Your branding is how you present your business to your audience. Branding is what makes people choose one company over another, even when the products they offer are identical. Branding is a huge part of your business, so it’s important you get it right: here are 7 huge branding mistakes that you really don’t want to make.
Misunderstanding what constitutes a brand
YOUR BRAND IS NOT YOUR LOGO. Yes, your logo plays a part in your branding – but it’s amazing how many businesses think that by creating a killer logo, they’ve got a fully fledged brand. We’ll repeat: your brand is NOT just your logo.
Your brand is the world’s perception of who you are and what you do. Everything your company says or does contributes towards this, whether you like it or not. If you know what you want to be known for, you can use this to shape your marketing and communications towards this interpretation. If you don’t know what you want to be known for – well, then you can’t.
Your brand is an asset to your company, and like with any other asset, if used correctly, it can make you money. Ignoring it, or just creating a fancy logo, is one of the worst mistakes you can make, so believe us when we say – your brand is vital to the success of your business.
Not getting the logo right
Having said all that – your logo is a pretty important part of your brand. It’s the part of your branding that’s going to be the most visible to the world, and will probably feature on absolutely all of your communications.
It needs to be simple, memorable, easily recognisable, and should work across all platforms, both traditional and digital.
Not being consistent with any area of your branding, or changing elements of your brand too often, means you lose out on any recognition you’ve worked hard to build. So getting it right in the first place is really important. You don’t want to spend a year working with one logo to then find that actually, it doesn’t work as well as it could and have to change it.
Failing to research your competition
It’s important that you conduct research into your competition before creating your brand. You need to understand what’s already out there, what’s working, and what’s not working.
You could take some inspiration from your competition, if you know their branding is really strong – but you can also make sure you avoid copying a competitor. By conducting research beforehand, you can identify any gaps in the market and figure out how to make your brand stand out from the noise.
Once your designer has created a set of brand guidelines for you, it’s really important that you stick to them, across all platforms. If you’re not consistent with your branding, it just looks unprofessional and your brand will lose recognition.
Look at a company like Coca-Cola – they’re one of the most recognisable brands in the world, and their logo and branding has stayed the same pretty much forever. Today, it’s almost identical to when they started out.
Essentially, a consistent brand = a recognisable brand, and a recognisable brand = a trustworthy brand. Simple! We’ve written a separate blog post all about brand consistency; so have a read and see what action points you can put into place for your business.
Forgetting your value
The most important thing to focus on when creating your branding is the value that you can offer. Whether it’s your tagline, mission statement, or even a headline on your website, not communicating to audiences what makes your brand special will do you no favours.
People aren’t interested in what you do generally. Saying “we’re a dental practice and we fix people’s teeth” isn’t adding any value to your company. Saying “we’re a dental practice that specialises in giving people back their confidence” is demonstrating the value that you can actually add to someone’s life. Focus on what you can do for customers, rather than shouting about your services.
Jumping on trends
Just like in fashion, trends in branding and design come and go, but don’t fall into the trap of jumping on trends. You might conduct some research when your building your brand and find an element of design that’s cropping up everywhere and looks really trendy. For example, lets say that pastel colours are cropping up everywhere.
It might be tempting to build your whole brand around that, so that your branding is bang on-trend and positions you as a fashionable company at the forefront of design. And it will – for a few months. Then pastel colours will stop being on trend, and your stuck with a brand identity, and probably a website, that’s all based around that. It doesn’t really say anything about you as a company, it looks old fashioned, and you’ll probably come to notice that it doesn’t actually look all that good either. And trust, us, it will be very expensive to change at this point.
Instead, base your brand around your company and values. Ignore the hottest design trends you’re reading about – they’ll be overdone and forgotten about in six months time. Focusing your brand around your business will give you a solid foundation for timeless branding.
Not using a professional branding company
But then we would say that, wouldn’t we?
Seriously though, nothing can hurt your company more than an amateur looking brand design. Find a good graphic or brand designer, or an agency that offers those services. Yes, it will cost more than doing it yourself, but we promise you that good, professional branding pays for itself many times over.