Brands, brands, brands. If you haven’t yet noticed, brand building is what we’re all about.
Our agency has been doing it for quite some time, and after creating hundreds of competition-crushing brands we’ve uncovered a number of winning secrets. We’ve also seen time and time again true recipes for disaster; surefire ways to curtail success and literally sell yourself short.
So without further adieu, here’s ten of the biggest brand blunders that businesses make:
1. No Branding.
Remember that business that business you saw the other day? The one without the logo and no clear name in sight? Of course not, and that’s mistake number one. Businesses without a brand simply can’t (and don’t) exist for long. Why some individuals think otherwise is truly beyond us, but rest assured: your brand is your greatest business asset. If you don’t use it, you will definitely lose it.
2. Blatant Branding.
The polar opposite of no branding is also a major blunder. Some business owners truly lack creativity, and want to have their brand associated with the type of product or service they create. However, they implore this strategy to the point of being completely obvious, which has a negative affect on consumers.
3. No Brand Promise.
Your brand image is your handshake to prospective customers. It’s their first interaction with your business and it should be positive. It should also serve to reassure customers that you can deliver quality and reliable service. This is the brand promise, and without it your business just looks like another piece of spam. Your brand needs to look the part if it’s going to successfully deliver a brand promise worthy of winning business.
4. Outdated or Homegrown.
There comes a time in every growing brand’s life when it becomes ready for the next step. It’s no longer the tiny mom n’ pop shop or the basement, on-man show, but a budding business with a great reputation that’s starting to gather momentum. When that happens, the brand has no choice but to evolve. The ad hoc or initial logo and branding must be reiterated or reimagined completely if it is to successfully be integrated throughout the marketing mix. Those brands that choose to ignore this are often the ones that look out of place. Even if they deliver better results, their backwards brand image only trips them up and holds them back from taking on the bigger clients and competition.
5. Inconsistent Branding.
Number 5 is a very costly mistake for businesses that begin growing rapidly, and every measure needs to be taken to make sure it doesn’t happen to your business. As you put forth the tremendous effort to create a community of advocates, consumers, and prospects, your business needs to present a strong united front across all channels. Why? Take the president for example. Just look at all the heavy fire that comes from every which way when even the slightest discrpeancy in his message from one day appears during a speech in the next. Your brand is the very same.
6. Your Brand is Anchored in Clipart.
Aside from not being able to copyright your logo (and the possibility that it may infringe on someone else’s intellectual property), a brand with clipart appears obsolete. With all the advances in personal computing and software available, a brand rooted in clipart only says negative things to your consumers, such as “I’m too lazy to create a great logo” or “I don’t really care how this business is perceived.” Customers want the best. Your goal, as a business, should be to provide the best. What good is it if you don’t at least look the best?
7. Your Brand is Rooted in Photos.
Not too far from the sin of clipart is having photos be a part of your branding. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, it’s imperative that every one of those words says positive praises about the quality business you have and can deliver. This is something images in and of themselves cannot do. Too easily forgotten or replicated, a brand rooted in photos is not going to get your business noticed.
8. Poor Representation.
There’s nothing worse than a business that doesn’t deliver on it’s promises, except maybe a brand that makes a false promise to consumers. Your branding needs to entice and compel prospective customers, but it also needs to hint at what they are getting themselves into. How frustrated do you think customers will be if they show up hungry to your office because the outside branding makes it look like a restaurant. Don’t be a faker or an imitator. Make sure your brand properly represents you.
9. Endless Editions.
We understand the allure of changing with the seasons; adding a holiday accent here or a cool color change there. However, in order to establish a reputation of authentic quality, the foundations of your brand need to stay in place. Of course changes will need to be made eventually, but it’s important to not get crazy with changing your branding every month or at every turn. Remember, congruency and integration are your friends.
10. Your Brand is Hidden.
A successful brand differentiates itself from the competition. To do that, people need to know it exists! That means proper steps and strategies to market your brand. Take advantage of new marketing channels, hold strong to proven tactics, and put an emphasis on brand awareness. Especially in today’s age of mass communication and cutting-edge tech, there exists a sea of brands for yours to get lost in. There’s a good chance an untapped market segment exists for you; it’s your job to find out what channel it takes to reach them!
A small business that can navigate their way through these mistakes is one step closer to building atop their own quality, setting the stage for upward growth. Of course, it always helps to get a professional opinion when it comes to design and strategy. However, certain resources do exist for those seeking to learn more about building up their small business brand.