Branding sounds easy. But it takes dedication, thoughtful planning, expertise and a LOT of time to create a brand that cuts through the noise and tells the story of your business.
The work of branding is constant. When it’s done right, it should permeate through your socials, customer experience, internal comms, tone of voice, website and pretty much every aspect of your business or organisation. However, it’s easy to get it wrong – here are seven major mistakes that can be easily avoided…
- Not having a brand strategy
Establishing a clear and unified brand identity is no simple feat. It requires digging deep into your values, your proposition and who you want to reach. A big part of this involves grasping a full overview of the competitive landscape.
If you begin work on branding aesthetics and logos without a solid strategy to back it up, even the most well-designed assets won’t have traction. So do your research into industry trends, carry out some competitor analysis, define your target market and values, create buyer personas and lastly set realistic goals.
Having a sound brand strategy is the first step – when approached with the right attitude, it’ll enable you to look at the bigger picture and start you off on the right foot to maintain consistency for your audience.
- Self-promoting too much
Don’t confuse building brand awareness with relentless self-promotion. Just because you’re enthusiastic about getting your brand out there, doesn’t mean that you’re effectively communicating your proposition clearly or to the correct audience.
Brands with strong identities grasp the importance of having authentic conversations with their customers and understanding the challenges they face. By keeping the customers’ needs front and centre (ahead of self-promotion) this will enable you to focus on establishing your business as a valued industry expert – the rest will follow.
A touch of self-promotion here and there (and at the right time and place) is all good, but ensure that your promotional content aligns with serving your customers’ needs – rather than appearing spammy. Start a newsletter, write monthly blogs that are useful for your client base offering professional advice (and of course let people know about it on social!) The key is to position your offering with how it’ll benefit your audience. Plus, it’s estimated that 45% of people will unfollow a brand if they are too self-serving, need we say more?
- Failing to be inclusive
Brands that are accessible to everyone are generally more successful than those that only prioritise a particular group. That’s why it’s essential to showcase diverse perspectives in your content as well as making an effort to ensure your brand (and brand assets) are accessible to a variety of people.
Consider how people may interpret your brand, welcome clients from all backgrounds, use inclusive language, diverse imagery and be culturally sensitive. Plus, ask for feedback! This shows a willingness to adapt and listen. Oh, and for more detailed insight on accessibility, check out our whitepaper (coming very soon).
Another way to display inclusivity is by engaging with social issues. Not only does this show that your company cares about the community, it demonstrates that you share the values of your audience. Did you know that 62% of consumers expect companies to take a stand on issues they are passionate about? Boost your cred as a socially-conscious brand by getting involved!
- Lacklustre content
Don’t forget that everything you publish online reflects on your brand – for better or for worse. Webpages, blogs, landing pages, infographics, product pages, social posts, ads and more are all part of your brand story.
So utilising SEO tactics like keyword stuffing will leave your audience with a poor impression of your brand. Not only this, but thanks to recent advances in search engines’ crawlers, it’ll also devalue your website’s ranking. So tread carefully!
It’s essential to ensure you keep up the quality in your copy too. Consider the vocabulary, consider your brand style, tone of voice AND how to make your writing valuable to your target audience while also being entertaining and/or engaging. More detail on creating quality content here.
Also, be sure to keep on top of design details and refer back to your brand guidelines – that’s how you maintain quality and consistency. We’ll delve deeper into this in a later section.
- Invest in brand design
Branding elements such as your logo, website, graphics and colour palette are all HUGE contributors to what makes your brand unique. Which means there’s a lot to consider when crafting the face of your brand. No pressure.
A lovely brand identity that we created earlier.
Ask yourself, what does your brand represent? What do you want to convey? Does your style stand out from other companies in your sector? Does your brand infringe on a competitor’s identity.
And if you don’t have the time or resources, it’s well worth considering outsourcing to a design agency for your rebranding needs. Design Business Association evidence shows that you’ll recoup your investment – perhaps a +301% average monthly sales increase! And there’s more ROI stats where that one comes from.
It’s a must for your brand to present a uniform voice across all of your marketing channels. This means using the same language, same colours, communicating the same messaging and this should (or at least could) also flow into your internal comms.
Being inconsistent will send mixed messages to your customers and overall leave your brand feeling a bit skewy and unfocused.
The best way to stay on track is with your brand guidelines. And be sure not to stray (too far) from them once established! Unless of course, you’re having a complete brand overhaul and this change to your identity is clearly explained to your audience to mitigate any confusion. Your guidelines are the guardians of your brand, so keep them close!
- Relying on trends and/or copying competitors
Staying in touch with trends can be really helpful for extending your reach but if your business relies too heavily on trends, your brand identity will lose what makes it unique.
Trends come and go, so to rest your identity on unstable and quickly moving trends will risk the meaning of your brand being lost entirely once that trend is yesterday’s news. Not to mention the fact that it may force you to rebrand, causing you to waste precious time and resources that you could be using in other elements of your business.
Consider trends as something to participate in, rather than entirely emulate – and be sure to stay true to what makes your brand, your brand.
Similarly, when you spot a technique that worked for your competitors it can be tempting to mimic what they did. BUT being a copycat can actually harm your brand rather than help. Instead, consider it a research strategy, figure out why it worked for them and apply that to an original approach for your brand.
There’s a hell of a lot to keep in mind when coming up with a brand identity that sticks, but by steering clear of these missteps, you’ll be well on your way.
Although, if you’d like some agency input on crafting a quality brand identity, then get in touch today! firstname.lastname@example.org