Some business owners seem to think that branding is nothing more than a fancy word for the creation of a logo. Others seem to think that it’s synonymous with marketing, which they’re already doing, so they don’t think about it any further. But branding is a unique and very important part of your business plan, and you’re going to need to execute it properly if you want to stand out.
Avoid these common branding mistakes!
Assuming you don’t need it
Wrong. Branding is an essential part of running a business and making it successful and known to the public. Branding is what will keep you in the memory of customers who haven’t even used your product or service yet. Yes, there are other things in business development that are more important. But take care not to put branding too low on your priority list. Otherwise, you’re going to have a hard time getting the audience’s attention.
Thinking it’s all about visuals
When people think about branding, they think about logos, colors, typography, imagery, mascots, etc. (That, or they think about permanent identification marks via burning – different, though there’s a reason this practice uses the same name!) Branding is also about the ‘voice’ and personality of your company. This can be a lot more potent that the visuals you employ in your branding. Some companies combine visuals and personality in great ways – Innocent Drinks are a perfect example.
Underusing your brand elements
Some companies develop these brand elements really well, but then go on to underuse them. They may develop a great personality in customer service, for example, but neglect to develop it further using social media or the text on their packaging (again, Innocent Drinks are great at this). And if you’ve got really good visual branding, then make sure it’s used on as many things as possible. It can be applied to websites, emails, letters, bespoke pouches, shirts, and more.
No defined audience
Proper branding isn’t this net that you cast widely into the sea in the hopes of catching as many assorted fish as you possibly can. You need to be a lot more strategic than that if you want your branding to work in the way you intend it to. You need to define the audience for your product using several criteria. Where do they like to spend their time? What are their favourite social media platforms? What are their ages? Their gender? Their hobbies? If you don’t define your audience, you’ll be a bit lost when it comes to developing visuals and personality for your company.
Some companies want to avoid overcomplicating their branding. That’s certainly laudable; complicated branding rarely gets any business very far. But if you simplify things too much, then you may end up with branding that doesn’t really communicate what it is your business does. The elements of your branding should make the value proposition of your business clear. Define your value proposition and make sure it’s properly communicated in your branding. Don’t just brag about being the best or having great sales. Be clear and precise.