March 28, 2017

Top 10 Branding Mistakes To Avoid

Published: 28 March 2017 

When consumers are looking to purchase a product, often the final factor helping the decision is a preferred brand. After all, your branding helps you make an emotional connection with your customers. However, it’s very easy to make a branding mistake, which could see your brand receive bad publicity or worse, lose it’s customers and loyal following.

To avoid disaster, or not being recognised, it’s best to know what branding mistakes you should avoid:

1. Inconsistency

Source: Branding Strategy Insider

If you’re just starting to build your brand, or you’re rebranding, it’s important to remember that consistency is key. You need to decide on one name, logo and slogan and use this across your website and any advertising and marketing material. You want people to be able to recognise your brand just by its logo, and know what the brand is about and stands for. Make sure you decide on a brand voice (corporate and professional or laid back and fun) and make sure this voice is used across your website, as well as social media platforms.

Having consistent branding will help lower any confusion in the mind of consumers regarding what your brand is about. It will also help consumers remember your brand and you can start to become more relevant and well known.

Having a consistent brand doesn’t only help the consumers, it helps the business too. There are also SEO benefits. It is well known that search engines prefer branded listings, with brands ranking faster and easier. This means your website will get more clicks and you’ll be able to expand your customer base.

2. No Differentiation

As a brand, you have to make sure you stand out from the competition. Otherwise, you’re not going to be memorable, and people won’t think to buy your products or services. To stand out, you have to make sure you differentiate yourself from your competition. What benefit do the consumers get from shopping with you, and not someone else? This is where you need to make sure you have a compelling value proposition. Use your marketing to make your brand distinct and memorable. This will help tell consumers what value they will get out of shopping with your brand rather than the competitor.

3. Not Using Images

You have to make sure your website looks good, and the best way to do that is by using high quality, relevant images. After all, you want to make a good first impression and make new customers want to stay on your website. They’re not going to want to do that if they are confronted with a wall of text, or irrelevant, unsightly images. Giving people the wrong first impression could tarnish your brand’s reputation.

If you’re going to use photographs or videos on your website, make sure they are consistent with your branding and send the same message. They also need to display on both your desktop and mobile websites. People want a good user experience, and if your website is designed poorly, people are going to remember and not want to visit your website in the future. To improve your SEO, ensure your use alt text on your images. This gives search engines a description of the photographs on your page and helps with indexing your website.

4. Rebranding

Ok, so there’s actually nothing wrong with rebranding. The problems occur when rebranding is done poorly. Before you start rebranding, consider the connection you’ve already made with customers. If you make changes, are you going to risk losing that connection? Completely changing a brand’s identity runs huge risks. If you are having a big branding overhaul, it’s good to communicate with your clients to explain why this is happening, and let them know when they should expect to see the new branding or a new website. You don’t want to surprise your customers with completely new branding. Chances are, if you communicate with them throughout the rebranding, they will be more likely to stay loyal and continue shopping with your brand. When rebranding, make sure to only make changes that will benefit your brand, and won’t lose your customers.

5. Not training employees  

Your employees are also a reflection of your brand. That’s why you have to make sure you properly train your employees and ensure they know how to represent your brand. If you have a physical store, make sure employees are acting in the right way. Ensure employees know what to say when answering the phone. Having bad customer service can be damaging to a company. Avoid any potential problems by training your employees.

6. A bad brand name

For those just starting out, this is an important one. To really stand out and excel, your business needs to make sure it picks a good brand name. When deciding on a name, you should consider:

  • Is it easy to spell and pronounce? People aren’t going to find your brand online if they can’t spell it.
  • Is it distinct? Research the competition and make sure no one else is already using that name, or a very similar name.
  • Is it relevant? Make sure your brand name is associated with what you do and has positive connotations.
  • Is it short? It’s best to pick a name that is no more than three words long. Otherwise, people will find it hard to remember. Having a short brand name also makes it easier to design a logo and use the name on marketing material.

7. Using too much jargon

This is especially important when you’re writing your value proposition. This shouldn’t be long winded jargon that sounds impressive but doesn’t really say anything. You want to communicate with your customers exactly who you are and what benefit they will receive from shopping with your brand. Otherwise, what sets you apart from every other company in your business? Using unnecessary jargon doesn’t help you to communicate this message, in fact, it can complicate it more. Forget trying to use big words to sound impressive. Your content should be understandable and communicate exactly who your brand is.

8. Not maintaining your brand

Often, businesses will come to question their brand, and will be quick to change it if they’re not getting the results they want. Consumers expect some level of consistency, and won’t tolerate numerous or frequent changes. While you might be getting bored with your branding, your consumers will often be comfortable. Consider the big brands - Nike has used the “Just Do It” slogan since 1988. Sticking with the same branding can make you more memorable to customers.

9. Not knowing your audience

When you’re trying to market your brand, it’s important that you know your audience. Otherwise, your marketing could completely miss the mark and be misinterpreted. Make sure you know the demographics of who you’re trying to target, instead of trying to appeal to everyone. This will help your marketing appear to be more personable and relatable. To get to know your audience, you need to undertake some market research. Take your customers feedback into account, and use this to accurately market your brand.

10. Making your brand a low priority

It’s tempting to focus on growing your audience and getting more customers. After all, it’s good to have lots of fans online and an increasing profit. However, this should never be more important than your branding efforts, especially when starting out. If you focus on building your audience first, you’re not going to get very far. Your brand won’t be established, and customers aren’t going to know what it’s about. Once you have successfully implemented your brand across every platform, you can then move on to other tasks such as growing your audience.

Think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

One comment on “Top 10 Branding Mistakes To Avoid”

  1. Great post Ben. I think "not knowing your audience" is a huge mistake. Having good buyer personas (aka customer avatars) in place before any sort of branding exercise is essential I reckon.

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