Building a brand is a labor of love, which is why branding mistakes can set you back many years. As a custodian of your brand, you want to protect your brand from some of the most frequently committed mistakes.
Think of your brand-building as an investment in time, effort, and trust in your customers. As you focus on other business aspects like sales, marketing, employees, overheads, and operations, branding could end up being the last thing on your priority list.
Even the most seasoned and experienced brand management teams have made mistakes that have cost them dearly. We will help you identify the most common branding mistakes and build safeguards to protect you from them in the future.
- Make sure that your brand name and logo design adhere to your brand identity and personality.
- Authenticity is at the heart of successful branding; avoid buying into trends or superficial aspects of your brand.
- You can have great branding, but if it’s not consistent, it hardly means anything. Branding is consistency.
- What makes you different from the competition? Let that answer gravitate into all aspects of your branding and marketing.
- Bonding with your customers is a part of what makes branding successful. Branding is also about positive associations, so don’t forget to build lasting relationships.
7 common branding mistakes to avoid
We have enlisted seven branding mistakes that range from getting your identity wrong to conveying the wrong message. As we go along, you will notice how even a tiny slip along the long and arduous journey of brand building can prove expensive.
1. Having a logo that doesn’t match your identity
Your logo design represents your brand in places where you cannot communicate elaborately. A legible and functional logo helps, but this doesn’t mean that it should compromise creativity.
When creating your logo, branding mistakes occur when either the functional aspect is neglected or when designers get too creative.
Some common blunders in logo creation include:
- Mnemonics that misrepresent your brand or product category
- Using a font that is not legible
- Using lengthy words instead of being succinct
- Misproportioning the logo and the tagline below it
- Failing to adapt your design as you move forward
The fashion giant, GAP, learned this the hard way. In 2010, the brand decided to have a logo redesign because it believed that it would help the brand increase its sales by seeming more modern. The logo from the 90s changed overnight to one with a Helvetica font and a floating blue square on the top corner.
The internet raged against this idea. The company reverted to the old logo within six days of the overhaul. Yeah, don’t do what GAP did.
2. Not maintaining consistency with your brand
Imagine having a friend who was always chirpy and joyful but suddenly turned serious and quiet. Wouldn’t that concern you and make you feel that there is something off with them? It’s no different with brands.
A brand that is consistent in the way it comes across to its customers commands more respect because they know what they stand for. Memorable brands have stuck with their positioning for years. And this is only one part.
Your brand needs to be consistent in its design as well. Brands that drastically change the way they look can put off customers. Detailed brand guidelines can keep your marketing and design teams within the guardrails they should operate. Also, maintain stringent quality checks on copy and design.
3. Forgetting to bond with your customers
The relationship between a brand and its customers is a two-way connection. Your customers come to your brand because they have a problem to solve or to experience something your brand offers. Acknowledging them once and forgetting all about them does not help, and this is true for everyone, from a real estate company to a little bakery.
Just answering questions is not enough, though it may seem like it is. Your customers want to find a friend in you, not a knowledgable robot. In this case, Slack could have worked a little harder to be more engaging and friendly as they answered a concerned customer.
You may believe that a real estate company sells a property to a customer only once in their life cycle and the chances of the customer buying another home are really low. Wrong!
Being in touch with your customers, enquiring about their well-being, and doing something special for them can turn your customers into brand advocates. They can become an invaluable asset in your sales and brand marketing strategy.
For a home baker who wants to create lasting bonds with their customers, it is even more essential to nurture such bonds. A bakery can increase its sales through word-of-mouth since customers trust and love your products.
You must also be wary of getting too clingy with your customers, lest you may creep them out. Being too friendly can also be a branding mistake. Be professional and friendly in your tone and treat your customers with respect at every step of the way.
4. Not showcasing what makes you different
Have you identified your unique selling point (USP)? If your answer is no, then there is a good chance you are making an expensive branding mistake. Your differentiator must come forth in your communication and branding. So, why is this important?
Different businesses operate in the same space as you. So, why would your customers end up on your website or doorstep? If you do not have an answer to this, you need to start creating something that sets you apart. Whatever you conjure up will become your USP, and hey, it could also be your slogan.
Here’s an example of a powerful USP: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free.” Can you guess the brand? You’re right, it’s Domino’s Pizza.
Here’s another one: “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” (Reply with the correct answer in the comments!).
5. Following temporary trends
This is a big no-no. We understand that you need to be relevant on the internet and attract a younger audience by being trendy. But trends aren’t forever; your brand is. If you want to put out a separate piece of content in line with your brand’s beliefs and messaging consistency, then go for it. Other than that, avoid trends at all costs.
6. Forgetting to be inclusive
Today, being inclusive is the right way to go. As a brand, you want customers from every walk of life. Brands that are not inclusive and have polarized communication towards a specific section of society are not appreciated.
This eye-opening film by Apple was instrumental in reaffirming the company’s inclusivity stance:
This branding mistake can be more expensive than just some lost customers. Brands that are not inclusive could face the wrath of authorities as several countries are not taking cognizance of businesses who discriminate between their customers. It’s also unethical, so there’s that.
7. Promoting superficial aspects of your brand
Let’s understand this branding mistake with the help of an example. Let’s say you exclusively make coffee. On Instagram, you show fresh imagery of your coffee converted into delicious beverages with rollicking models. Will that be all you need to do?
People buy into what a brand believes in as much as they buy a product. They want to know where your coffee beans come from. How many lives are impacted by it positively? They want to know what it is like to be employed by your company.
The finer aspects have driven some of the most creative businesses in the world, as Simon Sinek explains in this video.
Frequently asked questions: 4 popular FAQs about common branding mistakes
What are some commonly asked questions about branding mistakes? Get your questions answered with these four FAQs.
1. What makes a brand unsuccessful?
Lack of authenticity is arguably the primary and most fundamental cause of brand failure. Everything is chaos out there; that's what we always say. There are millions of prospective clients and just as many alternatives in the market. You must be confident in your identity, your skills, and the people you're meant to help.
2. What are the negative effects of branding?
High investment needs. Brands are not developed quickly, therefore businesses have to invest heavily in marketing and branding. This is why it’s so important to find a free logo maker (like us!) to save costs, as well as affordable branding plans to help you acquire your requirements.
3. How one can avoid branding failures?
Selling your company's features instead of who you are and what you stand for is the central branding mistake. Customer satisfaction is directly proportional to how you manage their experiences. This is the essence of your brand. Once you've earned your customers' confidence in your brand, you won't want to lose it.
4. Why branding is absolutely critical to a business?
Branding is crucial since it establishes the reputation of a business and tells customers what they may expect from them. It's a technique to set yourself apart from the competition and make it crystal clear why you're the better option.
Why is branding important and how does it affect your business?
Every brand wants to be known. The only way to get your brand known by prospective customers is by creating memorable and effective branding. Some of the ways you can get your branding game on point include:
- Create a strong brand logo
- Using a branding suite to receive professional materials
- Identify your niche
- Keep your communication and persona consistent with brand guidelines
- Test-Introspect-Improve your brand and its messaging
- Take help from experts or tools that are proficient in branding
- Keep an eye on your customers and how they react when they experience your brand
- Build meaningful and lasting relationships with your customers
Building a brand is more than just coming up with a name. It’s a process of winning trust and keeping this relationship intact by avoiding branding mistakes and acknowledging and correcting them whenever they occur.