Branding a business is a phrase we hear thrown around a lot. It’s typically step one in the development of a product or service and is far too often seen as a one-shot, “create a logo, pick some colors and I’m done.” deal. This, however, is far from true. Building a brand takes time, exploration, understanding, and commitment – all of which helps in telling the world who you are, and why you matter. To help carry your brand forward, present and future, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common branding mistakes we see when our team is brought to the table and some quick tips and tricks on how you can keep these in check.
Common Branding Mistakes:
YOUR VOICE IS INCONSISTENT.
One of the biggest mistakes we see is inconsistency. It’s directly related to a term you hear a lot: brand consistency; and it’s essential. Among the marketing pieces that are created when promoting a business – whether it be a brochure, your website, posts on social media, etc. – brand voice is vital. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to sound scattered and unfocused if you’re sending out different messages that don’t connect to each other.
How to avoid it: Determine what it is you want your business to say – is it promotional? Informative? Casual? Make sure you lay out who you’re talking to and how you want to be seen before a single word of copy is written; then, work that messaging (and voice) into all marketing pieces you develop.
YOUR BRAND GUIDELINES ARE SITTING ON THE SIDELINES.
Here it is again: brand consistency. Equally as important as voice, not committing to key brand elements that distinguish yours from another is another mistake we often see. A new campaign promoting a new service is absolutely an opportunity for something new and creative, but deviating too far from what people find familiar and love about you can have a harmful impact.
How to avoid it: Define your brand guidelines and stick to them. Put an official document together with things like what your primary and secondary brand colors are, logo variations, brand voice and tone, graphics and visual guidance, fonts and typography, and how these things should (and should not) be used in print and digital instances. Make this easily accessible for designers to reference when creating new company material for your website, social media channels, stationery, etc. Deviate as needed, but keep in mind that each time you do, your core brand is diluted little by little.
YOU’RE TRYING TO BE EVERYTHING, TO EVERYONE.
Sometimes, it’s easier to cast a large net and hope for the best. Many companies will send out a general one-size-fits-all message to their entire database, and in some cases, this is the best plan of attack. But in most, this leads to unfocused messaging and low engagement and conversion rates. Would you rather spend the efforts of your brand on many eyes or the ones that are actually interested in what you have?
How to avoid it: Quality, not quantity. Put in some time to really dive into who your target audience is. Who are you trying to attract? Pinpoint their needs and flesh out their personas and use your brand to connect the dots on all fronts. Build a strong stand and explore new avenues that fit from there.
YOUR BRAND DOESN’T TELL A STORY.
You know your business, and you know how to sell it. It’s yours after all, but pushing what you have onto an audience who is more interested in finding out what’s in it for them can be counterproductive.
How to avoid it: Dig deep and get personal. Today’s website visitors want more than just facts about your service or product. They want an experience. Figure out what makes you unique and tell the story about who you are, what you value and what you have to offer. Work your findings into the copy you write, the colors you choose, the photos you select and the avenues you market.
Branding isn’t a quick fix. It takes time to build and plenty of commitment to withstand longevity. The easiest mistake is made when the creativity stops at a logo, font and color selection – when all efforts have been put into creating a brand, and none into preserving it. Take the time to invest, perfect and improve your brand and create that experience that keeps your best clients and customers looking for more.