their toothpaste. It was a daring move, but unfortunately, consumers couldn’t see why a brand selling toothpaste would be involved in frozen food. The meal business attempt failed because of Colgate’s branding and didn’t give customers confidence in the company’s cooking abilities. Thus, it is important to choose products that match your brand identity. If you want to enter into a new area, then you can update your branding or create separate branding divisions to handle the new markets.
12. Getting apprised of the latest design trends
Keeping up with the latest design trends is a great way to keep your company relevant with the times. There is a huge dissimilarity, however, between upgrading your brand and losing its key identity in the chase for new things. It is easy to get caught up with the coolest trends, but it is important to pick the particular ones that complete a brand without making it appear dated. Committing to the ephemeral blip of trends might make your brand appear dated quite quickly. As a general rule, use trends as a source of inspiration, but when it comes to planning big projects, don’t depend too much on them.
It is not easy to manage a brand. One mistake can ruin all your efforts. We hope that this article has helped you in understanding those common yet much-ignored mistakes that you should avoid while branding your business. If you have gone through any branding mishaps, we would like to know your experiences. Share it in the comments section below.
Jelly Shah works as a Digital Marketer, brand consultant and business strategist with Designhill- A reliable marketplace for logo design, business card maker, health logo, fitness logo, customized & personalized tank tops design, and many other designing works. With extensive experience working both client side and within the agency environment, he has authored several articles on topics related to digital marketing, business strategies, content marketing etc.