Ok Clinton Kelly fans, this one’s for you. When it comes to branding you hear all the time about the things you should do. But what about what not to wear, I mean do, when branding your business? You want your brand to be remembered for good reasons not outlandish ones. To help you out we’ve compiled a list of the issues most businesses miss when developing their brand.
Copycatting a Brand Image
When you start developing your brand it can be all too easy to compare your business to others. What is this competitor’s brand? What about the bestselling brands, can you make your brand similar and still succeed? This train of thought will quickly derail your brand, so avoid at all cost. Your brand is your business, and hopefully you’ve created a business that fills a niche.
That means your business serves a need in a way that is unmatched by your competitors. This is your selling point, as well as the angle that you want to take when branding your business. On the same lines, when developing your brand message, logo, and color scheme do your research. The last thing you want to do is create a brand that mimics another company.
Fake It Till You Make It
This might work with some aspects of business, but not so much with your brand. Think of this like your business name. You aren’t going to second-guess that, now, are you? So why would you short-cut your brand? Wait, first let’s clarify what a brand is. Your brand is your edge. It establishes your business’s values, and it is a promise you’ve made to your customers. So you have to figure out what your brand is all about before you shout it out to the rooftops.
And no backtracking here, once you begin to build your brand you are also developing a trust with your audience. If you wiggle backward from your brand you’ll lose that trust, which puts you back at square one. Heck, even the big wigs make this mistake. Remember that epic fail of Coca Cola when the company tried to re-brand its classic Coke to be the new Coke? Precisely to the point.
Let Your Cousin’s Nephew Design Your Logo
That is, unless that cousin’s nephew is some super star graphic designer, of course. However, let’s be real. Most of us don’t have a family member or friend with the chops to create a logo worthy of a brand. And that includes you. Yep, just putting it out there. You may have a general sketch or outline of what you want your logo to be, and that’s great. But if you are trying to pinch a penny or avoid outsourcing this part of your branding, don’t.
Hire an expert with experience in creating a logo, and for a brand specifically. If you can find someone who has branding know-how in your industry, that’s even better. They will already have the background knowledge and have done the research about competitors, which is vital to creating a unique and influential brand logo.
Failure to Integrate the Brand
Once you have nailed down your brand concept and values, and you’ve hired a pro to design a logo, you’re golden. Wrong! This is just the foundation of your brand. Next up you’ll need to implement your brand across every platform and channel. Start with the big picture items like a new sign for your business and a redesigned website that is built around the brand concept and image. But don’t forget the little things, such as:
- Order plenty of company swag featuring your newly branded logo so you can share the wealth with your community.
- Update your email signature to include your brand motto, logo, colors, etc. and have everyone in your workplace do the same.
- Change the way your customer service reps answer the phone so they are incorporating the brand, such as with a one-liner summing up your brand message.
- Don’t forget all of your other marketing materials, such as letterheads, business cards, employee shirts, etc. that will need to be updated.
The key here? Consistency. In order to establish trust with your customers your brand must be consistent throughout every aspect of your business. The goal is to intertwine your brand with your business so that it no longer stands out. Ultimately your brand should be second nature to the consumer, so that when someone sees your logo design they’ll recognize it immediately.
Brand It and Forget It
Along the same area of mistakes as failing to integrate your brand, is forgetting your brand altogether. After all of that hard work put into creating your brand and honing it to perfection, you can move on to the next phase in your marketing campaign. Right? Well, not totally. You must stay true to your brand. This means keeping your brand message front and center at every stage in your campaign.
Again, the brand you develop is associated with the values and beliefs that encapsulate your business. Think of your brand like your guardian angel, always watching over your shoulder to make certain you are staying on the right path to success. When you develop new product lines, are these consistent with your branding? As your employers provide customer service, do your reps represent your brand image? What about growth in your company? It too must be centered on your brand, and every move your business makes needs to respect the branding process.
Branding has power to bring a business to the next level. At the same time, your brand is your baby, which requires ongoing nurturing to coax it into its adult self. Once you start working on your brand, just remember these three things:
- Distinguish your brand by building it around your business values and goals.
- Keep it simple and avoid going over the top with fancy imagery that’s difficult to interpret.
- Remember who is going to care about your brand, and create a brand that speaks to your target consumer.
If you take all of this to heart your brand will beat right along with your business.