Business | Graphic design
5 Branding Mistakes to Avoid
September 12, 2019
Creating and maintaining a brand is a lot of work. The last thing you want to do is sabotage all of that work by making a costly mistake. Here are some common mistakes that could hurt your brand.
Failure to understand what branding is
The word branding is being thrown around a lot lately. But what does it really mean?
Your brand is more than just your logo or the colors you use. It’s the way you interact with your target audience at every touchpoint. Yes, your brand includes your logo, colors, and fonts, but it also encompasses your marketing copy, your social media posts, your website copy, even the language you use in a simple email. It’s the way you talk about your company and your products and services. It’s your company’s voice; its personality. All of these things work together to help you make a connection with your audience. It helps differentiate you from your competitors and builds loyalty and trust with your customers.
And if you think you don’t need to worry about branding, you’re wrong. Not investing time into branding says that you don’t care … and that becomes your brand message.
Inconsistency across all channels
Now that you know what branding is, you can see that a consistent voice will only help your audience connect with you. Being consistent will build familiarity and, eventually, credibility. If your voice changes every time you interact with your audience, you will confuse them and they won’t trust you.
A good way to stay consistent is to choose some brand words that describe your company (ie., honest, playful, educational, etc.). Every time you create anything—whether it be visuals, content or social media posts—look at these words and make sure you’re living up to your brand.
Another way to be consistent is to put together a basic brand guide to direct your visuals. This would include your logo, chosen brand colors, and specific fonts. It will help you to keep your visuals on brand.
Everything you do should look and sound like it comes from the same company.
Creating a brand without any strategy
All this information about what a brand includes and how to keep it consistent will not matter one bit if it is not connecting with your ideal customer. All brand decisions should be made based on a strategy. An aesthetically pleasing logo that doesn’t connect with your audience is just a waste of time and money.
Ask yourself these questions: Who is your ideal customer? How old are they? What’s their occupation? Where do they shop? Where do they live? Do they own a home? Do they have kids? What’s their income? And the most important question of all, what problems do they have that you can solve?
What about your competition? Who are they? What do they offer? How do they connect with their audience? How are you different?
Now about you: What are your business goals? What is your mission statement? What is your vision? What’s your USP (unique selling proposition)?
All of these things need to figure into your branding strategy. Once you work through these questions, your brand will come together so much more easily.
Confusing your ideal audience’s aesthetic with your own
Something to keep in mind when creating your brand: You need to separate your opinions from your ideal client’s opinions.
The main goal of branding—and marketing in general—is to appeal to your ideal client. And you are probably not your ideal client. Remember it is not about you, it’s about them. That doesn’t mean that you can’t build your personality into your brand while still connecting with your audience.
I have an extreme example that I use all the time. Say you are a female accountant who loves unicorns and glitter. Your ideal client is a 60-year-old male business owner. Should your branding include unicorns and glitter? Of course not. Your client needs to be able to trust you to handle his money, so you need to use your branding to show how trustworthy you are.
Being a copycat
This one is pretty obvious yet still needs to be said. You can’t differentiate yourself from your competition if you’re being confused with them. Sure, keep an eye on what your competition is doing. But there’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation. Take inspiration from them but create something unique to you. Aside from the ethical and legal implications, copying someone else will only hurt your brand because you’ll fail to stand out from the crowd.
A strong brand built on a solid strategy can make your clients into fans and helps them to trust you and your company. If you think you may be making any of these mistakes, please visit my contact page. I’d love to connect with you and see if I can help in any way.