Common Branding Mistakes (AKA What not to do)

When you hear the word brand, if you’re anything like me either nothing at all comes to mind or a million things come to mind (imagine a montage where tons of words are flying at you). It’s not tangible so it’s hard to think about unless you break it down. A brand is simply what your customer thinks about or associates with your business.

So when you think about your business, what comes to mind? If you’re feeling bold, ask someone what quickly comes to mind about your business and if it strays from how you want to be perceived, don’t worry! Here are a few common branding mistakes that you can fix (or easily avoid!):

Not having a clear understanding of who you are.

Problem: It’s easy to fall into the trap of not having a clearly defined service or product offering. If you can’t clearly convey what services or goods you provide, your customers may not be able to point it out either.

Solution: Define what you want to provide (including any specialties) as clearly as you can. Ask yourself the following:

  • What is my goal?
  • What makes my business unique?
  • What does my business specialize in?

Here are a few examples of how you can add details to define your business:

  • Good: We are a farm offering organic and sustainable produce.

  • Better: We are a farm offering organic and seasonal vegetables.

  • Best: We are a local farm offering organic and seasonal vegetables, specializing in cultivating a variety of heirloom tomatoes.

Having an inconsistent brand.

Problem: Whether you’re starting out or overhauling your business, you may change how you want to present yourself. If you constantly change your image (including tone of voice, logo, colors, mascots, etcetera) you may lose familiarity with your audience.

Solution: Carefully plan your approach to changing your image – establish guidelines for how you want to use your brand and make sure to stick to them! Not sure which direction you should go? Ask your audience directly and see how they respond. Involving them may help you make a more informed decision.

Keep in mind that how you present yourself matters. Different designs cater to different audiences. Take for example the following Ripl mockups:

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How would you feel if we weren’t the Ripl you know and love? Would you be here if we had more of a rock and roll image? What about a whimsical brand?

Not proofreading or reviewing what you’re putting out.

Problem: When you write a blog post, create a memorable tagline, or take photos/videos for your business, having easily-avoided mistakes like typos can impact how a current or future customer sees you.

Solution: Make time to craft any communications that would go out to your customers. If you’re struggling to find the time, start a schedule. When staging photos, check your surroundings to ensure nothing that would take away from your product or service is captured in the background. Check for easily corrected mistakes such as grammatical errors or typos. Keep in mind, you may get blinded by your own mistakes so ask someone for another set of eyes in the process.

Bottom line: ensure your content is in line with your business. If you can’t be bothered to fix something simple, how can someone expect that you are providing a quality service or product?

You’re not sharing the right things.

Mistake: There is such a thing as sharing too much, too little, or the wrong thing entirely. Are you a fitness blogger posting copious amounts of cake and ice cream? Are you seeing fewer likes on your posts after you’ve increased posting? Are you coming out of hibernation to post about your service?

Solution: Post on a regular basis and create a schedule for social media. As far as content is concerned, post on topics related to your product or business.

Not being honest.

Problem: While you may be incredibly optimistic about what you can do in the future, exaggerating what your product or service can do for your audience can hurt how people view your business.

Solution: Don’t lie and if you accidentally do, come clean! Sometimes we don’t understand the effect our words have or they’re misinterpreted. If you don’t seem as if you can be trusted in what you have to offer, you can’t expect someone to trust in your business.

Don't let this list of don'ts prevent you from being creative. Do what feels right for your business and have fun in the process :)

Janey Annis

Janey enjoys indulging in too much media, faking a green thumb, laughing loudly for too long, and naps.

Pittsburgh, PA

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